Hibs manager Neil Lennon can expect to have his Socceroos back in Edinburgh soon.
Mark Milligan and Jamie Maclaren both played in Australia’s 1-0 defeat by hosts the UAE at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain today.
Australia are the holders of the Cup but relinquished their grip on the silverware as Ali Ahmed Mabkhout scored in the 68th minute. The UAE now play Japan in the last four while Qatar face Iran in the other semi-final. Qatar reached the Asian Cup semi-finals for the first time after knocking out two-time champions South Korea 1-0.
The defeat means both Milligan and Maclaren should be available for Hibs’ next home league game against Aberdeen on Saturday, February 2.
The Aussies largely dominated against the UAE but were punished heavily for a mistake by Milos Degenek. The defender’s wayward back pass was pounced on by forward Ali Mabkhout who dribbled past goalkeeper Mat Ryan to score an easy goal, sending the majority of the 25,053 in the stadium wild.
The Socceroos, who had 22 attempts on goal to UAE’s seven, missed the influence of Celtic’s Tom Rogic who was suspended. Maclaren played off the front two and Milligan in midfield and the holders should have been ahead in the fourth minute when an unmarked Trent Sainsbury was picked out with a corner kick, but the defender headed over the crossbar when it looked easier to score.