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    South Korea

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Khalifa International Stadium

Referee: Ali Albadwawi | Attendance: 24826

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  • Harry Kewell 5'
  • Sasa Ognenovski 35'
  • David Carney 65'
  • Brett Emerton 74'
  • Carl Valeri 82'
  • Robbie Kruse 83'

Uzbeks hit for six as Aussies reach final

Australia reached their first Asian Cup final in emphatic style by demolishing Uzbekistan at Khalifa Stadium.

• Abramov rues defensive errors

Taylor: Socceroos enjoy Australia Day party

Harry Kewell and Sasa Ognenovski had given Holger Osieck's side a useful half-time lead before David Carney killed off the semi-final encounter when he found the back of the net in the 65th minute.

Ulugbek Bakaev, two-goal hero from Uzbekistan's quarter-final triumph over Jordan, was then sent off two minutes later after collecting his second yellow card before Brett Emerton, Carl Valeri and Robbie Kruse completed the rout.

Australia almost went ahead in the opening couple of minutes when Tim Cahill's cross picked out the onrushing Brett Holman on the far side of the box but his side-footed volley was turned around the near post by goalkeeper Temur Juraev low to his right.

Kewell gave the Socceroos the lead shortly afterwards when, after being played in by Matt McKay on the left side of the box, he took a couple of steps forward before drilling a low finish past Juraev and into the far corner.

Uzbekistan enjoyed good possession but were unable to carve out any clear chances and Australia almost doubled their lead after half an hour when Carney intercepted a wayward pass just before the halfway line and embarked on a forceful run down the left flank but elected to chip Juraev and the Uzbekistan keeper managed to get a hand to it before the ball was cleared.

The Socceroos only had to wait four minutes to extend their lead, though. Carney's free-kick from the left was met by Cahill in a crowd of bodies and Ognenovski pounced on the loose ball to rifle home from close range.

Carney then netted the third goal in the 65th minute when McKay's pass freed the defender down the left side of the box and he slipped the ball under the advancing Juraev.

Bakaev then saw red soon after as a late tackle on Luke Wilkshire earned a second booking before Emerton drew a smart save out of Juraev.

The Blackburn midfielder was not to be denied, though, and he extended Australia's lead in the 74th minute when Wilkshire's ball over the top caught out the Uzbekistan defence and Kruse squared for Emerton to slide into the empty net.

Juraev parried Kruse's effort from inside the box after the striker found time and space as Australia ran riot and Valeri added the fifth eight minutes from the end when he converted from two yards following McKay's cutback from the byline.

Kruse then scored the sixth goal almost immediately when he won the ball in midfield, beat a defender and was fortunate to see his weak shot slip through Juraev's hands.

  • Abramov rues defensive errors

    Stunned Uzbekistan coach Vadim Abramov offered no excuses for his side's demoralising display after their dreams of reaching a first Asian Cup final were emphatically crushed by Australia.

    "I'm very sorry for the people who came to the stadium and also the supporters in Uzbekistan," said Abramov. "The way we played today, I cannot describe it. We were prepared but we played badly. This is a big problem. We made too many mistakes.

    "Up until now, I believed that we could beat Australia and win the tournament.

    I don't know what happened. After the second goal, we wanted to attack but we

    made too many mistakes at the back.

    "Even after the red card, we made too many mistakes. At 3-0 down, we tried to

    attack and this caused us many problems."

    Australia will now contest their first continental final in just their second

    appearance when they face Japan on Saturday, and Osieck was thrilled with what

    proved to be his side's best performance of the tournament.

    "We had a brilliant game today," said the German. "The players put on a great show and performance. I'm full of praise and

    credit for them. What they did today was fantastic.

    "You can't expect a result like this. We definitely wanted to win the game and

    go to the final but you can never predict the score.

    "The secret was the way we presented ourselves on the pitch. We were well

    structured, we had a great shape, we played high, we tried to create.

    "Harry Kewell had a great game and he's had a great tournament so far but he's

    not the only one.

    "All the other boys have done well and I'm very happy with the way our team

    has developed in the tournament."