Goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic was the hero for the Socceroos.
Australia opened their East Asian Cup campaign with a hard-fought 0-0 draw with hosts South Korea at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Saturday.
The Socceroos had goalkeeper Euguene Galekovic to thank after he staged a phenomenal display of defiance to thwart the Koreans at every turn and claim a well earned clean sheet as the visitors clung on for a precious point.
Apart from the Adelaide United shot-stopper’s impressive resolve between the sticks, head coach Holger Osieck will undoubtedly be lamenting a flaccid performance from his side in which they were dominated from first minute to last by Hong Myung-Bo’s team.
Despite controlling the opening stages of the game it was 15 minutes before Galekovic was properly called into action by South Korea when Yun Illok forced him into a low save before Lee Seung-Ki and then Yun again, this time with a fierce long-range drive, had the 32-year-old at full stretch.
Yet Galekovic refused to be beaten as the home side continued to barrage his goal. Centre-back Kim Young-Gwon further tested his reflexes with a pile-driver from distance before denying Yun for a third time in the first half by blocking his strike from the edge of the area.
Fortunately for Australia they were afforded a brief respite as the humidity inside the stadium took hold of both sides after the break but South Korea soon tapped into their energy reserves and resumed their assault on the visiting goal.
But it became apparent that it wasn’t going to be their night when Lee’s goal bound effort was diverted away by the slightest of touches from Jade North in the 70th minute and substitute Yeom Kihun struck the post with Galekovic well beaten.
Attention will now turn to Australia’s next game against Japan on Thursday where Osieck, who gave debuts to Mitchell Duke and Erik Paartalu, will hope his side can produce an improved showing.