World: Asian Cup
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J. Irvine (59)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Irvine shoots Aussies through to AFC knockouts

Graham Arnold's Australian Socceroos are through to the knockouts of the current Asian continental championship thanks to another strike from 1. FC St. Pauli captain Jackson Irvine.
The Australian men's national football team have won their second group stage fixture at the 2023 AFC Asian continental championship thanks to a strike from 1. FC St. Pauli skipper Jackson Irvine. The Kiezkicker captain - who also tallied in the team's 2-0 win over India in the tournament opener - has now ensured that his country are through to the competition's round-of-16.

Graham Arnold's Socceroos actually struggled against opponents Syria in the opening half of Thursday's match at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium in Doha. Argentine trainer Hector Cuper's 'Qasioun eagles' enjoyed the better share of chances in the opening 45. Irvine himself missed the best Aussie opportunity in the 37th. The Syrians were denied the opener only thanks to the goalframe.

Irvine redeemed himself with an excellent finish on the 1-0 just prior to the hour-mark. The 30-year-old shook off his marker in the box and sent an elegant effort in past Syrian keeper Ahmad Madania on-the-turn. After the 2015 continental champions took the lead in the 59th, the Syrians weren't able to muster up much in response. The match ended with Australia eking out a narrow victory.

Irvine's St. Pauli teammate Connor Metcalfe started once again and put in a 57-minute shift. German football's third representative on Arnold's roster - SV Wehen Wiesbaden striker John Iredale - again did not feature in the match-day squad. Australia are through to their fifth consecutive AFC knockout phase since moving to the Asian confederation from Oceania ahead of the 2007 tournament.

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