[ASIAN CUP] Japan and Australia will meet in Friday's final at the Asian Cup after winning Tuesday's semifinals. Their paths could not have been more opposite. Japan needed a shootout to dispose of South Korea after their match ended 2-2 when its archrival equalized in the 120th minute, while Australia crushed Uzbekistan, 6-0.
The Japan-South Korea thriller went to penalty kicks, where Japan goalie Eiji Kawashima stopped shots by Koo Ja-Cheol and Lee Yong-Rae and Hong Jeong-Ho missed wide, giving Japan a 3-0 win.
The game ended 2-2 when Hwang Jae-Won scored after a goalmouth scramble.
In a lively first half, Ki Sung-Yueng put Korea ahead from the penalty spot against the run of play, and Ryoichi Maeda equalized for Japan after a superb buildup by Keisuke Honda and Yuto Nagatomo.
After a quiet second half, excitement picked up in overtime when Hajime Hosogai scored on a rebound after Honda's penalty kick was stopped by keeper Jung Sung-Ryong.
Australia almost matched its output from its first four games, scoring twice in the first half on goals by Harry Kewell and Tim Cahill and four in the second half, the last three after Ulugbek Bakaev was sent off for his second yellow card.
"My team had a fantastic game tonight, I am overwhelmed,'' Australia coach Holger Osieck said. "All the things that we wanted came together, I give the boys a lot of credit for the their performance.''
Jan. 25 in Doha
Japan 2 South Korea 2 (Japan wins 3-0 on penalties). Goals: Maeda 37, Hosogai 97; Ki 23 pen. Hwang 120.
Japan -- Kawashima, Iwamasa, Konno, Nagatomo, Uchida, Endo, Hasebe (T.Honda, 116), K.Honda, Kagawa (Hosogai, 86), Okazaki, Maeda (Inoha, 105).
South Korea -- Jung, Hwang, Cho (Kim Shin-Wook, 103), Lee Young-Pyo, Cha, Lee Yong-rae, Park, Koo, Ki, Lee Chung-yong (Song, 82), Ji (Hong, 66).
Jan. 25 in Doha
Australia 6 Uzbekistan 0. Goals: Kewell 5, Ognenovski 34, Carney 65, Emerton 74, Valeri 82, Kruse 83.
Australia -- Schwarzer, Neill, Carney, Ognenovski, Wilkshire, Holman (Emerton, 62), Kewell (Kruse, 51), McKay, Valeri, Jedinak, Cahill (Kilkenny, 71).
Uzbekistan -- T. Juraev, Ismailov, S. Juraev, Haydarov, Djeparov, Akhmedov, Kapadze, Khasanov (Bikmaev, 54), Karpenko (Ibragimov, 71), Shatsikh (Tursunov, 59), Bakaev.