Melbourne, Jan 13 (IANS) Hosts Australia booked their ticket into the quarter-final stage of the Asian Cup football tournament with a convincing 4-0 victory over Oman in Sydney Tuesday.
Two goals in quick succession from Matt McKay and Robbie Kruse built the foundations for the comfortable win, before Mark Milligan’s penalty on the stroke of half-time assured the home team a spot in the final eight, reports Xinhua.
Second-half substitute Tomi Juric then added a fourth as Ange Postecoglou’s side whipped the 50,000-strong crowd into a frenzy.
Australia joined South Korea in qualifying for the quarter-finals after the latter recorded a 1-0 win over Kuwait in Canberra earlier in the day to seal their spot in the knockout stages of the competition.
But all eyes were on Sydney, as Australia continued their campaign against Oman.
Australia made a slow start against Oman. But slowly pressed Oman onto the back foot and dominated the contest with 72 per cent possession in the first half and within three minutes struck twice.
Their first goal came when McKay, standing virtually on the goal line, flicked Trent Sainsbury’s towering header into the back of the net.
The home crowd had barely finished celebrating McKay’s opener when Kruse made it two. Profiting from Massimo Luongo’s fine pass, Kruse ran into space and drilled his shot past the hapless goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.
Australia was rampant and the third goal that effectively killed off the contest did arrive. Tim Cahill was hauled down inside the area by Abdul Salam Amer, with a penalty justifiably awarded.
Milligan converted the spot-kick coolly to make it 3-0 at the break.
Substitute Juric was quick to make an impact after half-time. A wonderful cross found Juric in space inside the box and he made no mistake.
Earlier in the day, South Korea also sealed qualification through to the quarter-finals with a 1-0 victory over Kuwait through Nam Tae-Hee’s header.