Asian Cup: Australia overpower India as VAR denies China win over Tajikistan

The 2015 Asian Cup champions were in full control of their Group B match as Indian legs tired

By AFP

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Australia's midfielder Jackson Irvine celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the Qatar 2023 AFC Asian Cup Group B match and India. - AFP
Australia's midfielder Jackson Irvine celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the Qatar 2023 AFC Asian Cup Group B match and India. - AFP

Published: Sat 13 Jan 2024, 9:53 PM

Australia cruised to a 2-0 victory in their Asian Cup Group B opener against India on Saturday, Jackson Irvine and Jordan Bos scoring from close range to launch their title bid.

In Group A China were held 0-0 by Tajikistan in their opening game of the Asian Cup on Saturday after a VAR intervention.

Zhu Chenjie thought he had headed in an undeserved winner for China with 10 minutes remaining in Doha when he rose to nod in from a corner.

But he and his teammates were left befuddled when VAR disallowed it, ruling former England youth defender Tyias Browning was interfering with play as he lurked on the goal-line in an offside position.

In front of a deafeningly pro-Indian crowd at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha, Australia made hard work of the first half, squandering a few decent chances while the underdogs defended raggedly and eyed opportunities to pounce on the break.

China's defender Zhu Chenjie (C bottom) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal, which was later disallowed, during the Qatar 2023 AFC Asian Cup Group A match against Tajikistan. - AFP
China's defender Zhu Chenjie (C bottom) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal, which was later disallowed, during the Qatar 2023 AFC Asian Cup Group A match against Tajikistan. - AFP

But Irvine opened the scoring just after the restart, the moustachioed midfielder driving home from 10 yards after India goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu came for a cross only to flap it back into the danger zone.

The 2015 Asian Cup champions were in full control from then on, as Indian legs tired and Australia coach Graham Arnold took advantage of the depth in his squad.

Bos doubled Australia's advantage shortly after the 70th minute.

A matter of seconds after coming off the bench, the 21-year-old slotted home from six yards after fellow substitute Riley McGree fizzed the ball hard and low across the box from the byline.

Bos went close with a few minutes remaining when unmarked at the left-hand post, but dragged his shot wide.

A mostly unremarkable match did offer one moment of regional football history, as Japan's Yoshimi Yamashita became the first woman to referee at an Asian Cup.

Indian fans among the official attendance of 36,253 kept up their fine voice throughout, even as their team's chances of a goal faded with the desert sun.

ALSO READ

In a host country with a massive Indian population, Igor Stimac's side can be sure of a rowdy following for all of their games in Group B.

Next up they face Uzbekistan on Thursday, when Australia take on Syria.

Results

GROUP A

China 0 Tajikistan 0

GROUP B

Australia 2 India 0


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