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SYDNEY, Jan 31:Key battles expected in the Asian Cup final between Australia and South Korea in Sydney todayTim Cahill v Ki Sung-yuengCahill, Australia’s record goal-scorer, has proved a talismanic presence for the Socceroos down the years and he has been on fire at the Asian Cup, the former Everton forward netting three times in five games — including possibly the goal of the tournament with his spectacular bicycle kick against China. South Korea captain Ki has been a rock for a Korean side ravaged by injury, calmly mopping up in front of his defence, and the Swansea City midfielder will be needed to disrupt Australia’s supply line to Cahill and help check his dangerous runs into the box. Expect a stare-down or two between the feisty rivals.Mile Jedinak v Son Heung-MinJedinak gave the host nation a huge scare when he rolled his ankle in Australia’s opening game, but the inspirational Socceroos skipper recovered to help his side reach their second successive final. The Crystal Palace midfielder will have his hands full trying to contain South Korean superstar Son, whose speed could unsettle Australia’s centre-backs. The Bayer Leverkusen wizard has been in mesmerising form with his ability to dribble at pace past players, and score goals — as his extra-time double against Uzbekistan in the quarter-finals proved. Like Cahill, a potential match-winner and Jedinak will be paying close attention.Massimo Luongo v Kim Jin-SuAustralia’s Luongo has shot to fame at the Asian Cup with a string of electrifying performances, effortlessly making the transition from playing for third-tier English side Swindon Town to the high pressure of representing the host nation in the continent’s biggest tournament. South Korea left-back Kim Jin-Su will need to curb his attacking instincts to deal with Australia’s sharp midfielder, who leads the tournament in assists with four and is one of 10 Socceroos to find the net so far. Much could hinge on how well Kim handles Australia’s dazzling new star.Mathew Ryan v Kim Jin-HyeonThe goalkeepers have both been superb during the Asian Cup, Ryan being linked with a move to Liverpool after pulling off some wonder saves shown repeatedly on Australian news highlights. Arguably, Kim has impressed even more having forced his way into Korean line-up and keeping a clean sheet in all five games to repay coach Uli Stielike’s faith in him. Ryan has big shoes to fill after Mark Schwarzer’s retirement but exudes extraordinary confidence for a 22-year-old. With Australia expected to take the game to South Korea, Kim could be the busier of the two, but Ryan will need to be on his toes with the likes of Son on the prowl. Heroes or villains in the making.Ange Postecoglou v Uli StielikeThe two coaches came into the Asian Cup under intense pressure, particularly Aussie boss Postecoglou, who faced calls for his resignation after the team won just once in 11 matches last year. But he stuck to his guns, overseeing a team in transition as Australia’s “golden generation” rode into the sunset, and he has been thoroughly vindicated. Stielike has rebuilt a South Korea side ridiculed after their World Cup flop last year and moulded a steely unit proving extremely difficult to break down. While not as explosive as the Korean side which reached the 2002 World Cup semi-finals, Stielike’s team have yet to concede at this Asian Cup — and are deadly on the counter-attack. History awaits one of the two men.

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