Rogic set for knee operation

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that Australia international Tom Rogic needs knee surgery and will be sidelined until mid-March.

The 26-year-old former Central Coast Mariners midfielder will be out of action for up to six weeks.

Rogic has been representing the Socceroos at the Asian Cup, which was surprisingly won by Qatar, with Graham Arnold's side being knocked out in the quarter-finals by United Arab Emirates.

"Tom is actually going to be out for six weeks which is a real blow for us," Rodgers said ahead of Sunday's trip to St Johnstone.

"He came back from the Asian Cup and had an issue with his hand out there and injured his knee when he landed awkwardly.

"He went down to London with a member of our medical team to check that his hand didn't need an operation and, while he was there, we thought we would have his knee looked at and it showed up a lateral meniscus problem, which is going to put him out for up to six weeks.

"It is not what we expected but that's the way football works. It is unfortunate. He won't need the operation on his hand but needs it on his knee."

Celtic are 1/8 to win the Scottish Premiership again this season and 3/10 to beat St Johnstone in Perth on Sunday.

Degenek: I ended our dreams

Defender Milos Degenek held his hands up after an error that cost Australia defeat to UAE in the Asian Cup quarter-finals.

It was the Red Star Belgrade player's back pass that resulted in the only goal of the game in Al Ain, with the hosts scoring through Ali Mabkhout in the second half.

It meant the Socceroos defence of the trophy is over, with UAE going through to meet Qatar in the semi-finals.

Degenek said: "Obviously we didn't go through tonight because of my mistake. I let the team down, let the boys down, let our country down.

"I feel bad for the boys because I ended our dreams. I made the mistake that shattered all our dreams, and not just ours but our country's but we didn't deserve it tonight I think."

The 24-year-old was in tears in the dressing room after the game, according to coach Graham Arnold.

But he didn't shy away from the cameras, as he owned up to the calamitous back pass which was intercepted by Mabkhout for his fourth goal of the tournament.

"I don't feel bad for myself as much as I do for the boys because the boys did not deserve to end the tournament that way tonight," said Degenek.

"I can live with myself and this mistake it's something I'll have to deal with but can't blame anyone else obviously."

The Socceroos exited the tournament at the same stage that Graham Arnold's men were infamously dumped from the Asian Cup in 2007.

Hull City's Jackson Irvine said he'd told Degenek after the game to get on his feet and keep his head up.

Irvine added: "He's been one of our most promising players, he's got a huge career ahead of him and, while I haven't seen the incident, I think he's too honest for his own good."

Iran are now 13/10 to win the Asian Cup, with their last-four opponents Japan priced at 12/5 and tournament hosts the UAE 6/1.

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Australia knocked out of Asian Cup

Australia's defence of the Asian Cup came to an end when they lost 1-0 to UAE in Al Ain, with a gift of a goal.

Ali Mabkhout scored the only goal of the quarter-final at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium midway through the second half, seizing on a poor backpass from Milos Degenek.

He was able to skip around keeper Mat Ryan and fire into an empty net to send the hosts through to a semi-final clash with Qatar.

Degenek gave Ryan, who had been the hero of the Round of 16 victory against Uzbekistan with a pair of penalty saves, no chance to prevent the winning goal.

It was Mabkhout's fourth goal of the tournament, putting him joint-second on the scoring table.

Australia had more shots and more possession than the hosts but weren't able to capitalise.

Trent Sainsbury flashed an early header over the bar before Ryan was called into action, palming away Ismail Al Hamadi's effort following a rapid breakaway.

The Socceroos almost broke the deadlock when Jamie Maclaren had a goal-bound header cleared off the line by defender Fares Juma, with Apostolos Giannou then seeing a shot from from distance tipped away by keeper Khalid Eisa.

Mabkhout headed over from close range just before the break, after being left unmarked by the Socceroos defence.

Graham Arnold's side continued to threaten in the second half, with Hull City's Jackson Irvine heading narrowly wide before Apostolos Giannou had an effort ruled out for offside.

After Mabkhout netted for the hosts Australia had chances to get back on terms but Mathew Leckie headed over from a corner and Awer Mabil fired wide from the final chance of the game.

UAE are 6/1 to win the Asian Cup, with Iran 13/10 ahead of a quarter-final with Japan – currently 12/5 to lift the trophy.

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Giannou in frame for Socceroos start

Striker Apostolos Giannou is set for his first start at the Asian Cup when Australia take on hosts the United Arab Emirates.

The Socceroos are without Tom Rogic through suspension for the quarter-final.

Coach Graham Arnold has flagged a possible tactical change since the penalty shootout victory against Uzbekistan in the Round of 16.

Giannou believes if he plays with two strikers it could bring the best out of himself and the team.

"I prefer to be the second striker in a game rather than the one who sits up there and waits but either way I'm happy … if I'm playing, I'm happy," he said. "It helps (with) attacking, as well – the more numbers you have up front, it's not that easy for the others to predict what you're going to do."

The Socceroos have used a 4-3-3- formation so far in the tournament but have struggled to dictate terms.

"It could surprise the other teams – maybe they think we'll play a certain way and we'll play a different way," said Giannou.

"That's up to the coaching team and coaches to find the way; we're just there to execute what they tell us."

Having only come into the squad as an injury replacement player when Martin Boyle was ruled out, Giannou has been a solid contributor off the bench in all four matches so far.

The 28-year-old was on target in the win over Palestine in the group stages and netted Australia's third penalty as they saw off Uzbekistan to make it to the last eight.

He's now in the frame to partner Jamie Maclaren in the front line, while the other options include a fit-again Mathew Leckie, who made a successful return from a hamstring injury in the Round of 16.

Australia are 19/20 to win their next game against the United Arab Emirates, who are 7/2 with the draw 21/10.

The Socceroos are 5/2 to reach the final.

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Leckie delighted with impact on return

Mathew Leckie praised Australia's medical staff for getting him fit for the knockout stages of the Asian Cup, after scoring the winning penalty that earned victory against Uzbekistan.

The winger missed the Socceroos' three Group B matches with a hamstring injury, but coach Graham Arnold had remained confident he would be able to feature during the tournament.

He was named on the bench for the Round of 16 clash in Al Ain and was introduced on the hour mark.

Leckie was able to get through not just to the end of normal time but also extra time, and then delivered the goods when he had a chance to score a penalty.

After Mat Ryan had made two saves during the shootout, Leckie's spot-kick took the Socceroos through with a 4-2 scoreline to set up a quarter-final clash with hosts the United Arab Emirates.

The 27-year-old, who had torn his hamstring while playing for German club Hertha Berlin before the tournament, said after the game: "(It means) everything. For me to just be playing today, it's super-special.

"We've worked super-hard, me and Phil Coles and the rest of the physio staff. They've done everything they can to get me back and today was also a question mark, maybe for the quarter-finals if we made it.

"But 24/7 we've been working hard to get me right and I felt good today. So obviously I played the last 30 and then extra time … the tank was a bit empty but it's always difficult going into games."

The winger said his penalty had been the best he'd ever taken, including in training.

Australia are 7/1 to win the Asian Cup.

The Socceroos are 5/2 to reach the final.

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Penalty saves the ‘pinnacle’ for Ryan

Mat Ryan was able to emulate his hero Mark Schwarzer by making sure Australia could reach the last eight of the Asian Cup.

The Brighton and Hove Albion keeper stopped two penalties in their 4-2 shootout victory in the round of 16 over Uzbekistan.

The Socceroos, who will now face hosts United Arab Emirates in the quarter-finals, were held to a goalless draw by Uzbekistan in Al Ain and extra time couldn't split the teams.

So it went to penalties, and ultimately Ryan's saves and Mathew Leckie's decisive spot-kick kept Australia's defence of the trophy alive.

It brought back memories of Schwarzer's epic 2005 showing against Uruguay which ensured the Socceroos would end a 32-year wait for a World Cup finals appearance.

Ryan said he had been in the crowd in that match in Sydney, adding: "Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would be out here representing Australia, having been a young fan that night.

"Recently I got 50 caps to my name and for that tonight now…I hadn't saved a penalty for the national team, it was something that was bugging me. To get two in that moment just there, I'm really happy and for a goalkeeper that's the pinnacle."

Ryan parried Islom Tukhtakhujaev's strike down the middle and then picked the right way to foil Marat Bikmaev.

His saves tipped the balance back into Australia's favour after Uzbek keeper Ignatiy Nesterov had kept out Aziz Behich's spot-kick.

Ryan admitted he'd done his homework on the opposition to prepare for what he might face if the match went to penalties.

"In this day and age you're always trying to have a look before the game to see if you can gain some kind of advantage," said the keeper.

"You have to have a bit of luck at the end of the day with the side you choose to go or whether you stay in the middle – thankfully twice tonight [the decisions] paid off."

Australia are 7/1 to win the Asian Cup final. The Socceroos are 3/1 to reach the final.

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Socceroos through after shootout

Australia went through in unconvincing fashion to the Asian Cup quarter-finals, with a penalty shootout win against Uzbekistan.

The Socceroos won 4-2 on penalties in Al Ain after the previous 120 minutes had failed to produce a goal.

There was a shortage of attacking intent shown by both sides, which will leave Australia concerned ahead of their quarter-final clash with the United Arab Emirates.

Graham Arnold's team will need to improve against tournament the hosts, who edged past Kyrgyzstan 3-2 thanks to a penalty in extra time.

And they'll be without Tom Rogic at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, after he picked up a second yellow card during the tournament.

Arnold will have Hull City's Jackson Irvine in his mind for an attacking midfield role in the quarter-final, and could consider further changes to his starting side.

Chris Ikonomidis failed to fire up front for the Socceroos, with several poor touches in the final third, and a number of players were below their best.

The star of the victory was keeper Mat Ryan, who produced a pair of wonderful penalty shootout saves, first down the middle and then to his right.

Mathew Leckie then held his nerve to bury his penalty and send Australia through to the last eight.

Speaking of Ryan, Arnold said: "That is why he is in the Premier League…the two saves in the shootout showed what a top goalkeeper he is. He does a lot of homework, when he goes into a game he ticks all the boxes."

Ryan rescued Australia in the 10th minute when he denied Eldor Shomurodov from a one-on-one opportunity, and that proved to be just about the best chance of the match.

Leckie, sent on for Awer Mabil, teed up Rogic for a strike midway through the second half.

Regulation time produced few decent chances, though the Uzbeks were fortunate not to have to go through extra time with only ten men after Davronbek Khashimov avoided being shown a second yellow late in the game after fouling Ikonomidis.

The Socceroos pushed forward in extra time but were ultimately unable to fashion anything more than half-chances.

Uzbekistan ran out the game strongly with a flurry of late substitutions, but they too could not create anything meaningful going forward.

The Socceroos are 3/1 to reach the final, while Australia are 7/1 to win the Asian Cup outright.

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Leckie ‘touch and go’

Winger Mathew Leckie may not be ready for Australia's round of 16 clash with Uzbekistan at the Asian Cup.

Assistant coach Rene Meulensteen said the 27-year-old, who has yet to feature in the Socceroos' defence of the trophy, hadn't yet proved his fitness.

Leckie was retained in the squad despite tearing his hamstring while playing for German club Hertha Berlin before the tournament.

Coach Graham Arnold believed he would return to fitness at some point after the group stages, but Meulensteen believes the Uzbekistan game could come too soon for him.

"He's touch and go, I'm not sure whether he's fine for this game because we want to eliminate every risk," he said.

"He feels he's confident stepping over that line and going … we want them to stay there for all the rest of the games, not just one. The worst thing you can do is think 'yep, great, off he goes' and boom, all the work is for nothing."

The Socceroos qualified for the knockout phase after beating Syria 3-2 in their final Group B game.

Meulensteen says the team have come back strongly from their surprise opening loss to Jordan and feels the players have grasped Arnold's attacking football philosophy.

"If you look to since Arnie and the rest of the staff have taken over, the amount of chances we've created, the goals we've scored, we are on the right track," he added.

Having played three times in 11 days, Australia's players were given a day's break before turning their attention to the game against Uzbekistan in Al Ain.

Uzbekistan qualified as runners-up in Group F, beating Oman and Turkmenistan before going down 2-1 to Japan in their final game.

Australia are 4/6 to win their next match against Uzbekistan, who are 4/1 with the draw 14/5. The Socceroos are 12/5 to win by a one-goal margin.

Mabil says thanks to coach Arnold

Australia forward Awer Mabil dedicated his vital goal against Syria to coach Graham Arnold, after the 3-2 win that put the Socceroos into Asian Cup round of 16.

The FC Midtjylland striker fired in a superb curling effort from outside the box to give Arnold's side the lead in Al Ain.

It was his fourth in his first seven internationals, and he says he feels thrilled to be a part of an exciting squad under Arnold.

Speaking of his goal, Mabil said: "It was really nice, it means a lot. [Arnold] has given me a chance to help my country and it's a chance I'll always be thankful for."

The 23-year-old said he had dedicated his first Socceroos goal, in the friendly win over Kuwait in October, to the coach and was happy to be able to do so again on the big stage.

He raced over to the bench to celebrate with Arnold and the coaching staff after netting late in the first half.

"Today it was good to get an official goal and dedicate it to him to say thank you for the opportunity," he added. "There's always a pride to represent my country, and also be part of this group.

"The philosophy suits everybody and brings out the best in everybody. You can see in the last two games that we're carrying a good momentum; we still have a lot to give."

Mabil hadn't represented the Socceroos until Arnold took over as coach following last year's World Cup.

The former Adelaide United player got on the scoresheet on his debut against Kuwait after coming on as a substitute in the 4-0 victory, and now has three goals in the last four games.

Meanwhile, Adelaide United are 14/1 to win the A-League Grand Final.

The Reds are 13/10 to win their next game against Western Sydney, who are 19/10 with the draw 5/2.

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Rogic rocket earns win

A quality stoppage-time strike by Tom Rogic took Australia through to the knockout stages of the Asian Cup as they beat Syria 3-2.

The Socceroos were twice pegged back in Al Ain after Awer Mabil and Chris Ikonomidis scored.

A draw would have been enough to see Graham Arnold's side through but they secured their second straight victory when Rogic fired in from outside the area in the 93rd minute.

The holders will now face Uzbekistan or Japan in the round of 16 on Monday.

Australia, who had needed extra time to see off Syria in their two-legged clash in qualification for World Cup 2018, were given an early scare when Omar Khrbin dragged a low effort past the far post in the 13th minute.

Jamie Maclaren headed wide for Australia from Rhyan Grant's cross and was denied by keeper Ibrahim Alma's double save before the Socceroos went ahead on 41 minutes. Mabil struck a powerful curling effort with his left foot that gave Alma no chance, notching his fourth international goal.

The lead only lasted two minutes though with Khrbin poking home at the second attempt after Mat Ryan had parried his initial close-range header.

Ikonomidis squeezed the ball over the line nine minutes into the second half to convert Rogic's pass and make it 2-1.

Arnold's side were denied a two-goal cushion when Apostolos Giannou, having replaced Maclaren, took Mabil's pass and fired a fine low shot into the base of the post.

And 10 minutes from time Syria were level when they were awarded a penalty which Omar Al Soma converted.

Rogic's tremendous strike earned the three points for the Socceroos, taking them through in second spot.

Australia are 9/1 to win the Asian Cup. Meanwhile, Japan are 8/13 to win Group F and Uzbekistan 13/10.