Aussies meet Japan in final
Socceroos hammer Uzbekistan; Japan beat South Korea
Last Updated: 25/01/11 8:46pm
Australia celebrate Kewell's opener
Australia are through to face Japan in the final of the Asian Cup after comprehensively beating Uzbekistan 6-0 on Tuesday.
It is the first time the nation have made the final of the tournament, having reached the quarter-finals during their first participation in the competition in 2007.
The Socceroos commanded the game from start to finish, with Harry Kewell and Sasa Ognenovski scoring in the first half to give them a healthy lead at the Khalifa Stadium in Qatar.
David Carney made their passage safe in the 65th minute with a third, before Brett Emerton, Carl Valeri and Robbie Kruse completed the rout to go through.
Ulugbek Bakaev, who scored two goals in Uzbekistan's quarter-final triumph over Jordan, saw red with the score at 3-0 after collecting his second yellow card.
Australia's romp sets up a meeting with Japan, who managed to finally overcome South Korea in a thrilling encounter in the Al Gharafa Stadium which went all the way to penalties after finishing 2-2 after extra time.
The Koreans took the lead thanks to Ki Sung-yong's 23rd-minute penalty, but Ryoichi Maeda levelled nine minutes before half-time.
The score remained that way until the end of the 90 minutes, but Hajime Hosogai's 97th-minute goal put the Blue Samurai in front.
However, Hajime Hwang Jae-won struck with just seconds to play of the 30 extra minutes to set up a dramatic shootout.
The Koreans' joy was to prove short lived, however, as they failed to convert any of their spot kicks, while Keisuke Honda, Shinji Okazaki and Yasuyuki Konno all scored to send Japan into the final.
The two sides now meet in Doha on Saturday at the Khalifa Stadium, while Uzbekistan will take on South Korea in the third place play-off on Friday at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.