The goalscorer Martin Boyle speaks
Our main objective was to finish top of the group and thankfully we did that. It was a hard-fought draw. I feel like we created a lot of chances today and could have put more away, but fair play to them – they stayed in the game and got their goal.
We’ll have to look at the mistake that caused the goal and be defensively better. That’ll hurt us tonight – we wanted to keep another clean sheet. We know we need to be a bit more ruthless at the other end. The link play’s good and we’re getting in the right areas. We just need to put the ball away.
Riley McGree’s verdict
We’ve had three really good performances and there are a lot of positives to take. Top of the ground and onto the next one.
I feel really good. I’ve been working as hard to come back and be in the best condition I can, and this game will help me. I like to be creative but I want to score more and assist more. It’s fine getting into positions but I need to be more clinical. Potentially all of us could have been more clinical tonight.
[On the chance he missed] I’m very happy it ended up being a penalty! On another day I think that goes in for me.
Our aim was to top to the group, and we have. Whoever we play in the last 16, we have to beat them.
“Hindsight is a d̶e̶b̶i̶l̶i̶t̶a̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ wonderful thing,” writes Chris Paraskevas, “but Arnie probably should made those changes earlier: the game was crying out for a player like Tilio to run into open space, and a few of the starters looked tired.
“It all just feels a little disjointed in thinking and execution, and that is reflected in the set-pieces: if Harry Souttar is going to end up as Australia’s Ferenc Puskás, he needs quality deliveries to attack. Dead-ball scenarios are theoretically our biggest weapon and best chance of a goal vs Japan, Korea etc.
“Having said that, both of these teams – and the tournament – reflect Asian football: competent and talented footballers, organised teams, some interesting systems… but no real goalscorers or creative players with ‘X-Factor’, or consistent output. Can make for some laboured viewing…”
Kusini Yengi’s reaction
We didn’t do too bad. We wanted to win but we got a point and topped the group, so we’re content. I don’t really care who we face in the next round – we’ve got a great team and when we play at our best we can beat anyone.
Australia win the group, Uzbekistan qualify in the second place, and Syria – who beat India 1-0 – should go through as one of the best third-placed teams.
Australia’s record run of 652 minutes conceding a goal came to aned, though their main concern is at the other end. They’ve had only one shot on target in each of the last two games and lack fluency in attack. But they still qualified comfortably and will play one of Iran, United Arab Emirates, Palestine, Indonesia or Japan on Sunday night.
That’ll do. It’ll have to do. Australia have continued their slightly laboured progress at the Asian Cup with a hard-fought draw against Uzbekistan. Martin Boyle put them ahead on the stroke of half-time after a value-of-everything-price-of-nothing penalty award, but the substitute Azizbek Turgunboev headed a deserved equaliser with 11 minutes remaining.
90+5 min Metcalfe almost produces something out of nothing, chesting a loose ball down 25 yards from goal and swishing it over the bar.
90+4 min: Australia substitutions Lewis Miller and Marco Tilio come on for Jordy Bos, who again looked like a full-back in winger’s clothing, and Nathaniel Atkinson.
90+3 min The two goals are the only shots in target in the entire game, which speaks chapters if not necessarily volumes.
90 min There will be se7en minutes of added time.
88 min A cross from the left bounces beyond the far post to Metcalfe, whose shot on the stretch deflects behind for a corner. Harry Souttar’s noggin moves forward with intent, but Metcalfe’s corner is headed away at the near post.
88 min “I like Weaves’ set up (62 min),” says Chris Paraskevas. “I’ve actually got the game running on two screens (each in a separate room). One of those screens is running alongside my Football Manager game (in which I’m managing Australia and Newcastle).
“There’s a slight delay to one of the feeds, so whenever I walk between the rooms there’s a 10-second echo of the game. Complicating/complimenting this Christopher Nolan TENET-style time-capsule of non-interaction with my neighbours is the fact that I occasionally read the MBM first (the MBM is running on two screens). That ghost goal really threw me…”
Not half as much as it threw me.
87 min Nothing much is happening. This result is fine for both sides.
86 min “Just realised the game was on,” says Martin Turnbull. “Turned on for second half. We are very workmanlike. Would be great if we had a touch of stardust. Still, looks like me are qualifying, so all good.”
Indeed. If you peak at the right time, nobody cares what happened in the group stage. Look at Argentina at the last World Cup; they were fifty shades of shower at the start of the tournament.
84 min: Uzbekistan substitution Igor Sergeyev is stretchered off in distress, his tournament almost certainly over. Jamshid Iskanderov replaces him.
84 min: Australia substitution While Sergeyev receives treatment, Aiden O’Neill and Bruno Fornaroli come on for Keanu Baccus, who hasn’t had his best game, and Riley McGree.
83 min Sergeyev has injurd himself while trying to challenge Bos. I think he’s pulled a muscle.
80 min Atkinson probably allowed Masharipov to beat him too easily and get to the byline. Even so, it was a really well constructed goal.
Now, all of a sudden, Uzbekistan are one goal away from winning the group.
It was a good goal, too, and on the balance of play Uzbekistan deserve it. It was all the work of two substitutes. The impressive Masharipov ran at Atkinson on the left and stood up a gorgeous cross to the far post, where Turgunboev towered over Behich to plant a header past Ryan from six yards.
The Socceroos have finally conceded a goal!
77 min Australia are having a decent spell of passing down the clock. It’s all a bit Brian Eno, but that’s understandable in the circumstances. They want to keep as much in the tank as possible for their last 16 game on Sunday night.
74 min Omar Maher Khribin has put Syria 1-0 up against India. That makes things a bit more interesting, though Uzbekistan still have a two-goal cushion.
Uzbekistan 4 (GD+2)
Syria 4 (GD 0)
If Uzbekistan and Syria finish level on points and goal difference, second place will be decided by disciplinary points. Both would probably qualify anyway though.
73 min Erm, something weird happened there – I think some text from the India game appeared. That’s very odd. Anyway, it’s still 1-0, I can promise you that.
72 min: Australia substitution Connor Metcalfe for Martin Boyle.
70 min Riley McGree is rightly booked for a slightly weird scissor tackle on Sayfiyev.
68 min It’s been a slightly subdued second half – nothing like West Germany v Austria in 1982, I should stress, but not the most intense 25 minutes of football you’ll ever see.
Australia want to win but know a draw is enough to win the group, and they’re already through anyway. Uzbekistan want to draw but know they can probably afford to lose 1-0.
66 min Look, the parable of Italy 1982 tells us we should never read too much into the group stages, but Australia haven’t looked like potential winners so far. I think they’ve had only two shots on target in the last couple of games, one of which was an absurd penalty.
The good news is that they haven’t conceded a goal since 1947, so they might only need one goal to win a game.
64 min: Double substitution for Uzbekistan Igor Sergeyev and Azizbek Turgunboev replace Hojimat Erkinov and the impressive Abbosbek Fayzullayev.
62 min “Sinner vs Rublev on the TV, Oztraya vs Uzbeks on the Surface Pro, Guardian MBM on the app,” writes Weaves. “Happy days.”
I’ve said it all along: two rights > one wrong.
60 min: Eshumurodov has a goal disallowed! Maty Ryan still haven’t had a save to make, but he was beaten a moment ago. The centre-back Eshmurodov planted an excellent header into the net from a left-wing free-kick; alas he went too early and was fractionally offside when the ball was delivered. It was very close though.
58 min Abdirahmatov has a shot blocked on the edge of the area. Although Uzbekistan have played some good stuff, Maty Ryan hasn’t had a save to make yet.
57 min It remains Syria 0-0 India in the other Group B game. If this stays 1-0, Syria need to win by three goals to have a chance of qualifying automatically in second place.
55 min The Socceroos look happy to sit deep and play on the break for now. Uzbekistan are in the strange position of needing a draw to guarantee qualification while also knowing a heavier defeat than 1-0 could kibosh their chances.
51 min: So close from Masharipov! It was a terrific free-kick, flashed just wide of the far post with his right foot. Ryan was on that side of the goal and may have had it covered, though I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.
50 min Souttar is booked for hoofing Fayzullayev on the edge of the D. This is a chance for Uzbekistan…
46 min: Chance for Australia! McGree almost scores within 40 seconds of the restart. Irvine played a nice pass to release Bos, who rode a tackle on the edge of the area and screwed the ball back towards McGree. He opened his body to hit a first-time shot that was crucially blocked.
46 min Uzbekistan have made a half-time change: the captain Jaloliddin Masharipov, who was surprisingly omitted/not fit enough to start, is on for Oston Urunov.
A poor half of football, enlivened only by an even worse penalty decision that allowed Martin Boyle to put Australia ahead. That was the only shot on target at either end. As things stand both teams, with Syria drawing 0-0 against India, both teams are going through.
45+8 min Bos’s cross is headed over by Yengi, who was jumping away from goal and did well to get it anywhere near the target. The attack started with what looked like a foul by Baccus on the edge of the Australian area, and the collective blood pressure is rising apace on the Uzbekistan bench.
45+6 min Bos shoots wide from the edge of the area. It looked good as it exploded off his left foot but swerved a long way past the far post.
45+4 min Boyle’s corner is met on the half-volley by Irvine, whose shot deflects behind for another.
45+4 min McGree beats Ashurmatov on the edge of the area with a majestic flick behind his standing leg. Hamrobekov comes across to make an important tackle and concede a corner.
45+3 min Shukurov has been booked for dissent.
45+2 min Theer will be seven minutes of added time by the way. I suppose Australia can argue Eshmurodov should have been sent off earlier in the half, that it all evens itself out, but that penalty decision is profoundly dispiriting.
A fine penalty from Martin Boyle, who calmly sends Yusupov the wrong way.
44 min Hamrobekov is booked as well. Srecko Katanec is sarcastically applauding the officials.
44 min: Penalty given! An utter shambles. Football RIP.
43 min: VAR check for an Australia penalty! The ball touched the hand of Hamrobekov when Yengi sat him down in the area, and the referee is going to the monitor. This would be a scandalous penalty – Hamrobekov was sliding and used his arm to break his fall.
41 min: Great chance for McGree! Yengi does brilliantly on the left of the area, nutmegging one defender and sitting another down before cutting the ball back to McGree near the penalty spot. He takes the shot first time, with his reliable left foot, and somehow screws it wide of the far post! That’s a bad miss.
40 min Australia haven’t played well in this half. But they have set a new defensive record in A internationals, having now gone 613 minutes without conceding a goal.