Son leads South Korea to Asian Cup semi-finals with extra-time triumph against Australia.

Son leads South Korea to Asian Cup semi-finals with extra-time triumph against Australia.

South Korea progressed to the Asian Cup semi-finals with a 2-1 comeback triumph against Australia in extra time at Al Janoub Stadium on Friday, with Son Heung-min scoring the winner with a stunning free kick.

Australia had defeated South Korea by the identical scoreline in extra time in the 2015 final to win their first Asian Cup, but this time it was the east Asian nation that triumphed after scoring another goal in stoppage time to force overtime.

“In 2015, it was difficult, but I wouldn’t call it retribution. It’s part of sport, and the outcome helped me grow as a player,” said Son, who scored in the 2015 final loss.

South Korea will face Jordan in the first semi-final on Tuesday, after their 1-0 victory against Tajikistan on Friday. South Korea scored a late equalizer in a 2-2 draw with Jordan in the group round.

“Obviously, there was another drama, but we were quite delighted and excited to go through it. We anticipated a tight struggle with Australia. But to play 120 minutes again, I’m happy of this squad and their passion,” South Korean coach Juergen Klinsmann remarked.

“We’re in the semi-finals now, and we’ll face Jordan. It demonstrates how competitive our group was, with two teams in the semi-finals.”

Just before halftime, Australia took the lead after switching sides with precise passes in the area. Nathaniel Atkinson’s cross found Craig Goodwin, who had time to line himself up for a volley into the bottom corner.

Martin Boyle had a chance to make it 2-0 when he received a ball into the box, but goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-Woo saved him twice, and Mitchell Duke’s rebound shot flew over the bar, giving South Korea a reprieve.

Tactical Change

Klinsmann made a tactical shift in the second half, pressing Son forward, and it paid off when the Tottenham Hotspur striker was fouled in the area by Lewis Miller in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

Hwang Hee-chan stepped up, and the Wolverhampton Wanderers striker took his time to settle his nerves before firing his shot into the top corner to force extra time — their fourth goal after the 90th minute of the competition.

“I’m typically the first kicker, but I was tired and Hwang seemed confident in stepping up and taking the penalty, so I agreed. “He’s a very important player, and he has a great opportunity to prove it,” Son remarked.

South Korea went to extra time for the second time in a row after defeating Saudi Arabia on penalties, and Hwang earned a free kick on the outside of the box after Miller committed another foul.

Son stepped up and watched his shot soar beyond the wall, beating Mathew Ryan in goal and sparking frenzied celebrations, with Klinsmann joining in with a yell and outstretched arms.

Australia’s efforts to battle back were thwarted when Aiden O’Neill was sent off after a VAR review for a foul on Hwang, leaving Graham Arnold’s side to 10 men for the second half of extra time, where they were unable to produce an equalizer.

“The way we closed the game is really sad and traumatic for the players and staff. “We played well for the first 90 minutes until we conceded the penalty,” Arnold said.

“South Korean players compete in high levels with quick tempos, and they can keep up. They play for clubs like Tottenham and Wolves; they can run the legs off opponents and punish us in the end.”

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