Socceroos Champions of Asia

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The Socceroos have won the 2015 AFC Asian Cup final in dramatic fashion in Sydney tonight.

Tonight will arguably go down as one of the greatest achievements in Australian sporting history.  

It was impossible to hide the goose bumps, as both sets off fans displayed an incredible atmosphere which echoed through the entire stadium.

The Koreans, also known as the “Red Devils” covered one goal end in a sea of red, whilst the majority of Stadium Australia was decorated in Gold for the host nation.

It was a shaky opening from both sides, resulting in a lack of quality on the park from the nervous players.

The Socceroos received an early scare in the second minute,as Son Heung Min streamed past defender Jason Davidson, before having his shotblocked by a challenge from captain Mile Jedinak.

The aggressive challenge resulted in the South Korean fan favourite
going to ground and staying there, much to the displeasure of the Australian
home crowd.

The free flowing nervy game resulted in plenty of created
opportunities for both teams; Jedinak almost firing the opener after a lethal
free kick grazed the top netting.

Despite Australia’s dominance in possession, it was the
Koreans throwing all the opening punches.

An amazing volley from Seung Min curled wide of Goalkeeper Matt
Ryan’s goal, sending the Korean fans into a roar of excitement.

The onslaught continued from the Korean star Min, firing another
shot on target in what looked to be a certain goal, however blocked by the
heroics of Australian’s new golden boy- Massimo Luongo.

The unpredictability of football was once again in full
effect as the flow of the game was completely turned on its head in the 45th
minute.

A wicked turn from Luongo left the Korean defenders static
and unable to stop the whiz kid from scoring an absolute wonder strike from
outside the box. 

The launch of the second half felt like a carbon copy of the
first, with all the possession at the feet of the Koreans.

As the game drew to a close, tension grew for both teams.

The Korean’s were going all in, throwing players forward at
every opportunity in hope of an equalising goal.

Unlike many other teams who would opt for dirty tactics when
in the lead, the Australian’s continued to push hard for a second goal.

Iranian referee Alireza Faghani may have to apologize to
Robbie Kruse, after he gave a yellow card for dissent when in fact Kruse had
seriously injured his Achilles. The refereeing decisions against Australia were
followed with abuse from the crowd for the remainder of the match. 

Tim Cahill had been subbed off for Tomi Juric by Ange
Postecoglou, resulting in a standing ovation for face of Australian football.
The 35 year old may well have played in his final major tournament, and has
been there to save the Socceroos time and time again. 

For Socceroos fans, the last 10 minutes of the match felt
like years. Matt Ryan continued to produce world class saves as the Koreans
threw everything at his goal.

In classic Socceroos heartbreaking fashion, the Koreans
equalized through Heung Min in added time. The attacking midfielder from Bayer
Leverkusen, was finally rewarded after displaying a 90 minute performance a
class above the rest. . The game was set for extra time.

You couldn’t write a script like this.

The Socceroos have experienced a hoodoo of bad luck and
heartbreak over the years. The famous World Cup Qualifier at the MCG against Iran
in 1997, and losing to Italy in the 2006 WC to name a few.

Both fans were feeling a roller-coaster of emotions
throughout the second half; no team deserves to go through the heartbreak of
extra time.

Then it happened……

Asian Champions League winner Tomi Juric displayed a
freakish piece of skill nutt-megging Jin Su, and sending a ball across goal
deflecting off the goalkeeper into the path of James Troisi.

The substitute made no mistake launching the ball into the
top of the net sending the Socceroos fans into pandemonium.

The loud roars of the Australian home support continued on
until the final whistle.

THE TURF got the chance
to hear from match winner James Troisi and coach Ange Postecoglou after the
game:

“It hasn’t sunk in; this is the most important goal I’ve
scored in my career. This will go down in history for Australian football so I couldn’t
be happier”, said Troisi

It’s been a long time coming for Australia.

Tonight’s Asian Cup Final has created a piece of history
which every Socceroos fan will remember for the rest of their lives.

The Socceroos will remember this as their first major trophy
and hopefully not their last.

“We have just seen the beauty of the game tonight; it can
change in a moment. Get so close to touching the trophy and then to get it
taken away from us. Getting ourselves up off the canvas in true Australian spirit
and winning it, it was the perfect scenario”, said Ange Postecoglou.

It’s certainly been a perfect night for Australian football…

Words by Ari Charilaou

Photography by Aleks Jason 

THE TURF