January 23, 2019 09:47
Korea beat Bahrain to advance to the quarterfinals at the Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup in the UAE on Tuesday.
Kim Jin-su's header in extra time sealed a 2-1 victory in the round of 16 match, earning Korea its seventh straight quarterfinals appearance since 1996. The team is now three matches away from its first Asian Cup title in 59 years.
But the victory did not come easily, despite head coach Paulo Bento using his best starting lineup without rotation against Bahrain, which is 60 spots below Korea at 113rd in the FIFA world rankings, to dominate the game from the onset.
Korea took the lead in the 43rd minute after Son Heung-min sent a diagonal pass to Lee Yong. Lee's shot was blocked by the goalkeeper, but Hwang Hee-chan collected the ball and scored the opening goal.
Korea failed to create further goal chances, however, as Bahrain pushed its defensive line and stepped out aggressively, equalizing in the 77th minute.
It went on the offensive but failed to score again in regular time. In the fifth minute of extra time, Bento substituted Kim for Hong Chul, and Kim sent Korea to the quarterfinals.
But the victory left a bitter aftertaste for Korea, whose weakness in defense was exposed and whose players were forced to use up energy in extra time.
Korea faces Qatar in the quarterfinals in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Qatar beat Iraq 1-0 in their round of 16 match.
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