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ASIAN CUP

Mabkhout strike sends defending champions home

The Al Jazira forward scored the only goal of the game as hosts UAE booked a semi-final against Qatar at the expense of 2015 winners Australia.

Update:
Mabkhout strike sends defending champions home
GIUSEPPE CACACEAFP

UAE 1-0 Australia: match report

Australia's defence of the Asian Cup ended in disappointment in the quarter-finals on Friday when an Ali Mabkhout goal gave hosts the United Arab Emirates a 1-0 victory.

Mabkhout scored the winner in the 68th minute after an error by defender Milos Degenek put him through on goal. The striker took the ball past goalkeeper Mat Ryan and found the net for the ninth time in two editions of the continental championship.

The UAE, who lost to Australia in the last four in 2015, progress to a potentially politically sensitive semi-final against Qatar after their Arabian Gulf neighbours stunned South Korea 1-0 earlier on Friday.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt launched a diplomatic and trade boycott of Qatar in June 2017. The countries accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism, which it denies.

UAE vs Australia live online: updates

UAE vs Australia live online: preview

The final quarter-final in the Asian Cup takes place at Hazza Bin Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday, January 25 with kick-off at 17:00 CET. Australia, after overcoming Uzbekistan on penalties in the last 16, are considered the favourites having won it in 2015 and finishing second in 2011. UAE finished third in the most recent edition of the tournament when they fell to Australia, 2-0, in the last four. They have a chance on Friday to exact revenge for that loss. That was their best finish since 1996 when they finished second after losing to Saudi Arabia on penalties.

UAE are unbeaten in the competition so far and have drawn two along with two wins. They had to beat Kyrgyzstan on penalties in the last 16 in front of almost 18,000 people on Monday. Omar Abdulrahman, the lively attacker, was ruled out of the tournament after rupturing his cruciate knee ligament. Aside from that, United Arab Emirates have no injury concerns and should be raring to go against the reigning champions, who have failed to truly impress so far.

Australia might reshuffle everything due to Tom Rogic's suspension and the manager says he will break with tradition by not naming his team before the game, which means we might be in for a surprise. The absence of the midfielder means Apostolos Giannou could partner Jamie Maclaren up front in a change of tack for . The reigning champions haven't been quite as convincing as they might like so far, losing to Jordan 1-0 in the first game of the tournament. The UAE also have homefield advantage and have a loyal crowd supporting them in every game so far. 43,000 watching their game against India. The Hazza Bin Zayed fits 24,000 and you can imagine a large chunk of that support will be for the home side. Matthew Leckie is fit again and Graham Arnold has some decision to make ahead of the clash.

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