Wins for Korea Republic, China PR, Uzbekistan
Kuala Lumpur: On a busy night of international friendlies, Korea Republic edged Australia 1-0 while China PR saw off the challenge of the Philippines with a 2-0 win on Friday.
KOREA REPUBLIC 1-0 AUSTRALIA
Busan: Hwang Ui-jo was the star of the night with his second half goal as Korea Republic defeated Australia 1-0.
A tight first half saw the teams heading into the break level at a packed Busan Asiad Stadium.
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Korea Republic, who fell in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 quarter-finals to eventual winners Qatar, came back strongly in the second half with skipper Son Heung-min denied by Australian goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne.
The breakthrough did come for the home team in the 76th minute when Hong Chul’s cross from the right flank was only partially blocked by defender Brandon Borello, with the incoming Hwang tapping the ball into the back of the net.
Korea Republic will next play Islamic Republic of Iran in Seoul on Tuesday.
CHINA PR 2-0 PHILIPPINES
Tianhe: China PR gave returning head coach Marcelo Lippi a winning start as they defeated Philippines 2-0 at the Tianhe Stadium.
Wu Xi gave China PR an early lead with his effort in the 14th minute as the East Asians begin their buildup for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifiers and 2023 AFC Asian Cup, which will be hosted by the country.
Philippines, who impressed in their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 debut last January, attempted to find their way back into the match but China PR remained firmly in control.
Zhang Xizhe doubled their lead in the 54th minute on a night Nico Yennaris made history as the first foreign-born footballer to represent China PR with the former Arsenal reserve starting the match.
The 26-year-old midfielder was born in London and was an England youth international, but his mother is Chinese.
China PR will now turn their attention to a friendly against Tajikistan on Tuesday.
UZBEKISTAN 4-0 DPR KOREA
Uzbekistan showed their class on home soil, easing to a 4-0 win over DPR Korea in a friendly international at Tashkent’s Milliy Stadium on Friday.
Three second half goals sealed a comprehensive victory for Hector Cuper’s side, and continued a poor run of results for DPR Korea, who have now lost their past five matches, conceding at least four goals on each occasion.
Uzbekistan captain Odil Ahmedov opened the scoring when he converted a low-trajectory penalty kick in the 27th minute, and Temurkhuja Abdukholiqov doubled the lead by finishing an Ahmedov-engineered passing move from close range 20 minutes into second half.
Igor Sergeev found acres of space at the far post to effectively seal the tie at 3-0 just three minutes later, before Japan-based defender Dostonbek Tursunov scrambled home a fourth and final goal in the second minute of injury time.
Uzbekistan will be in action in another friendly at the same venue against Syria on Tuesday.
TAJIKISTAN 1-1 AFGHANISTAN
Afghanistan were minutes away from their first win in over a year, but were forced to settle for a draw after debutant Shahrom Shamiev scored a late equaliser for Tajikistan in a friendly match in Dushanbe on Friday.
Dutch-born winger Omar Haydary looked to have secured a confidence boosting away win for Afghanistan when he scored the opener in the 72nd minute, but Samiev added to his growing reputation with a late equaliser to send the Pamir Stadium crowd home happy,
The 18-year-old, who recently scored his maiden AFC Cup goal for FC Istiklol against Dordoi, scored in the 88th minute to save Tajikistan from a fourth successive international defeat.
The Central Asians will now travel to Guangzhou, where they will face Marcello Lippi’s China PR on Tuesday.
SLOVAKIA 5-1 JORDAN
Sportova: Jordan were defeated 5-1 by Slovakia as the European side bounced back in the second half after going 1-0 down to Musa Al-Taamari's 39th minute goal at the City Arena Trnava.
Slovakia turned on the power in the second half as Lukas Haraslin drew them level in the 50th minute and further goals by Martin Chrien (55th), Jan Gregus (71st, penalty), Samuel Mraz (74th) and Jaroslav Mihalik (84th) sealed an emphatic win.
TUNISIA 2-0 IRAQ
Rades: Iraq fell to a 2-0 defeat to Tunisia at the Stade Olympique de Radès as the home side struck with early goals through Wahbi Khazri (4th) and Bassem Srarfi (29th).
THAILAND 2-1 INDONESIA, SINGAPORE 3-0 PHILIPPINES
Singapore: Thailand will play hosts Singapore in the Merlion Cup final after contrasting wins in the semi-finals.
Thailand took a 2-0 lead before Indonesia attempted to fight back while Singapore cruised past Philippines 3-0.
In a run-up to hosting the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship next year, Thailand had a perfect start when Shinnaphat Leeaoh was brought down in the box in the fifth minute.
Saringkan Promsupa converted the penalty and midfielder Ekanit Panya then doubled their lead on 12 minutes.
Indonesia gave themselves hope when Witan Sulaeman found the back of the net but despite their best efforts, the equaliser wasn't forthcoming.
Singapore dominated against the Philippines from the start with Amiruldin Asraf capitalising on a poor back pass to slot the ball home in the 26th minute.
The second goal, however, only came in the second half with Irfan Fandi heading home a free-kick in the 62nd and Ikhsan Fandi ensured a comfortable win with his effort in the 67th minute as Singapore set up a final showdown with Thailand on Sunday.
Photos: AFP, Football Association of Singapore, Tajikistan Football Federation
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