January 08, 2019 10:33
Korea beat the Philippines 1-0 in a surprisingly tough encounter in their first match of the Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup in the UAE on Monday. Korea, ranked 53rd in the world, was made to work hard for the win over the 116th-ranked Philippines coached by Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Korea aims to win its first Asian Cup title in nearly six decades after it won the first two tournaments back in 1956 and 1960.
Korea missed star striker Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur, who will join the national team after the second group stage match under an agreement with the English side. Hwang Hee-chan, a forward for Hamburger SV, started in Son's position on the left wing.
Korea's head coach Paulo Bento hoped Hwang would break down the opponents' defense with his dribbling skills and physical style of play, but he struggled with his timing and gave the ball away several times. Lee Jae-sung was eventually switched to the left wing, but without success.
Lee Chung-yong finally created some chances for the team when he came on for Koo Ja-cheol in the 64th minute, changing the flow of the match with his aggressive and penetrating passing to the front. Two minutes after coming on he sent a long pass to Hwang Hee-chan, who fed the ball to Hwang Ui-jo, who finished the play off with a goal.
It was the first international goal of the year for Hwang Ui-jo, who scored nine goals at last year's Asian Games in Indonesia, leading Korea to the gold medal. He showed good movement throughout the game, constantly creating space and scoring chances. Hwang Hee-chan successfully played his part after moving to his original right wing position.
With the goal providing momentum, Korea continued to put on an aggressive display, but failed to score again.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com