Korea’s added time goal and Son Heung-min’s masterclass send Aussies down under

February 2 – South Korea dumped Australia out of the Asian Cup 2-1 at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah in a match that looked as though it had gone Australia’s way at the 90-minute mark.

Going into added time at the end of the second half Australia, if not cruising, looked as though they had done enough to defend a 1-0 lead against the brilliance of Son Heung-min and a Korea hungry for Asian Cup success. In 2015 Australia beat South Korea to win the title.

But this Asian Cup that is becoming one marked by the number of goals scored in added time.

Five minutes into overtime Son broke into the Aussie box and was brought down by Lewis Miller. VAR reviewed, confirmed and Hwang In-beom stepped up to hammer the equaliser home past Matt Ryan. It was the 19th added time goal in the 46 games of these finals played so far.

Australia immediately deflated. Their defense with Harry Souttar and Kye Rowles in the middle had dominated their own box for 90 minutes, but Son’s influence had grown throughout the game and in the final 45 minutes he looked unstoppable every time he touched the ball.

Australia ultimately only have themselves to blame. Set up to block, they did create chances on the break and it was one of those chances that gave them the lead.

Hwang misplaced a pass that was picked up by Nathaniel Atkinson, who broke down the right to chip the ball across goal to Craig Goodwin who smashed a left foot volley past Hyeon-woo Jo in the Korean goal.

The Koreans upped a gear by even as they pressed the Aussies could have made it 2-0 and game over. A fast counter on 83 minutes saw a diving Mitch Duke head wide of the post from Jackson Irvine’s cross.

It is on these kinds of breaks that games change, and when the big players get bigger.

Son, who had been too hot to handle for most of the half, was now at his majestic best.

Ryan kept the Aussies in the game in 4th minute of extra time with a double save but it wasn’t going to last.

In the 101st minute Lee Jae-Sung was sent flying just outside the box on the left.

Up stepped Son – who else – to brilliantly curl the ball over the despairing Aussie wall and inside Ryan’s left post. What a turnround.

When Aidan O’Neill was given a red card for a dangerous tackle on Hwang it was all over. There was no real attempt to take the ball but lots of intent to take out Hwang. The Aussies were losing the plot, and perhaps a little too nastily.

Son could have scored again from distance on 110 minutes and again two minutes later when driving into the box he slid the ball wide of Ryan’s right post.

Another double save from Ryan kept the Aussies from complete capitulation.

If the 2-1 scoreline doesn’t tell the story of the balance of play, the 73% possession they had and their 1,000+ passes against the Aussies 367 does.

South Korea will now meet Jordan at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Tuesday for a spot in the final.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1718710901labto1718710901ofdlr1718710901owedi1718710901sni@n1718710901osloh1718710901cin.l1718710901uap1718710901


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