Korean soccer scores ‘five goals’ in dominant performance, Chung targets tournament’s top scorer
Hong Kong, Group C, lucky to stay bloodless in Round of 16, beat Iran in quarterfinals to reach ‘biggest upset’
Three of the four coaches are ‘K League veterans’
Members of the South Korean national soccer team, including Lee Kang-in (third from left)
Warm up with a light run at the Tianjinglun Physical Education School in Hangzhou, China, two
days before their Asian Games quarterfinal match against Uzbekistan.
The South Korean men’s soccer team, looking to win its third straight Asian Games title, will face
Uzbekistan at 9 p.m. Thursday for a spot in the final of the Hangzhou Asian Games. If South
Korea defeats Uzbekistan, they will play the winner of the Japan-Hong Kong quarterfinal earlier
in the day for the gold medal on Sunday. This is South Korea’s sixth consecutive quarterfinal
appearance, dating back to Busan 2002, while Uzbekistan’s first in 29 years since Hiroshima 1994, when they won the title.
South Korea’s coach Hwang Sun-hong celebrates his team reaching the men’s soccer quarterfinals at the Hangzhou Asian Games.
South Korea, coached by Hwang Sun-hong,
Has been a dominant force at the tournament, scoring 23 goals and conceding just one in five
matches, including a 2-0 quarterfinal win over China. The scoring has been so even that 11 of
the 19 players on the field, excluding the three goalkeepers, have found the back of the net. Jung
Woo-young, who has five goals, will be looking to become the tournament’s top scorer. He is
tied with Muhammad Maran (Saudi Arabia) for the tournament’s top scorer after three days, but
the Saudis lost to Uzbekistan in the quarterfinals. Baek Seung-ho, Cho Young-wook and Hong
Hyun-seok also have three goals apiece for South Korea. “The strikers are all in good form, so it
doesn’t matter who we put out there. It doesn’t matter who starts,” Hwang said of the team’s mood.
Uzbekistan’s Timur Kapadze (pictured above) and Hong Kong’s Jerne Anersen both have
experience in the Korean professional soccer K League.
But semifinal opponent Uzbekistan is a tough nut to crack. South Korea also met Uzbekistan in the quarterfinals of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang, where they narrowly won 4-3 after extra time. The two teams played to a 1-1 draw in an exhibition match in Korea last September. Striker Ruslanbek Iyanov, who scored Uzbekistan’s opening goal in that match, also played at the Asian Games. Uzbekistan has had a better international record than its senior national team, winning the U23 Asian Cup in 2018, finishing fourth in 2020 and runner-up in 2022.
“Uzbekistan is a very strong team,” said Hwang.
“We can’t let our guard down because they are a team that will fight for power,” Hwang said.
We have to be cautious and try to win the quarterfinals and go to the final.” Hong Hyun-seok,
who scored the opening free-kick goal in the quarterfinals against China, added: “Uzbekistan’s
players are physical and similar to the European style. I think they will be our strongest opponent
in this tournament.” “Uzbekistan is a strong and well-prepared team, but we will prepare well
as we have been doing so far,” said striker Ahn Jae-jun.
Three of the four men’s soccer quarterfinalists at the Asian Games are coached by former
Korean professional soccer players from the K League. Hwang has experience as both a player and coach in the K League, while Uzbekistan’s head coach Timur Kapadze played as a midfielder for Incheon United in the K League. Norway’s Jørgen Anersen, who leads the Hong Kong national team, was the head coach of Incheon United in 2018-2019. He was also the head coach of the North Korean national team. Hong Kong reached the quarterfinals for the first time in Asian Games history with an upset win over Iran in the quarterfinals. Hong Kong was also fortunate to reach the round of 16 bloodlessly after Afghanistan and Syria, who were drawn together in Group C, decided to withdraw from the tournament. 19가이드03