Doha, Jan 18 (AP) Australia reached the quarterfinals ofthe Asian Cup after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Bahrain today.
Mile Jedinak scored his first international goal in thedraw against South Korea on Friday and got his second againstBahrain with a half-volley in the 37th minute.
Bahrain, needing a win to stay in the tournament, keptAustralia on the back foot for most of the second half indriving rain at the Al-Sadd Stadium but couldn''t get pastAustralia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.Australia won Group C on goal difference ahead of SouthKorea and avoided a meeting with three-time champion Iran. TheAustralians could face Iraq, North Korea or the United ArabEmirates in Saturday''s first quarterfinal match.
Australia was up against a side still with a chance ofreaching the quarterfinals, and it showed in a closely foughtfirst half.
Tim Cahill went close in the second minute when he won a50-50 challenge before collecting a return pass from BrettEmerton and sending a shot just wide.
But Bahrain threatened with some neat interchanges, andafter picking up a clever pass from Abdulla Fatadi, IsmaeelAbdulatif almost added to the four goals he scored againstIndia but smacked the outside of the post with an angled shotin the 31st.
A minute later, Brett Holman squared for Harry Kewell,who was denied by goalkeeper Mahmood Mansoor.
Cahill might have made it 2-0 early in the second half,but he headed wide after Kewell had beaten the offside trap,skipped past the keeper and crossed for the Evertonmidfielder.
Bahrain continued to make it uncomfortable for Australiawith its main threat provided by the lively Abdulatif.
Schwarzer made diving saves from Abdulatif and Fatadi to keephis side in front.
Schwarzer again came to his side''s rescue in the 67th,this time keeping the ball out with his feet after a crossfound Abdulatif in space at the far post.
As full time approached, Bahrain''s attacks finallypetered out, with Australia happy to sit back on its lead,although the match ended on a worrying note for the Soccerooswhen Cahill limped off in added time after being injured in amidfield challenge. (AP) SHN