Football fans have flooded social media after Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan pulled off one of the saves of the season against Korea.
The Aussies snatched a dramatic late draw with the Koreans at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, with Ryan’s save the undisputed highlight of the match.
Ryan has been one of the Premier League’s form players this season – his heroics in Brighton’s goal a big reason why the Seagulls recently kept three consecutive clean sheets.
The goalkeeper is also on a high after being named the Premier League’s Player of the Month for October.
Perhaps the Socceroos shot-stopper’s finest moment of the season came midway through the second half in Brisbane as Korea looked to put the game to bed, having taken an early lead.
The 26-year-old flung himself high and to the right at a free kick that had “top corner” written all over it.
Ryan’s unbelievable save had fans singing his praises on social media.
Mat Ryan has just saved a “goal from the moment he hits it” shot. That was a beaut. #AUSvKOR
— Dimitri Kondonis (@dkondonis) November 17, 2018
Mat Ryan is next level, clearly Australia’s best player #AUSvKOR
— Andy (@Andy__Munro) November 17, 2018
— Andrew McVittie (@Andrew_McVittie) November 17, 2018
Mat Ryan is superman what a save
— Andrew Gerges (@AndrewGerges7) November 17, 2018
The match looked like it was ending in defeat for the Aussies, who piled bodies forward in the dying stages of the contest.
However, in the last minute of stoppage time, Massimo Luongo scored the goal that Australia’s large periods of dominance perhaps warranted.
Tom Rogic’s long-range effort was spilled by Korea’s keeper, with Luongo on hand to smash the rebound into the back of the net.
Aussies leave it late again to break Korean hearts
Just as they did in the 2015 Asian Cup final, Australia broke South Korean hearts with a late goal.
Luongo’s equaliser in the dying seconds sealed a dramatic 1-1 draw with the Taeguk Warriors.
A spilt shot by South Korean goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu deep into stoppage time was pounced on by the Socceroos’ midfielder, who poked the ball home from close range.
A VAR review upheld the goal, despite Korean protests about possible offside or a foul on Kim, and Australia escaped with a share of the spoils.
In truth, the goal was the least Australia deserved from a match they had dominated from the early stages.
A bright start by Graham Arnold’s men brought chances to Rogic, Josh Risdon and Aaron Mooy before the game changed in an instant.
Striker Hwang Ui-Jo latched onto a long ball that split Australia’s defence, outpacing Trent Sainsbury before coolly finishing past Ryan.
That was Korea’s only chance in the first half, as Australia huffed and puffed in front of goal but failed to convert their opportunities.
Of the past 94 goals scored by the Socceroos – 38 of them have come from retired pair Tim Cahill or Mile Jedinak.
Cahill did a lap of honour at halftime ahead of his Socceroos send-off against Lebanon on Tuesday in Sydney, and how the fans would have been hoping the country’s record goal-scorer was still on the pitch when the match resumed.
Arnold turned to Australia’s new generation in the second half, throwing on Scottish-born winger Martin Boyle for a debut and giving a second national team appearance to Awer Mabil.
Both Boyle and Mabil added pace and verve as Australia pressed for an equaliser.
Ryan’s acrobatic save to paw away Ju Se-jong’s free-kick in the 71st minute kept Australia in the contest before the hosts laid siege on the Korean goal.
Their efforts appeared to have been in vain before Luongo pounced with what was virtually the last kick of the game.
Australia take on Lebanon in their final friendly before January’s Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates, while Korea stay in Brisbane for a friendly on Tuesday against Uzbekistan.