South Korea salvage Asian Cup draw as Bahrain leave it late

AFP , Saturday 20 Jan 2024

South Korea avoided a major Asian Cup upset with a last-gasp 2-2 draw against Jordan on Saturday as Bahrain also left it late to blow open Group E.

South Korea vs Jordan
Jordan's Yazan Alarab, center, reacts after scoring an own goal as Jordan's goalkeeper Yazeed Abulaila lies on the ground during the Asian Cup Group E football match between Jordan and South Korea at Al Thumama in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024. Photo: AP


One day after Iraq beat tournament favourites Japan, the Koreans needed an injury-time own goal to salvage a point after Jordan had roared back from an early Son Heung-min penalty.

In the later match in Qatar, Bahrain scored in the 95th minute to beat Malaysia 1-0.

"We expected a difficult game and we got a difficult game," said South Korean coach Jurgen Klinsmann, whose side need a draw in their last group game on Thursday against bottom side Malaysia to guarantee they reach the last 16.

"After the leading goal we took the tempo out of the game, which was not very good, and we lost a lot of one-on-one battles," said Klinsmann, a World Cup winner with Germany as a player.

"Those are the games that you learn a lot from."

South Korea are trying to win the Asian Cup for the first time in 64 years and Son fired them in front from the spot in the ninth minute.

But a Park Yong-woo own goal and a Yazan Al-Naimat strike put Jordan ahead at half-time.

South Korea did not look like scoring for much of the second half but grabbed an equaliser when Yazan Al-Arab deflected Hwang In-beom's shot into his own net in the first minute of injury time.

"It's important to see that when things don't work out how the players react," said Klinsmann.

"That was what I was really pleased with."

Skipper Son dismissed the idea that the pressure of trying to win the title after so long had got to him and his team-mates.

"There's always pressure when you play for Spurs or the national team because everybody's watching you," the Tottenham attacker told beIN Sports.

"I always deal well with the pressure, I love the pressure."

Goalkeeper tribute

Jordan, who beat Malaysia 4-0 and face Bahrain on Thursday, are still also in a strong position to reach the knockouts.

But coach Hussein Ammouta was disappointed not to claim a famous win.

"It's normal to make mistakes at the start and end of the match because you're talking about an excellent attacking team," he said.

"What was important was that we played on a par with them. We spared no effort to try and preserve the result."

Klinsmann was forced into one change from their 3-1 victory over Bahrain, bringing in goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo for Kim Seung-gyu.

Kim suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a training session and has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament.

Son tucked away his penalty after a VAR check ruled he had been fouled in the area and celebrated by holding up a goalkeeper's shirt with Kim's name on it.

Jordan began to threaten and equalised in the 37th minute when Park bundled the ball into his own net under pressure from Arab at the back post.

Naimat then lashed Jordan into a shock lead in the sixth minute of first-half injury time, drilling a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Bahrain are third in the group after beating Malaysia for their first points of the tournament, Ali Madan thumping the winner deep in stoppage time to stay alive in the competition.

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