Socceroos need to step up to save face in East Asian Cup

Archie Gerald Thompson fends off Hong Kong defender Lee Chi Ho during the EAFF East Asian Cup 2013 Qualifying match between Hong Kong and Australia at Mong Kok Stadium on December 3, 2012 in Hong Kong.
Archie Gerald Thompson fends off Hong Kong defender Lee Chi Ho during the EAFF East Asian Cup 2013 Qualifying match between Hong Kong and Australia at Mong Kok Stadium on December 3, 2012 in Hong Kong. Gareth Gay / Getty Images

THE Socceroos will have to show some improvement in tonight's East Asian Cup qualifier with North Korea after scraping past lowly Hong Kong yesterday morning 1-0.

Veteran Brett Emerton only scored the winner in the 86th minute in a below-par performance against the No. 172 ranked side in the world - the lowest-ranked team Australia has ever had to face.

But there were some promising signs for Holger Osieck in the game in which Brisbane duo Ivan Franjic and Matthew Smith made their international debuts.

Newcastle Jets' Adam Taggart, 19, also made his first senior appearance at the Mong Kok Stadium, coming on for Archie Thompson.

And he had an almost immediate impact, cutting back a ball across goal, but no teammates were on hand to finish.

Then late on the Mariners' Tomas Rogic also had an impact straight after coming on for Richard Garcia, with his first touch a shot on goal.

North Korea's first East Asian Cup qualifier was a 5-0 thrashing of Guam.

Topics:  australia, east asian cup, football, hong kong, soccer, socceroos

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