Hwang scores 1-0 win over Kyrgyzstan in AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualifier

Hwang Sun-hong’s U-22 national soccer team earned its first win in the second match of its first qualifying round for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games thanks to a goal from Hong Yun-sang (Pohang).

South Korea defeated Kyrgyzstan 1-0 in the second match of Group B of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Asian Cup 2024 at the Changwon Football Center in Gyeongnam on Monday.

The tournament is the first gateway to next year’s AFC U-23 Asian Cup, the final Asian qualifier for the Paris Olympics.

The top two teams from each of the 11 qualifying groups, the top four teams from Group 2 and host Qatar will be among the 16 teams that will compete for a place at the U-23 Asian Cup in April/May 2024.

Tickets to Paris will be awarded to the first, second and third-place finishers of the Asian Cup.

With three points against Kyrgyzstan, South Korea sits atop Group B with one win.

Myanmar (1 point) is second, and Kyrgyzstan (1 point), who finished behind Myanmar on goal difference, is third.

South Korea will qualify for the AFC U-23 Asian Cup with a draw against Myanmar at the same venue on Dec. 12 to top the group.

Korea lost 0-2 against Qatar on June 6, but the result will not count towards the Group B standings as Qatar will qualify as hosts of the 2024 AFC U-23 Asian Cup.

After a shaky showing against Qatar, South Korea needed a win against Kyrgyzstan on Sunday in order to qualify for the U-23 Asian Cup.

Hwang started Kim Shin-jin (Seoul), Jung Sang-bin (Minnesota), and Hong Yun-sang up front, with Oh Jae-hyuk (Jeonbuk), Kwon Hyuk-kyu (Celtic), and Baek Sang-hoon (Seoul) in the second line.

The back line consisted of Lee Tae-seok (Seoul), Cho Sung-kwon (Gimpo), Cho Wi-je (Busan), and Park Chang-woo (Jeonbuk), with Kim Jung-hoon (Jeonbuk) in goal.

In the third minute of the first half, Jeong Sang-bin sprinted down the right flank to break down the Kyrgyz defense and sent a low cross into the box, where Hong Yun-sang, who was rushing to the goal, struck the top corner of the net with a non-stop right-footed shot from the penalty area.

After taking the lead, South Korea continued to pound the Kyrgyz goal, creating chances to add to their lead.

South Korea had the first chance in the 18th minute when Oh Jae-hyuk sent a cross into the box that Kim Shin-jin headed into the goal area, but it went wide of the post.

In the 25th minute, Kim Shin-jin’s low right-footed shot from the penalty area in front of the goal was saved by the goalkeeper.

Three minutes later, in the midst of a scramble following a corner kick on the right, Cho Woo-je’s left-footed shot sailed well over the crossbar.

Throughout the first half, the flow was frequently disrupted by poor passing in the defense and midfield.

After recording three shots on target in the first half, Korea faced a strong Kyrgyz counterattack in the second half.

Head coach Hwang Sun-hong decided to make a change in the attack in the 14th minute of the second half by introducing Lee Hyun-joo (Wiesbaden) and Min Kyung-hyun (Incheon) in place of Jung Sang-bin and Park Chang-woo.

Immediately after his introduction, Lee Hyun-joo showed some light footwork, beating two defenders in the left penalty area before connecting with a right-footed shot.

However, he conceded two mid-range shots after the opponent counterattacked in the 10th and 26th minutes of the second half.

Coach Hwang Sun-hong introduced Gwangju FC duo Heo Yul and Um Ji-sung in the 29th minute and Lee Jin-yong (Daegu) in the 36th minute in search of an additional goal.

In the 41st minute, Um Ji-sung drove the ball through the left flank and sent a cross toward Heo Yul in the box, but unfortunately, the ball did not reach Heo Yul, and the match ended without any further goals. 파워볼


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