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The Taegeuk Warriors make another late comeback and beat the Socceroos to keep their Asian Cup title hope alive.
Al Wakrah, Qatar –South Korea is a country that has made it a practice to wait until the final moments of stoppage time before making a comeback to win their knockout games to advance to the next round. AFC Asian Cup 2023Qatar.
It prompted Jurgen Klinsmann, the Koreans’ German coach, to joke that perhaps his team should start all matches with a 0-1 score.
“It’s not great to wait 120 minutes for a result, so maybe if we start a goal down we can get [a win] earlier,” Klinsmann told bemused reporters after the match.
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 to give their talismanic captain Heung-Min Son a chance to score a scintillating winner and stun Australia.
The Socceroos broke the deadlock after a tight first-half when Craig Goodwin grabbed a loose ball and ran in front of the Korean net.
Once the Australians were in the lead, they put on a strong defensive performance to keep the Taegeuk Warriors away well into the second half.
As the night went on, the temperature dropped to 14 degrees Celsius in Al Wakrah but the action heated up on the field as South Korea began to attack the Australian goal. It was similar to the late assault against Saudi ArabiaThey won the penalty shootout after they scored an equaliser.
This time the penalty was in the sixth minute added time. It brought them even. Once extra time was reached, the Koreans controlled the game with Australia barely keeping up.
Son bent the ball into the corner in the 103rd-minute South Korea free-kick, which was taken on the edge of Australia’s box. This completed another amazing comeback.
The crowd, after chanting his title all night, broke out in a wild, joyful celebration of relief and disbelief.
Many of these fans said that a second match in a row was too much for them after a 10-hour flight from Seoul.
“They [the team] need to stop doing this to us now,” Kim Hyeseong, a South Korean fan, told Al Jazeera moments after the win was sealed.
“They pull off miracles because they never give up,” he said.
Klinsmann stated that he is aware of what his team expects from fans at the stadium as well as those back home.
“Sometimes the pressure blocks the players [mentally] in the beginning – but when we go down, we know we can only go forward from there,” the former World Cup winner said.
Leo Chan and other fans are more likely to have faith in the team. But he said that they are making it difficult for them and their supporters.
“I was about to leave the stadium moments before the penalty was awarded, but now I’m staying all the way until the final because these players are miracle-makers and will win it [the championship].”