Korean title drought continues with semifinal loss to Jordan

Korea's Lee Kang-in, center, reacts as Jordan players celebrates after winning the Asian Cup Semi-finals soccer match between Jordan and Korea at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Feb. 6. AP-Yonhap

Korea lost to Jordan 2-0 in the semifinals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in Qatar on Tuesday, coming up two wins shy of ending their 64-year title drought at the top continental tournament.Yazan Al-Naimat and Mousa Al-Tamari scored a goal apiece in the second half at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, while Jordan’s dogged defense kept Korea at bayKorea last won the AFC crown in 1960. This was the closest Korea came to ending that drought since losing to Australia in the final in 2015.Korea did not register a shot on target, with Lee Jae-sung striking the right goal post with a 32nd-minute header for his team’s closest call.Korea, world No. 23, were held to a 2-2 draw by 87th-ranked Jordan in their Group E match on Jan. 20. Jordan came within minutes of winning that contest, before a late own goal forced them to settle for the draw. They got the job done this time as Korea, after playing over 240 minutes in the past two matches, ran out of steam.This was Korea’s first loss to Jordan in seven meetings, after three wins and three draws. The teams were goalless after the opening 45 minutes, with Korean goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo making some big saves to keep Jordan off the board.

Jordan held the early advantage in possession and had the match’s first six shot attempts. Noor Al-Rawabdeh tested Jo with a right-footed shot from outside the box in the 18th minute, and Korea dodged another bullet some seven minutes later when Jo turned aside a left-footed shot from Al-Naimat. For Korea, Son Heung-min had a goal called back after he was caught offside trying to sneak in behind the defense in the 19th minute. Lee Kang-in airmailed his volley in the 24th minute for Korea’s first shot attempt.Jordan had a quick break after a Korean turnover in the 27th minute, but Al-Tamari fired his shot high and wide of the target.Korea thought they had a penalty in the 29th minute when Yazan Al-Arab and Seol Young-woo collided in the box. Referee Mohamed Abdulla Hassan Mohd initially awarded Korea with the spot kick but overturned the call after a video replay, with Seol getting the foul instead.Lee Jae-sung nearly put Korea ahead in the 32nd minute, when his header, set up by a Hwang In-beom cross, struck the right post.Jo came up with yet another stop in the 42nd minute, this time taking a close-range shot from Al-Naimat with his face after the Jordanian forward had danced his way past multiple defenders.

Jordan finally broke through eight minutes after the restart, capitalizing on a Korean turnover.Al-Tamari intercepted a pass by Park Yong-woo intended for Kim Young-gwon in the Korean zone, and took off for a counterattack chance with Al-Naimat running on his right. Al-Naimat took the pass inside the center of the box and chipped it over Jo for the 1-0 lead.Park was promptly subbed out for forward Cho Gue-sung, who nearly leveled the score with a 60th-minute header that went just over the crossbar.Al-Tamari doubled Jordan’s lead in the 66th minute, finally solving Jo two minutes after the Korean custodian denied him from the center of the box.It was yet another Korean miscue that led to that goal. After Hwang In-beom lost possession, Al-Tamari collected the ball from his side of the halfway line and drove all the way to the top of the box, before firing a left-footed shot into the bottom left corner.Jordan’s defense then got to work, denying one Korean foray after another to preserve their clean sheet win.Korea conceded a goal in all six matches at the tournament, after giving up nothing in each of their previous seven contests. Korea also trailed in five of their six games in Qatar, though they had never fallen behind by more than one goal until 온라인카지노 Tuesday night. 

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