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Asian Cup final preview: Can Australian hosts deny South Korea’s first title since 1960?


Tim Cahill (R) of Australia fights for the ball with Jang Hyunsoo (L) of South Korea during the first round Asian Cup football match between South Korea and Australia at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on January 17, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK HAMILTON ---IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE--- (Photo credit should read PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

South Korea’s stingy defense goes up against Tim Cahill and high-powered host nation Australia in Saturday’s Asian Cup final, as a couple of rival nations look to make a bit of history at the other’s expense in Sydney.

The Socceroos haven’t won the Asian Cup in three tries since moving from the OFC to the AFC, while the Taegeuk Warriors won the first two editions of the tournament in 1956 and 1960 and are making their first final appearance since 1988.

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After scoring the most goals of any nation in the group stage with 8, Australia picked up a pair of 2-0 wins over China and UAE to make the fnal, and hopes to take the next step after finishing second in 2011.

South Korea, meanwhile, hasn’t allowed a single goal in the tournament, outscoring opponents 6-0 and handing Australia its only loss of the tournament.

Cahill has three goals in the tournament, while the Socceroos have received a single goal from nine other players in a bid to become the first hosts to win the Asian Cup since Japan in 1992.

Some are saying it could be the final international match for the New York Red Bulls attacker. He wouldn’t talk about that, but he’s fired up for the match (From the Associated Press):

“I play for these moments and I play to try and make a difference in Australian football,” Cahill said. “I’ve played in World Cups and all the other tournaments, but to play on home turf and to hopefully do something special and win a tournament like this, will definitely cap it off.”

Going to be a good early morning viewing here on the East Coast... of the U.S.

Follow @NicholasMendola