Korea Men’s Football beats Uzbekistan to reach final…

South Korea’s Under-24 men’s football team have reached the final of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, putting them “just one step” away from a third consecutive title.

Hwang Sun-hong’s side defeated Uzbekistan 2-1 in the men’s football semi-final at the Hangzhou Asian Games on Thursday at the Huanglong Sports Centre Stadium in Hangzhou, China, thanks to a brace from Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart).

With the victory, Korea reached its third consecutive Asian Games men’s football final after winning the title in Incheon 2014 and Jakarta-Palembang 2018.

Korea will face Japan for the gold medal in the final at the Kowloon Sports Centre Stadium on Sunday night (9pm). South Korea and Japan will meet in the men’s football final for the second consecutive Asian Games following their meeting in Jakarta five years ago.

Japan, who won the silver medal in Jakarta after losing 1-2 in extra time to South Korea, thrashed Hong Kong 4-0 in the semi-final earlier in the day.

The Koreans started with Cho Young-wook (Gimcheon) up front, with ‘ace’ Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain) moving around freely.

Jung Woo-young, who has developed a taste for goals in this tournament, was flanked by the speedy Uhm Won-sang (Ulsan).

Lee Kang-in, Jung Woo-young and Uhm Won-sang returned to the starting line-up after starting on the bench in the quarter-final against China.

In midfield, captain Baek Seung-ho (Jeonbuk) partnered Hong Hyun-seok (Ghent), while the defence consisted of Seol Young-woo (Ulsan), Park Jin-seob (Jeonbuk), Lee Han-beom (Mittwilan) and Hwang Jae-won (Daegu).

Hwang Sun-hong took the lead with a taste of the goal just five minutes into the match.

Hong Hyun-seok sent in a ball from the centre of the box, which Uhm Won-sang crossed from the right side of the penalty area, and Jung Woo-young calmly finished in front of 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 an equaliser from a set-piece in the 26th minute.

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 equalise.

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 defence, which was battling with Lee Han-beom, failed to deal with properly, and Jung Woo-young slotted home his seventh goal of the tournament from the left side of the goal area to turn the tide back in Korea’s favour.

Uzbekistan made a change to start the second half, taking off flanker Asadbek Rakhimzhonov and bringing on striker Khusain Norchayev.

In the 14th minute of the second half, after a rough power struggle, South Korea took off Lee Kang-in and Jung Woo-young and introduced Song Min-kyu (Jeonbuk) and Jung Ho-yeon (Gwangju) in search of an extra goal.

Unable to close the gap in the 17th minute of the second half due to a rough back-tackle by opponent 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 the victory in the 28th minute when the opponent was sent off.

Abdurauf Buriyev’s deep tackle on Cho Young-wook, who had a good shooting chance inside the penalty arc, was sent off for accumulating cautions, giving Korea a numerical advantage and a chance to steady Uzbekistan as they made their final push.

With Park Jae-yong (Jeonbuk) and Ko Young-joon (Pohang) taking to the field as substitutes in the 41st minute, South Korea withstood a late Uzbek attack that forced goalkeeper Vladimir Nazarov to climb out of his goal from a set piece to seal the match. 파워볼게임

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