DUBAI: After missing a number of chances that hit the goal post, South Korea has made it to the last 16 of the AFC Asian Cup tournament beating Kygyzstan 1-0 in UAE.
S Korea coach Paulo Bento, who wanted an innovative and attacking approach for his team after they struggled to beat Philippines 1-0 in the previous match, failed to make a big figure on Friday night.
Arguably the worst miss was by Lee Chung-yong, who blazed over from close range, though Kim Min-jae let him off the hook just before the interval by breaking the deadlock.
South Korea should have added to the score, as they struck the crossbar three times in the second period, but luckily for them Kyrgyzstan failed to create chances to punish their wastefulness.
Despite having little difficulty controlling proceedings, Korea did not create a clear-cut chance before the 37th minute, and that was inexplicably wasted as Lee blasted over from just six yards.
They did finally make their superiority count a few moments later, though, when Kim headed Hong Chul’s right-side corner in at the near post.
Kyrgyzstan did not look out of the contest, though they were fortunate to remain just a goal behind in the 69th minute, when Hwang Ui-jo headed a left-wing delivery against the crossbar.
The frame of the goal saved them from Hwang again soon after – his ferocious drive from a tight angle after expertly bringing a cross down coming back off the bar via the face of goalkeeper Kutman Kadyrbekov.
CHINA HAVE A FIELD DAY
China made it to the knockout round of the Asian Cup on Friday, while defending champion Australia stayed alive by rebounding from a stunning opening defeat. China opened with a hard-fought win against Kyrgyzstan in Group C but found no difficulties getting past the Philippines 3-0. Australia put its 1-0 opening loss to Jordan in the past by routing Palestine 3-0 in Group B.
China star forward Wu Lei scored two superb goals, a curling right-footed shot into the top corner in the first half and a volley in the second against a Philippines squad making its Asian Cup debut. Yu Dabao added the third with a header a few seconds after entering the match late.
China has six points, three more than South Korea, which faced Kyrgyzstan later Friday. Kyrgyzstan and the Philippines have no points. The top two teams in each group and the four best third-place teams advance to the round of 16.