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Socceroos defeat South Korea 2-1

NIKITA Rukavytsya and Robert Cornthwaite scored their first international goals as an experimental Socceroos ground out a 2-1 win over South Korea in their friendly match in Hwaseong on Wednesday night.

In a match where exciting youngsters Tom Rogic, Aziz Behich, Eli Babalj and Mathew Leckie were all handed debuts off the bench, fringe players Rukavytsya and Cornthwaite made the most of rare starts to secure a come-from-behind win.

Striker Rukavystya's first goal in 10 appearances cancelled out Lee Dong-Gook's 12th-minute opener after the Socceroos had been dominated early by their Asian rivals.

Australia improved after half-time, with Cornthwaite tapping home the winner in the 88th minute in only his second appearance, after Babalj had struck the woodwork.

South Korea-based Cornthwaite was a late call-up to the squad after several players were ruled out through injury and his performance was one of several bright spots in a mixed showing by Australia.

South Korea also fielded a youthful line-up featuring only three players with 10 or more caps. But they quickly took control of the game when Lee Dong-Gook netted. Lee Seung-Ki caught Thwaite out of position and produced a lovely cross, for Lee Dong-Gook to beat Mark Schwarzer with a neatly taken volley.


Rukavytsya then latched onto a superb Oar through ball and side-footed it into the net.

Australia finished stronger, securing a first win in South Korea in 40 years when Cornthwaite popped up to score from a goalmouth scrap.

Osieck took plenty of positives from the performance, hailing a host of contributors who played key roles for the first time.

"I think it was good to win on the road but when you look at the team, I'm very surprised how well the boys did,'' he told Fox Sports.

"And not only the ones who got their first cap today, even those who don't usually have much playing time.

"Everybody (did well) ... I'm very happy for those boys.

"I think we saw a lot of very positive elements that give us a lot of hope for the future.''

While warning that World Cup qualifiers were of "a different calibre'' to the friendly match, Osieck vowed to continue giving the young players a chance to develop in coming games.

"I think, all in all, I'm very pleased with what I saw tonight and we're going to build on it,'' he said.

Cornthwaite, who plays for South Korean side Chunnam Dragons, admitted his head was spinning after netting the winner just two days after being called into camp.

"To come in and get on the scoresheet and get a win, I think was a great performance by all the boys,'' the defender said."It was a short preparation so I think the lads did a fantastic job tonight."