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Japan to face Australia in Asian Cup final

Goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima was Japan's hero, saving two South Korea penalties in the shoot out.
Goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima was Japan's hero, saving two South Korea penalties in the shoot out.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Japan beat South Korea on penalties to book their place in the Asian Cup final
  • The game ends 1-1 after 90 minutes but Japan win 3-0 on penalties
  • Japan will face Australia after the Socceroos beat Uzebkistan 6-0 in the other semi
  • The final will be played on Saturday
RELATED TOPICS
  • Soccer
  • Uzbekistan
  • Australia

(CNN) -- Japan secured their place in the final of the Asian Cup after a dramatic penalty shoot out victory over South Korea.

Coach Alberto Zaccheroni's side triumphed 3-0 on penalties after the game was level at 1-1 after 90 minutes and 2-2 after extra time.

Japan will now face Australia in Saturday's final, after the Socceroos demolished Uzbekistan 6-0 in the other semifinal.

South Korea started the match brightly and took the lead on 23 minutes after Japan defender Yasuyuki Konno brought down Manchester United star Park Ji-sung in the penalty area. Ki Sung-yong converted from the spot.

CNN blog: Can an Asian team ever win the World Cup?

Japan have been no strangers to going behind in this tournament, and they duly struck back nine minutes before the break.

Yuto Nagamoto latched onto Keisuke Honda's through ball and squared for Ryoichi Maeda to level the tie up at 1-1.

South Korea enjoyed the best of the second half and went close when Koo Ja-cheol hit the side-netting with a low shot before Lee Yong-rae's free kick flashed narrowly wide of the target.

As the game moved into extra time Japan upped the tempo and were rewarded when Shinji Okazaki was felled in the area by Hwang Jae-won. The striker's penalty was saved by Jung Sung-Ryong but substitute Hajime Hosogai made no mistake from the rebound.

Though South Korea laid siege to Japan's goal in the closing stages they couldn't fashion an opportunity to level. But right on the full time whistle Hwang Jae-won slammed home a loose ball after a scramble in the area.

South Korea's joy was short lived though, as they missed all three of their penalties -- Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima making two fine saves -- which left Yasuyuki Konno to convert the winning penalty and spark wild scenes of celebration.

The other semifinal was a hugely one-sided affair as Australia thrashed Uzbekistan 6-0.

It took just five minutes for Australia to break the deadlock as Harry Kewell fired a low shot into the bottom corner.

Sasa Ognenovski made sure Australia went in with a 2-0 cushion at half time as he fired home a loose ball after Tim Cahill had nodded down a David Carney center.

Carney added the third on 65 minutes when he tucked the ball under Uzbek goalkeeper Temur Juraev after Matt McKay's precise pass. Moments later Ulughbek Bakaev was dismissed after picking up his second yellow card.

It was 4-0 less than ten minutes later as Australia sprang the offside trap and substitute Robbie Kruse squared for Brett Emerton to tap into an empty net.

Carl Valeri made it five eight minutes from time as he turned home McKay's cross and Uzbekistan's misery was complete when Kruse's shot squirmed past Juraev.

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