The Taegeuk Warriors stage another late comeback to beat the Socceroos and keep their Asian Cup title hopes alive.
Al Wakrah, Qatar – South Korea has become accustomed to waiting until the final moments of stoppage time to return to their knockout matches and advance to the next round. AFC Asian Cup 2023 in Qatar.
This prompted Jurgen Klinsmann, the Koreans’ German coach, to joke that perhaps his team should start all matches with a score of 0-1.
“It’s not great to wait 120 minutes to get a result, so maybe if we start with a one-goal lead we can get (a victory) sooner,” Klinsmann told perplexed reporters after the game.
It took South Korea 96 minutes to find a goal – scored by Hee-Chan Hwang from the penalty spot – that kept them alive in the tournament and another 15 minutes to give their talismanic captain Heung-Min Son a chance to score a scintillating winner and stun. Australia.
The Socceroos took the lead in the 42nd minute when Craig Goodwin latched onto a loose ball in front of the Korean goal to break the deadlock in a tight first half.
Once in the lead, the Australians produced a solid defensive display to keep the Taegeuk Warriors at bay until late in the second half.
As the night progressed, the temperature at Al Wakrah dropped to 14 degrees Celsius, but the action on the field heated up as South Korea began to attack the Australian goal. It was similar to their late assault on Saudi Arabia this ultimately produced an equalizer and gave them a victory on penalties.
This time, the penalty came in the sixth minute of added time and allowed the equalizer. Once overtime began, the Koreans controlled the match and Australia could barely keep up.
When South Korea were awarded a free kick on the edge of the Australian box in the 103rd minute, Son bent it into the corner to complete another stunning comeback.
The crowd, who had chanted his name all night, launched into a wild celebration of relief, joy and disbelief.
Many of those fans arrived in Doha after a 10-hour overnight flight from Seoul and said it was too much for a second straight match.
“They (the team) need to stop doing this to us now,” Kim Hyeseong, a South Korean fan, told Al Jazeera moments after the victory.
“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 those at home.
“Sometimes the pressure blocks players (mentally) at the start, but when we fall down we know we can only move forward from there,” the former World Cup winner said.
For fans like Leo Chan, it’s more about believing in the team. But he added that they were pretending to make it difficult for themselves and their supporters.
“I was about to leave the stadium moments before the penalty was awarded, but now I am staying until the final because these players are miracle workers and they will win it (the championship).”