Korea Republic storms into quarterfinals

Dubai: Korea Republic needed extra time to seal their place in the quarterfinals of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, defeating Bahrain 2-1 in their Round of 16 tie at the Rashid Stadium on Tuesday.
Substitute Kim Jin-su was the Korea Republic hero with his headed winner at the tail end of the first period of extra-time and the two-time champions will now face either Qatar or Iraq, who play later on Tuesday, in the last eight at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium on Friday.
Bahrain can walk tall despite the defeat as they took the match to the Koreans and in scoring, became the first team in the tournament to breach the East Asians defence.
The Taeguk Warriors, powered by Son Heung-min, seized control of possession when the match got underway but were unable to crack open the compact Bahraini defence.
Miroslav Soukup’s charges also showed their intent with Mohamed Jasim Marhoon forcing Korean goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu into a dive but his effort flew wide in the fourth minute, before Komail Hasan al aswad tested the custodian a minute later.
Korea Republic, however, continued to dominate but their first glimpse at goal only came in the 34th minute when an exchange of passes saw Hwang Hee-chan with possession in the box but the Bahrain defenders reacted before he could unleash a strike.
The 22-year-old Hamburger SV was not to be denied though as two minutes from the half-time whistle, he put Korea Republic ahead from close range.
The move began with Son laying a pass to Lee Yong on the right flank, who then sent the ball into the box which was blocked by ‘keeper Sayed Shubbar Alawi, only for it to land at Hee-chan’s feet who then had the simplest of tasks of passing it into the net.
Korea Republic pressed from the start of the second half in search of a second goal to put the game to bed, forcing Alawi into action with back-to-back saves to deny Ui-jo and In-beom’s shots on target.
Bahrain, however, did not sit back and troubled the Korean defence with their counter-attacks.
Bahrain had a golden opportunity to level the tie in the 70th minute when the Korean defenders failed to cleanly clear a corner kick, allowing Jamal Rashed Abdulrahman to fire a shot which seemed headed into the top right corner, only for Seung-gyu to spectacularly palm it out.
The West Asians did not go unrewarded for their aggression as the Korean defence was breached for the first time in the tournament when Mohamed Saad al romaihi slammed the ball into the net after Hong Chul had made a last ditch clearance of Mahdi Faisal al humaidan’s attempt.
Ui-jo had a great chance to win the tie for Korea Republic when he intercepted a poor back pass in added time but his attempt to curl the ball past an onrushing Alawi went wide, which meant extra-time.
Korea immediately took control when the match restarted with attempts by Ju Se-jong, Lee Seung-woo and Kim Young-gwon.
Bahrain defended admirably but were caught off guard when Lee Yong sent in a brilliant cross from the right which Jin-su met with a thumping header to seal his team’s place in the quarterfinals.