28 Jan 2015

Australia into Asian Cup final

11:57 am on 28 January 2015

Australia stunned the United Arab Emirates with two goals in the first 14 minutes to reach a second successive Asian Cup final with a 2-0 victory at a rain-soaked Newcastle Stadium.

Socceroos midfielder Mark Milligan in action.

Socceroos midfielder Mark Milligan in action. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Socceroos lost to Japan in the final four years ago and will now take on another East Asian power in South Korea in Sydney on Saturday, looking to seal a first continental title at their third attempt.

Defenders led the way for the hosts with Trent Sainsbury heading them in front after three minutes and Jason Davidson doubling the lead 11 minutes later.

Davidson, who plays for West Bromwich Albion, is the son of Allan Davidson who played for Australia at the 1974 World Cup.

He says he was delighted to score his first goal for his country.

Coach Ange Postecoglou says they knew the start was going to be really important, they wanted to start really strong.

The UAE stunned champions Japan in a penalty shootout to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1996 but another upset never looked on the cards after Australia's early salvo.

The wet pitch probably did not help but Australia, with Matthew Spiranovic restored to the back four after suspension, also defended well enough to contain the UAE strikers.

The UAE coach Mahdi Ali says it wasn't easy to come back after conceding two goals through mistakes in the first 15 minutes. They did their best but he felt Australia deserved to win, they were the best team in the game.

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