Uzbek boss rues defensive errors

Stunned Uzbekistan coach Vadim Abramov offered no excuses for his side's demoralising display after their dreams of reaching a first AFC Asian Cup final were emphatically crushed by Australia.

Harry Kewell put Holger Osieck's side in front with five minutes gone of the last-four encounter at Khalifa Stadium before further goals from Sasa Ognenovski, David Carney, Brett Emerton, Carl Valeri and Robbie Kruse put Uzbekistan - who had Ulugbek Bakaev sent off in the 67th minute - to the sword.

"I'm very sorry for the people who came to the stadium and also the supporters in Uzbekistan," said Abramov. "The way we played today, I cannot describe it. We were prepared but we played badly. This is a big problem. We made too many mistakes. Up until now, I believed that we could beat Australia and win the tournament. I don't know what happened."

I'm very sorry for the people who came to the stadium and also the supporters in Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan coach Abramov

"After the second goal, we wanted to attack but we made too many mistakes at the back. Even after the red card, we made too many mistakes. At 3-0 down, we tried to attack and this caused us many problems," he went on.

Australia will now contest their first continental final in just their second appearance when they face Japan on Saturday, and Osieck was thrilled with what proved to be his side's best performance of the tournament.

"We had a brilliant game today," said the German. "The players put on a great show and performance. I'm full of praise and credit for them. What they did today was fantastic. You can't expect a result like this. We definitely wanted to win the game and go to the final but you can never predict the score.

"The secret was the way we presented ourselves on the pitch. We were well structured, we had a great shape, we played high, we tried to create," he added. "Harry Kewell had a great game and he's had a great tournament so far but he's not the only one. All the other boys have done well and I'm very happy with the way our team has developed in the tournament."