South Korea pulls off a heist to beat Australia 2-1 in the 2023 Asian Cup | AFC Asian Cup News

The Taegeuk Warriors staged another late comeback to beat the Socceroos and keep their Asian Cup hopes alive.

Al Wakrah, Qatar – South Korea has become accustomed to waiting until the final moments of added time to come back from its knockout matches and advance to the next round of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar.

They pulled off another heist to break Australian hearts and pulled off a stunning 2-1 comeback in the quarter-finals at Al Janoub Stadium on Friday night.

This led Jurgen Klinsmann, the Koreans' German coach, to joke that perhaps his team should start every match with a score of 0-1.

“It's not good to wait 120 minutes to get a result, so maybe if we start with a goal down we can achieve it.” [a win] before,” Klinsmann told bewildered reporters after the game.

It took South Korea 96 minutes to find a goal (scored by Hee-Chan Hwang from the penalty spot) to keep them alive in the tournament and another 15 to give their talismanic captain Heung-Min Son the chance to score a brilliant winning goal and stun. Australia.

The Socceroos took the lead in the 42nd minute when Craig Goodwin capitalized on a loose ball in front of the Korean goal to break the deadlock in a tight first half.

Once in the lead, the Aussies put in a strong defensive display to keep the Taegeuk Warriors at bay well into the second half.

As the night progressed, the temperature at Al Wakrah dropped to a chilly 14 degrees Celsius, but the action on the field heated up as South Korea began attacking the Australian goal. It was similar to their late attack against Saudi Arabia that ultimately produced a draw and gave them victory in the penalty shootout.

This time, the penalty came in the sixth minute of added time and tied the score. Already in extra time, the Koreans controlled the match and Australia could barely keep up.

When South Korea won a free kick on the edge of the Australian box in the 103rd minute, Son turned it into the corner to complete another stunning comeback.

The crowd, which had been chanting his name all night, launched into a wild celebration of relief, joy and disbelief.

Many of these fans arrived in Doha after a 10-hour red-eye flight from Seoul and said it was too much for a second straight match.

“They [the team] “You have to stop doing this to us now,” Kim Hyeseong, a South Korean fan, told Al Jazeera moments after the victory was sealed.

“They work miracles because they never give up,” he said.

Klinsmann said he is aware of the expectations his team faces from fans in the stadium and at home.

“Sometimes pressure blocks players [mentally] at the beginning, but when we fall, we know that from there we can only move forward,” said the former World Cup winner.

For fans like Leo Chan, it's more about believing in the team. But he said they say they make it difficult for themselves and their followers.

“I was about to leave the stadium moments before the penalty was called, but now I will stay until the final because these players work miracles and they will win it. [the championship].”

(Al Jazeera)

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