Asian Cup: Son's late brace sends South Korea into semis
Son Heung-min scored twice in extra time to give South Korea a 2-0 win over Uzbekistan and send them into semi-finals of the Asian Cup on Thursday.
Melbourne: Son Heung-min scored twice in extra time to give South Korea a 2-0 win over Uzbekistan and send them into semi-finals of the Asian Cup on Thursday.
The midfielder got on the end of Kim Jin-su`s cross and headed the ball through the hands of Uzbekistan keeper Ignatiy Nesterov to break the deadlock after the 104 minutes of end-to-end action at the Rectangular Stadium.
His second came with time running out at the end of the second period when substitute fullback Cha Du-ri charged down the right wing and centred for Son to crash the ball left-footed into the top of the net.
The South Koreans, seeking their first Asian title since 1960, had faced some nervous moments in the second period of extra time but held firm to set up a meeting with Iran or Iraq in Sydney on Monday for a place in the final.
The quarter-final was the first match to finish all square after 90 minutes in 25 games at the tournament but was no dour stalemate and both sides attacked with brio and defended with a muscularity throughout the contest.
It was clear from the first few minutes that both sides had come to Melbourne intent on scoring but profligacy in front of goal and two brilliant exhibitions of keeping sent the match to extra time.
South Korea dominated possession but Uzbekistan always looked a threat on the break and in Nesterov had arguably the most influential player on the pitch in the first 90 minutes.
The Uzbekistan keeper made a stunning double save from Lee Keun-ho and Nam Tae-hee in the 25th minute before moments later tipping a curling effort from Son over the bar.
He pulled off another spectacular save to deny Lee Jeong-hyeop from a free header early in the second half and his failure to stop Son`s header in extra time will weigh heavy on him.
Uzbekistan had plenty of chances too, but South Korean keeper Kim Jin-hyeon also showed fine form when his wall of red defenders was breached.
The Central Asians missed the best chance of the night in the 78th minute when an unmarked Lutfulla Turaev somehow managed to head over from point blank range.
When Nam managed to pass up a chance almost as gilt-edged after he failed to get a shot off with the goal gaping in front of him five minutes later, extra time was inevitable.