KOREA MENS SOCCER ‘ONE STEP AWAY’ FROM THIRD STRAIGHT FINAL WITH WIN OVER UZBEKISTAN
The South Korean men’s national under-24 soccer team advanced to the final of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, putting them “one step away” from a third consecutive title .Hwang Sun-hong’s men defeated Uzbekistan 2-1 in the men’s football semifinals at the Hangzhou Asian Games on Thursday at the Huanglong Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou, China, thanks to a multi-goal performance from Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart).With the victory, Korea reached its third consecutive Asian Games men’s soccer final after winning the title in Incheon in 2014 and Jakarta-Palembang in 2018.Korea will face Japan for the gold medal in the final on Sunday night at 9 p.m. (KST) at the Kowloon Sports Center Stadium. South Korea and Japan will meet in the men’s soccer final for the second consecutive Asian Games following the Jakarta edition five years ago. Japan, who won the silver medal in Jakarta after a 1-2 double-overtime loss to South Korea, thrashed Hong Kong 4-0 in the semifinals earlier in the day. The Koreans were led by Cho Young-wook (Gimcheon) and supported by “Ace” Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain).Jung Woo-young, who has developed a taste for goals in this tournament, was flanked by the speedy Uh Won-sang (Ulsan).Lee Kang-in, Jung Woo-young, and Uhm Won-sang returned to the starting lineup after starting on the bench in the quarterfinals against China. In the middle, captain Baek Seung-ho (Jeonbuk) partnered with Hong Hyun-seok (Ghent), while the defense consisted of Seol Young-woo (Ulsan), Park Jin-seob (Jeonbuk), Lee Han-beom (Mittwilan), and Hwang Jae-won (Daegu).Hwang Sun-hongho took the lead with a taste of goal about five minutes into the match, when Hong Hyun-seok sent a ball from the midfield to Uhm Won-sang, who crossed from the right side of the penalty area, and Jung Woo-young calmly finished in front of the goal .It was Jung’s sixth goal of the Asian Games, making him the tournament’s leading scorer. The Koreans, who were slightly outclassed by the Uzbeks, conceded the equalizer in the 26th minute off a set piece. Baek Seung-ho tripped Ibrokimkalil Yuldoshev to give away a free kick in a dangerous position just behind the penalty arc, and Uzbekistan’s No. 1 target, Jasurbek Zalolidinov, stepped up to take the kick and slotted the ball home with his left foot to level the score .After conceding just their second goal of the tournament, South Korea wasted no time in regaining the lead .In the 38th minute, Baek Seung-ho headed in a long ball from the back that the Uzbek defense, which was battling with Lee Han-beom, failed to handle properly, and Jung Woo-young slotted it home from the left side of the goal area for his seventh goal of the tournament to swing the momentum back in Korea’s favor .Uzbekistan made a gamble to start the second half by taking off flanker Asadbek Rakhimzhonov and sending on striker Khusain Norchayev .In the 14th minute of the second half, after a rough and tumble battle, Korea removed Lee Kang-in and Jung Woo-young and introduced Song Min-kyu (Jeonbuk) and Jung Ho-yeon (Gwangju) in search of an additional goal. Unable to extend their lead in the 17th minute of the second half due to a rough back tackle by Ibrokhimkalil Yuldoshev, who fell down and felt discomfort in his leg and was eventually replaced by Ahn Jae-joon (Bucheon) in the 21st minute of the second half, Korea foreshadowed victory in the 28th minute when their opponent was sent off. Abdurauf Buriyev was sent off for accumulating cautions for a deep tackle on Cho Young-wook as he tried to set up a good shooting opportunity inside the penalty arc, giving South Korea a numerical advantage and allowing them to steadily hold off Uzbekistan as they made their final push. With Park Jae-yong (Jeonbuk) and Ko Young-joon (Pohang) taking the field as substitutes in the 41st minute, South Korea withstood a late Uzbek attack that forced 스포츠토토존 goalkeeper Vladimir Nazarov to climb out of his goal on a set piece to seal the match.