West Australians Brandon O’Neill and Ryan Williams made their Australia debuts in the Caltex Socceroos’ 1-0 loss to Korea Republic in Busan.
Adam Taggart also figured in Friday night’s international friendly, which was settled by Hwang Ui-jo’s solitary strike 15 minutes from time.
Australia created several good opportunities against the Taeguk Warriors – and hit the post early on through Mitch Duke – but fell behind when substitutes Hong Chul and Hwang combined to give Korea Republic the lead.
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Duke, leading the line in his first appearance for the Caltex Socceroos since September 2013, came within centimetres of capitalising on an enterprising start from Graham Arnold’s side with a glancing header from O’Neill’s corner which bounced off the foot of the post.
The Western Sydney Wanderers forward had earlier flashed a warning shot wide, while FC Midtjylland attacker Awer Mabil stung the palms of Korea keeper Kim Seung-gyu after volleying Craig Goodwin’s clipped pass across goal at the back post.
Vissel Kobe keeper Seung-gyu was by far busier than opposite number Andrew Redmayne, with the debutant No.1 not facing a single shot from Paulo Bento’s side until he collected a deflected free-kick from Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min on the hour mark.
But Hwang, who scored in November’s 1-1 draw with Australia in Brisbane, made himself the 75th minute match-winner in Busan by latching onto Hong’s cross at the near post.
Ryan Williams’ brother Rhys Williams was an unused substitute.
— Caltex Socceroos (@Socceroos) June 7, 2019