Doha: Australia reached the quarterfinals of
the Asian Cup after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Bahrain on Tuesday.
Mile Jedinak scored his first international goal in the
draw against South Korea on Friday and got his second against
Bahrain with a half-volley in the 37th minute.
Bahrain, needing a win to stay in the tournament, kept
Australia on the back foot for most of the second half in
driving rain at the Al-Sadd Stadium but couldn`t get past
Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.
Australia won Group C on goal difference ahead of South
Korea and avoided a meeting with three-time champion Iran. The
Australians could face Iraq, North Korea or the United Arab
Emirates in Saturday`s first quarterfinal match.
Australia was up against a side still with a chance of
reaching the quarterfinals, and it showed in a closely fought
Tim Cahill went close in the second minute when he won a
50-50 challenge before collecting a return pass from Brett
Emerton and sending a shot just wide.
But Bahrain threatened with some neat interchanges, and
after picking up a clever pass from Abdulla Fatadi, Ismaeel
Abdulatif almost added to the four goals he scored against
India but smacked the outside of the post with an angled shot
in the 31st.
A minute later, Brett Holman squared for Harry Kewell,
who was denied by goalkeeper Mahmood Mansoor.
Cahill might have made it 2-0 early in the second half,
but he headed wide after Kewell had beaten the offside trap,
skipped past the keeper and crossed for the Everton
Bahrain continued to make it uncomfortable for Australia
with its main threat provided by the lively Abdulatif.
Schwarzer made diving saves from Abdulatif and Fatadi to keep
his side in front.
Schwarzer again came to his side`s rescue in the 67th,
this time keeping the ball out with his feet after a cross
found Abdulatif in space at the far post.
As full time approached, Bahrain`s attacks finally
petered out, with Australia happy to sit back on its lead,
although the match ended on a worrying note for the Socceroos
when Cahill limped off in added time after being injured in a