Captain Emerton boots Aussies to victory

Sydney FC midfielder Brett Emerton proved to be the difference between the Qantas Socceroos and Hong Kong with an 85th minute strike that allowed Australia to kick off their East Asian Cup qualifiers with a 1-0 victory.

Sydney FC midfielder Brett Emerton proved to be the difference between the Qantas Socceroos and Hong Kong with an 85th minute strike that allowed Australia to kick off their East Asian Cup qualifiers with a 1-0 victory.

Emerton notched the only goal of the game, celebrating his 93rd cap by also wearing the captain-s armband.

The match also proved symbolic for Sydney FC midfielder Terry Antonis, who made his Socceroos debut as a late substitute.

From the opening whistle, the Socceroos controlled possession but could not conjure up any clear goal scoring opportunities in the first half, with the best attempt falling to Matt McKay in the 39th minute only to see his shot sail over the crossbar.

The second half saw Hong Kong grow in confidence the longer that they kept the Qantas Socceroos scoreless.

Kwan-Yee had Hong Kong first real shot of the match five minutes into the second period that brought out a save from goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic. Kwan-Yee tried his hand just before the hour mark with another shot from outside the box, but again Galekovic made the save.

Soon afterwards, Emerton played a perfect through ball to Archie Thompson to go one-on-one with Hong Kong goal keeper Yapp Hung-Fai, but the custodian did well to come off his line and block Thompson-s shot.

In a bid to effect a change in proceedings, in the 70th minute Holger Osieck swapped Thompson up front with Adam Taggart who made his senior international debut in the process. Taggart nearly had an impact soon after coming on when he chased down a ball to the by-line and cut back across goal, but unfortunately no teammates were on hand to finish.

The 81st minute saw Osieck make his second change of the match with Tomas Rogic replacing Richard Garcia. Rogic-s first touch of the ball was a shot on goal which Hung-Fai had to save.

Emerton-s match winner five minutes from time was a deserved reward for the Socceroos, who dominated the majority of the match.

As the match headed to additional time, Osieck made his final change of the game and replaced Emerton with Antonis.

In the other match of the evening, DPR Korea defeated Guam 5-0.

The Qantas Socceroos will meet DPR Korea in their next match of the EAFF East Asian Cup qualification tournament on Wednesday 5 December at Hong Kong Stadium (Kick-Off 8:30pm local, 11:30pm AEDT)

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