Cho Kyu-sung scored a miraculous equalizer and Cho Hyun-woo’s brilliant defense in the shootout will remain for quite a long time. However, our players don’t have much time to get drunk on this mood. We had time to prepare for the sixth round of the round of 16 games, but the quarterfinal game was just the second one two days later.
Opposition Australia took more than four hours off, less than two days short of Korean players. To make matters worse, 10 of our key players have to remain cautious in their game against Australia due to yellow card issues. Several players grimaced complaining of muscle fatigue, including Seol Young-woo, who is playing an extended match against Saudi Arabia in the round of 16.
South Korea’s men’s national soccer team, led by head coach Jürgen Klinsmann (Germany), will meet Australia at 0:30 a.m. on the 3rd next month after beating Saudi Arabia, No. 1 in Group F, 4-2 after a penalty shootout at the Education City Stadium in Alayan, Qatar, at 1 a.m. on the 31st (Wednesday).
8:31 of the second half’s extra time, Cho Kyu-sung’s equalizer in the theater
A huge crowd of 42,389 came to cheer for the sixth game of the round of 16. Most of them, however, were wearing green cheering suits to support Saudi Arabia, so our players struggled as if they were playing a tricky away game.
On the pitch, Saudi Arabian field players who came out with a 3-5-2 formation played tight pressure defense and bothered our players to continue their favorite pass plays more than three times.
He gave up one goal shortly after the start of the second half, so he couldn’t hide his impatience until he reached the extra time of the second half. Saudi Arabia’s first goal was unlucky for us. The ball touched by captain Salem Al-Dosari rolled forward and made an unintended assist pass. Abdullah Radif’s diagonal left foot goal, which caught the ball, was inevitable for our defense.꽁머니사이트
In response, the Korean bench presented replacement cards including Hwang Hee-chan (54 minutes) and Cho Kyu-sung (64 minutes). It is no exaggeration to say that Hwang In-beom’s right-footed inside shot was the closest to the goal when Hwang Hee-chan’s cut-back cross, which penetrated the left end line in the 86th minute. However, Saudi Arabian goalkeeper Al-Qasar blocked the ball with his feet just above the goal line with amazing reflexes.
Nearly three minutes after the additional 10 minutes of the second half were marked, replacement Cho Kyu-sung’s header of Lee Kang-in’s cross in front of the left end line was unfortunate to hit the crossbar. Still, our players, who did not give up, scored an incredible miracle equalizer at 8:31 of the extra time. Left wingback Seol Young-woo handed over a long cross that was curled up with his left foot to the header, and Cho Kyu-sung accurately scored with his forehead without missing a chance that was like an empty goal. It was a moment when we could find the reward of deploying an offensive wingback, not a defensive wingback.
In the ensuing extra time, our players created several opportunities for a come-from-behind goal, but they had no choice but to put their tongues to the super save of Saudi Arabian goalkeeper Al Qasar. It was such a waste of moments that Kim Min-jae’s dolphin header shot, which received Lee Kang-in’s right corner kick in the 98th minute, and Lee Kang-in’s left foot shot, which received Hwang Hee-chan’s cut back cross in the 115th minute.
In the penalty shootout, which was inevitably approaching, Cho Hyun-woo, the last bastion, became the second hero, boasting his brilliant ability to defend himself. Saudi Arabia’s No. 3 kicker Al-Nazi’s right-footed shot and No. 4 kicker Abdulrahman Gharib’s right-footed shot were all saved to his right. In the meantime, four of our kickers (Son Heung-min, Kim Young-kwon, Cho Kyu-sung and Hwang Hee-chan) succeeded without making a single mistake, ending the game 4-2 without having to confirm the true nature of the fifth kicker.
Our players, who have written such an incredible soccer drama, will take only two days off and meet Australia at 0:30 a.m. on February 3 (Saturday) at Al-Zanub Stadium in Al-Wakra after finishing the round of 16 games 4-0 with ease two days + four and a half hours ahead of us.
The biggest task remains how players suffering from residual injuries recover, including those who suffered muscle cramps and were under psychological pressure to play even after more than 30 minutes of overtime.
However, due to the lack of such handicaps, key Korean players should be cautious not to be warned. This is because so far, as many as 10 players have posted yellow cards one by one. Most of them are key starting members, ranging from defenders Kim Young-kwon and Kim Min-jae, midfielders Lee Jae-seong, Hwang In-beom, Lee Kang-in and Park Yong-woo, and striker Son Heung-min and Cho Kyu-sung, which means they must be tired both physically and mentally.
On the other hand, six Australian players have received yellow cards so far, with defenders Harry Sutta, midfielders Eiden O’Neill and Riley McGree, and striker Bruno Fornaroli being the key players.