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Australia wins Asian Cup for first time

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Australian players celebrate winning the AFC Asian Cup 2015 in Sydney’s Stadium Australia, January 31, 2015.

Australian national soccer team wins the final match of the Asian cup 2015, clinching the continental title for the first time ever.

In final minutes of the first extra time period, a decisive goal from Belgium-based James Troisi gave the Socceroos a 2-1 lead over South Korea in Stadium Australia in Sydney on Saturday.

The fascinating match ended 1-1 in regular time with Massimo Luongo scoring for the Australians in the 44th minute and Son Heung-min equalizing in the stoppage time of the second half.

This is the first time Australia wins the senior Asian men soccer title since the nation joined Asian Football Confederation in 2006. Australia came runner-up to Japan in the previous round of AFC Asian Cup in Qatar in 2011.

South Koreans, who have not won the trophy for more than 40 years, deserved a much better result against the Socceroos, but Australia’s disciplined defense kept them at bay. The warriors had beaten Australia in the group stage and had not conceded a single goal in the tournament.

Iranian referee Alireza Faghani’s final whistle signaled an end to the South Korean dreams to win the prestigious continental title and left the 76,000 Australians celebrating what they had anticipated since the games began on January 9.

Australia’s first-ever championship in the games may be also their last. Some Arab members of the AFC have voiced concerns over the nation’s successful presence in the continental football, which, as they say, has not gone in their favor.

AFC chief, Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, said Thursday that not only Arabs, but other football confederations in West Asia are no longer happy with Australia’s presence in the AFC because Australia is too good for them.

Salman said in an interview with Dubai-based newspaper al-Ittihad that there are clear indications that a desire exists among the football associations in West Asia to see Australia evicted from the AFC.


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