Hosts South Korea wasted a slew of chances as they played Australia to a scoreless draw at the East Asian Cup in Seoul on Saturday.
South Korea dominated the Socceroos, but had nothing to show for their efforts as Australia goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic helped ensure a goalless encounter in the opening men’s match of the regional tournament.
South Korea were the aggressors from the kickoff, while Australia failed to generate much offense, having to fend off merciless assaults from the hosts.
Galekovic stood his ground in the face of the South Korea attack, making one tough save after another.
Midfielder Yun Il-lok himself had three opportunities to put the hosts on the scoreboard, including a thunderous mid-range strike in the 18th minute which was punched out by Galekovic.
About five minutes before the break, Kim Dong-sub tried to redirect a Kim Jin-su free-kick with a diving header, only to be foiled by Galekovic.
Australia tried to turn the tide in the second half, but Dario Vidosic saw his shot go wide in the 54th minute.
After a quiet stretch, South Korea went on the attack once more with substitute Yeom Ki-hun charging right into the Australia penalty area, but shooting straight at Galekovic on the hour mark.
In the 71st minute, Ruben Zadkovic jumped on a loose ball, but his shot bounced right into the hands of South Korea goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong.
Five minutes later, Yeom had another shot deflected by Jade North and it hit the near post.
Earlier on Saturday, Japan beat China 2-0 to open the women’s competition.
Kozue Ando and Emi Nakajima were the goalscorers for the two-time defending East Asian Cup champions, who entered the tournament ranked third in the world.
Hosts South Korea were set to face North Korea in Seoul yesterday in a match that has added a political dimension to the tournament following a tense year between the two neighbors.
North Korea’s women have made their first trip to Seoul since the 2005 East Asian Cup.