South Korea in last gasp escape after Jordan’s added time own goal levels tie

By Samindra Kunti in Doha

January 20 – South Korea enjoyed an injury-time escape after Yazan Al Arab’s own goal levelled the scores at 2-2 with Jordan in Group E, but they remain on course for the round of 16 with a final group-stage fixture against Malaysia to come. 

In a spectacular last 24 hours at the Asian Cup, Iraq triumphed over Japan, Indonesia upset Vietnam for their first-ever victory at the tournament, and Jordan almost went on to defeat the much-fancied Koreans, who were made to sweat until the 91st minute and Al Arab’s unfortunate strike as the teams settled for a point.

Both sides had a single change in their lineup with Raja’i Ayed replacing Noor Al-Rawabdeh in the Jordanian midfield and goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-Woo stepping in for the unfortunate Kim Seung-gyu, whose anterior cruciate ligament injury ruled him out of the tournament.

The Koreans did not have to wait long to find joy. In the 4th minute, talisman Son Heung-Min claimed a penalty after contact with Ihsan Haddad, but the referee waved the appeal away.

He reversed his decision following a very lengthy on-field review and from the spot, the Tottenham Hotspur striker cheekily chipped the ball past the Jordanian number 1 to seize the lead for Korea.

Son had failed to open his account against Bahrain with Lee Kang-In’s double taking the headlines, but the spot kick conversion took a weight off the star’s shoulders. In the 20th minute, he almost had his second after Lee Kang-In had spread play from right to left and Lee Jae-sung teed him up.

The trio’s combinations had also left Bahrain struggling and Jordan, on the wrong end of a 6-1 drubbing by Japan in a recent friendly, could not get out of their half until Musa Al Tamaari, who plays for Montpellier in France, sent a half-volley flying to the top right corner.

In the 28th minute, Hyeon-Woo produced a second spectacular save to parry a Mahmoud Al Mardi set piece. He was proving a fine stand-in for Seung-Gyu, but, as Jordan’s pressure grew, his athleticism and reflexes were futile when his own defender Park Yong-Woo headed the ball into the back of his net at the far post following a Jordanian corner.

A deserved equaliser, the 37th-minute own goal had shades of the United Arab Emirates’ Bader Abelaeziz beating his goalkeeper from close range against Palestine.

Manager Jurgen Klinsmann had warned before the match that his players could not be complacent against Jordan, citing the West Asians’ impressive 4-0 win against Malaysia, but Korea did not learn their lesson.

Al Taamari sped his way past the Korean rearguard but lost his balance. That was just a temporary stay of execution because Qatar-based Yazan Al Naimat picked out the bottom left corner with a sweet half-volley that almost seemed predestined to beat Korea’s goalkeeper, 2-1.

Klinsmann signalled his intent to turn things around with a double change at half-time, bringing  the fresh legs of both Hong Hyun-Seok and Kim Tae-Hwan. The Koreans seemed determined to not suffer the same fate as Japan, who, on Friday, slumped to defeat against Iraq in the first major upset of the tournament.

In search of an equaliser, Korea ramped up the pressure, leading to half-chances and goalmouth scrambles in a less action-packed half.

Son and Lee Kang-In found the going tough against Jordan’s zonal marking as Korea kept poking and probing in and around the Jordanian box.

Hussein Ammouta’s team showed  discipline and great work ethic to contain their opponents, closing down space and pressing when required. That was highlighted midway through the second half when Abdallah Nasib tackled Son as he dashed forward, eliciting a huge cheer from the thousands of Jordanian supporters in the stands at Al Thumama Stadium.

Lee Kang-In had Korea’s best chance of the second half when he controlled the ball on the chest before goalkeeper Yazeed Laila palmed his volley awkwardly away, but, in the end, just as they looked to run out of ideas and time, Korea got what they wanted.

In the first minute of injury time, Yazan Arab deflected the ball into his own net to bring Klinsmann’s side level.

It was a great escape and South Korea’s last flourish almost furnished a winner but substitute Hyun-Seok failed to tap in the rebound from Park Jin-Seop’s low header.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1711665759labto1711665759ofdlr1711665759owedi1711665759sni@i1711665759tnuk.1711665759ardni1711665759mas1711665759




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