Australia routed Uzbekistan 6-0 to reach the final of soccer’s Asian Cup against Japan, which defeated South Korea in a penalty shootout.
Japan and South Korea finished extra time tied 2-2, and while the Japanese converted three of their four penalty shots, the Koreans failed to score on any.
The Socceroos and Japan will meet Jan. 29 in the final at the Khalifa Stadium in Doha, Qatar. Australia, which joined the Asian Football Confederation in 2006, is in the final for the first time, while Japan had won the title three previous times, most recently in 2004.
The Socceroos got a fifth-minute goal from Harry Kewell, and were leading 2-0 at halftime after defender Sasa Ognenovski scored in the 34th minute. Defender David Carney scored on 65 minutes, and two minutes later Ulugbek Bakaev was sent off for his second yellow card for a tackle on Australia’s Luke Wilkshire.
Midfielder Brett Emerton got Australia’s fourth goal in the 74th minute. Carl Valeri added a goal in the 82nd minute and Robbie Kruse finished the scoring a minute later. Almost 24,900 people attended the match at Khalifa Stadium.
The earlier semifinal went to penalties after South Korean defender Jae-Won Hwang scored in the 120th minute. The game was tied at the end of 90 minutes, after Sung-Yong Ki’s 23rd-minute penalty for South Korea and a 36-minute goal from forward Ryoichi Maeda. Hajime Hosogai scored in the 97th minute, but Japan couldn’t hold on in front of 16,171 fans at Al Gharafa Stadium, Doha.
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