Kyrgyzstan 0 South Korea 1: Bento's Men Secure Progress After Narrow Win

Published January 11th, 2019 - 11:21 GMT
South Korea's players celebrate after winning the 2019 AFC Asian Cup group C football match between Kyrgyzstan and Korea Republic at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on January 11, 2019.
Giuseppe CACACE / AFP
South Korea's players celebrate after winning the 2019 AFC Asian Cup group C football match between Kyrgyzstan and Korea Republic at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on January 11, 2019. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

South Korea have secured their progress to the knockout phase of the 2019 Asian Cup thanks to a 1-0 win over Kyrgyzstan, despite missing a host of glorious opportunities.

Coach Paulo Bento wanted a proactive attacking approach from Korea after stuttering to 1-0 win over Philippines in their Group C opener and, while his team's finishing left a lot to be desired, they at least crafted the openings perhaps lacking last time out.

Arguably the worst miss was by Lee Chung-yong, who blazed over from close range, though Kim Min-jae let him off the hook just before the interval by breaking the deadlock.

South Korea should have added to the score, as they struck the crossbar three times in the second period, but luckily for them Kyrgyzstan failed to create chances to punish their wastefulness.

Despite having little difficulty controlling proceedings, Korea did not create a clear-cut chance before the 37th minute, and that was inexplicably wasted as Lee blasted over from just six yards.

They did finally make their superiority count a few moments later, though, when Kim headed Hong Chul's right-side corner in at the near post.

Kyrgyzstan did not look out of the contest, though they were fortunate to remain just a goal behind in the 69th minute, when Hwang Ui-jo headed a left-wing delivery against the crossbar.

The frame of the goal saved them from Hwang again soon after – his ferocious drive from a tight angle after expertly bringing a cross down coming back off the bar via the face of goalkeeper Kutman Kadyrbekov.

Hwang Hee-chan then hit the bar as well after Kadyrbekov palmed a cross straight to him, but South Korea were not made to rue such poor finishing.

By Ryan Benson


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