Australia have been beaten 1-0 by Korea Republic in their Asian Cup clash in Brisbane, which was watched by a full-house in the SSC clubhouse on Saturday night.
A first-half goal from Lee Jeong-hyeop was enough to give the South Korean side victory, as the Aussies spurned several chances trying to find an equaliser in the enthralling contest.
The result means the Taeguk Warriors topped the final Group A standings, with both sides having already qualified for the quarter-finals with wins over Kuwait and Oman.
The Socceroos will remain in Brisbane for their final eight clash against Group B winners China, while Korea Republic will face Uzbekistan in Melbourne, with both matches to be played on Thursday night.
Ange Postecoglou fielded a new-look starting XI at Suncorp Stadium from the sides that comprehensively claimed back-to-back wins to start the tournament.
Tomi Juric, Nathan Burns and James Troisi were all handed starting berths in the Socceroos’ front three, with the coach choosing to rest Tim Cahill, Robbie Kruse and Mathew Leckie.
It seemed only a matter of time till the Aussies opened the scoring as they dominated possession and created several chances after a tentative opening from both sides.
However they could not find a way past goalkeeper Kim Jin Hyeon who pulled off some brilliant saves throughout the contest as the South Korea maintained their perfect defensive record in their three group games.
The Socceroos were made to pay for not finding the back of the net when they were caught out in defence just after the half-hour mark.
Winger Ki Sung Yueng attracted the attention of three Socceroo defenders on the left before finding Lee Keun Ho in space, with his cross turned in by Jeong-hyeop from close range for the opening goal.
The Aussies threw everything at Korea Republic in the second-half with Juric, Burns and Troisi all having strong chances.
They were all substituted as the Socceroos desperately sought an equaliser that would have been enough to see them top the group but Uli Stielike’s side hung on to take the three points.
Allegiances were split in a vocal SSC clubhouse for the clash, with plenty of support for both sides ensuring there was an electric atmosphere for the 90 minutes and well into the night.
Thank you to everyone who made the evening such a memorable occasion and we look forward to doing it all again on Thursday night when we screen the two teams’ quarter-final matches back-to-back from 6.30pm AEDT.