36 years of revenge for Cho Kyu-sung and Cho Hyun-woo
The South Korean national team defeated Saudi Arabia on penalties in the round of 16 at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals. The Koreans won 4-2 on penalties after being tied 1-1 in regulation and extra time. Cho Kyu-sung scored a dramatic equalizer in late stoppage time (99th minute) and goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo made two saves in the penalty shootout to secure a hard-fought victory. It had been 36 years since Korea had beaten Saudi Arabia at the Asian Cup.
On the day, Klinsmann pulled out a surprise three-back (three central defenders) card. It was the first time Klinsmann had used a three-back in the tournament's group stage. The intention was to improve on the previous formation of two central defenders and a flanker after conceding six goals in three games.
However, South Korea continued their frustrating start to the match. They didn't win the Saudi ball well, and their organization was lacking. On counterattack opportunities, they could only manage one long pass to the front line, and even that was inaccurate. The first half ball possession was 51-49 (%) in favor of the Saudis.
In the 40th minute, we almost conceded a goal. A Saudi corner kick from the right flank was headed by Ali Rajami, but it hit the post. Al-Shehri, who was in front of the goal, tried to head the ball back in, but it hit the post again. It was a very high ball, and if it hadn't hit the post, 바카라사이트 it would have gone in. That wasn't the end of it, though, as the Saudi headed the ball back in, this time just wide of the right post. Three near misses in the space of a minute. It was a stroke of luck.
After a tough first half, South Korea conceded a goal just a minute into the second half. Kim Min-jae (28-Bayern Munich) went out to collect a pass from the far post, but the ball deflected and the space behind him was empty. Saudi Abdullah Radif dug straight in and slotted the ball into the right side of the net. A moment of bad luck led to a goal.
Klinsmann then abandoned the three-back tactic and went with two central defenders. He brought on Hwang Hee-chan (28-Wolverhampton) and Cho Kyu-sung (27-Mitwillan) to increase the number of attackers.
From then on, South Korea pushed the Saudis hard. Whenever there was a collision, the Saudis would fall down and try to stall for time to defend the score, but this was the turning point. They were given 10 minutes of extra time. In the ninth minute of stoppage time, Kim Tae-hwan sent a ball from the right side to Seol Young-woo, who floated a header from the left side of the goal for Cho Kyu-sung to finish with his head in front of the goal.
The South Korean players hugged each other in celebration of saving their slim quarterfinal chances, and Cho Kyu-sung roared in celebration as if he had washed away all the bad luck. South Korea continued to pound the Saudis in overtime. In the third minute of the first overtime, Hwang Hee-chan tried to catch a pass from Lee Kang-in, but as the Saudi goalkeeper came out to contest the ball, it slipped to Cho Kyu-sung on the sidelines. The goalkeeper was out of the way. With a slightly awkward shooting angle, Cho Kyu-sung passed to Hong Hyun-seok on the left, who also fumbled and passed it back to Son Heung-min, who took a hasty shot and missed a golden opportunity.
All time expired and it was time for the guillotine penalty shootout. Al Rayyan Stadium in Qatar was like a Saudi home stadium on this day. Every time Korea touched the ball, boos rained down. Saudi Arabia borders Qatar, and some parts of the country can be reached in a six-hour drive. The stadium was covered in green, the color of the Saudi flag. The Korean supporters, the Red Devils, numbered only about 30. Including schoolchildren, there were around 200 people. The penalty shootout was also played with one-sided Saudi support. Both teams put the ball in the goal until the second penalty shootout. South Korea's Son Heung-min and Kim Young-kwon took the first two shots and scored reliably.
South Korea's goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo finished the job. Saudi Arabia's third kicker, Sami Alnajei, took a left-footed shot that was saved by Cho Hyun-woo. Cho Kyu-sung, who scored the equalizer for South Korea, kicked it down the right side, and Cho also saved a left-footed shot from Saudi No. 4 Abdulraham Grahim. Finally, South Korea's Hwang Hee-chan put the finishing touches on the game with a shot from the top right corner.
It's been 36 years since South Korea beat Saudi Arabia at the Asian Cup. South Korea played the Saudis to a scoreless draw in extra time in the 1988 final in Qatar before losing 3-4 on penalties. In 2000, they met again for the first time in 12 years in the quarterfinals in Lebanon, losing 1-2. Then, in the group stage of the 2007 tournament in Indonesia, they were held to a 1-1 draw.
It was a dramatic victory, but there were some disappointments. The players were disorganized. The front line was pressing, but the midfielders couldn't keep up. The defense was still shaky. Even with the bold move to play three at the back, there were no offside traps. South Korea was caught offside six times, while Saudi Arabia was only caught twice.
South Korea will face Australia in the quarterfinals on March 3 at 0:30. South Korea met Australia in the 2015 Asian Cup final, losing 1-0. The Aussies are coming off a 4-0 win over Indonesia. After a hard-fought game that went to extra time, South Korea will face the Aussies on two days' rest.