Jordan stun South Korea to reach Asian Cup final for first time

AFP , Tuesday 6 Feb 2024

Jordan powered past Son Heung-min's South Korea 2-0 on Tuesday to reach their first Asian Cup final and a showdown with Iran or hosts and holders Qatar.

Jordan vs South Korea
Jordan's players celebrate after defeating South Korea at the end of the Qatar 2023 AFC Asian Cup semi-final football match between Jordan and South Korea at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha, on February 6, 2024. Photo: AFP


Playing in the semi-finals for the first time and ranked 64 places lower, Jordan were full value for their victory over Jurgen Klinsmann's shell-shocked side.

South Korea's talisman Son endured a frustrating night and his country's wait for a first Asian Cup since 1960 goes on.

Jordan had more of the chances and deservedly went ahead soon after the break, Yazan Al-Naimat scoring his third goal of the tournament after South Korea gave the ball away cheaply.

They had been in a losing position in four of their matches in Qatar, but there was no way back this time for the Koreans when Mousa Al-Tamari sliced his way through the South Korean defence 13 minutes later.

South Korea simply could not handle the pace and power of the attacking duo of Naimat and Tamari.

Son stood with his hands on his hips at the final whistle in disbelief.

Jordan fans were in the majority among the crowd of 43,000 at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, a 2022 World Cup venue, and jeered and whistled loudly whenever South Korea had the ball.

Jordan were the underdogs -- despite the teams drawing 2-2 in the group phase -- but they shaded an entertaining first half in which they racked up 12 attempts at goal to South Korea's four.

On 17 minutes South Korean goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo was forced into a decent save from Noor Al-Rawabdeh after good work from Montpellier's Tamari.

Jo kept out a fierce drive from Naimat after the South Korean defence opened up, before Tamari blazed over the bar.

On the half-hour referee Mohammed Abdulla Hassan from the UAE awarded Klinsmann's side a penalty after a collision in the Jordan box between Seol Young-woo and Yazan Al-Arab, but changed his mind after consulting the pitchside monitor.

Lee Jae-sung pinged a header onto the post -- South Korea's first proper chance -- then Naimat slalomed his way through three weak Korean challenges before drawing a close-range stop from Jo.

Hwang In-beom skied a golden chance way over the bar with just the goalkeeper to beat on the stroke of half time.

Skipper and Tottenham ace Son, who scored the extra-time winner over Australia in the quarter-finals, had yet to stamp his authority on the semi-final and his side were behind on 53 minutes.

Park Yong-woo gave the ball away, Tamari ran towards goal and slipped in Naimat, who popped a cool finish over the advancing Jo.

South Korea could not cope with the rampaging duo and on 66 minutes Tamari drove to the edge of the box before unloading past an exposed Jo.

Iran and Qatar play on Wednesday for the other spot in Saturday's final.

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