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A Harry Kewell goal three minutes from the end of extra-time on - 23/01/2011
A Harry Kewell goal three minutes from the end of extra-time on Saturday saw Australia knock out the defending Asian Cup holders Iraq 1-0 at the quarter-final stage.


A Harry Kewell goal three minutes from the end of extra-time on Saturday
Australia, whose only previous appearance at the finals ended in the round of the last eight four years ago, will face Uzbekistan, who beat Jordan 2-1 on Friday, in the semi-final.

 The other semi-final sees Japan, who knocked out the hosts Qatar with a dramatic last-gasp 3-2 victory, take on the winner of the match between Iran and South Korea, which is scheduled for later Saturday.


Both sides tried to stamp their authority on the game from the first whistle in the Al Sadd stadium and at times were guilty of over-robust play.


The defending champions had the Australian backline in trouble in the 16th minute when Nashat Akram and Younus Mohammed combined, but Luke Wilkshire manage to clear for a corner.

In the 28th minute Matt McKay came close for the Australians when Samal Saeed attempted to head a long cross from Wilkshire back to his goalkeeper, but left the ball short, allowing McKay to intercept. However, the Brisbane Roar midfielder failed to connect properly and blasted well over.

McKay should have given his side the lead shortly before the break after being sent through by Brett Holman, but with just goalkeeper Mohammed Kassid to beat, shot straight into the arms of the keeper.

Kewell had his side's final chance in the first half when he lobbed the ball over Kassid, only to see it go over the crossbar.

Iraq were the more enterprising side at the start of the second half and came close to opening the score through Emad Mohammed, who had been set up by Mohammed and saw his ball beat Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer but also roll just past the upright.

Midway through the second half Holman brought out an excellent save from Kassid after his long-range effort was deflected, but the keeper dived to palm the ball over the line.

Both sides had chances to settle the game in the remaining minutes, but Schwarzer and Kassid were on guard to keep their sides in the game.

Iraq were somewhat lucky in the sixth minute of extra time when Mile Jedinak headed over an overhead kick from Sasa Ognenovski, that was goal-bound.

At the other side Iraqi had a penalty appeal turned down when Mahmood was pulled down by Australian captain Lucas Neill, who just a minute later had to make a saving tackle to deny substitute Ala'a Abdulzehra a clear shot at goal.

Iraq took control of the game in extra time and had scoring opportunities through Akram and Mustafa Kareem, but failed to get the ball into the back of the net.

The defending champions continued pushing forward, but failed to beat Schwarzer, allowing the Socceroos a late winner when McKay floated a long ball into the area onto the head of Kewell and the former Liverpool player made no mistake, beating Kassid to send his side through to the next round.



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