AFC Asian Cup: South Korea Beats Saudi Arabia To Qualify For Quarter-Finals

South Korea were able to defeat Saudi Arabia on Tuesday in their Round of 16 encounter to advance to the quarter finals of the AFC Asian Cup 2023. The match ended in a penalty shootout won by South Korea 4-2, after a 1-1 draw in regulation and extra time at Education City Stadium.

Saudi Arabia were agonizingly close to booking their place in the next round after a goal from Abdullah Radif in the 46th minute. Cho Gue-sung however, was able to level the game in the ninth minute of second-half stoppage time to send the match into extra time. 

Both teams were unable to score in extra time which led to a penalty shootout. South Korean goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo was the hero in the shootout, saving penalties from Sami Al Naji and Abdulrah. Saudi Arabia only managed to convert 2 penalties, eventually losing to a Hwang Hee-chan strike, 4-2.

Saudi Arabia v South Korea: Round Of 16 - AFC Asian Cup
IMAGO / NurPhoto

Saudi Arabia had multiple chances in the first half which weren’t awry. Two headers from corners crashed off the goalpost and another in the top corner was parried away by goalkeeper Jo. The South Koreans also had a couple of chances, as Son Heung-min was put through on goal twice but he couldn’t quite finish.

South Korea won’t have long to rest, after playing 120 minutes and the shootout. Their quarter-final against 2015 champions Australia is just two days away, taking place on Friday.

Australia blazed through their Round of 16 matchup against Indonesia, winning 4-0. The Australian team ended at the top of Group B after two wins and a tie against Uzbekistan in the group stage. The Korean team will need to be at its best to get past a well-balanced Australian team in the quarter-finals.

The head-to-head record between the two teams favors Australia who have won 4 out of the 7 matches. South Korea has only won one match while the other two encounters ended in draws.

Uzbekistan Beats Thailand 2-1 

In other news, Uzbekistan beat Thailand 2-1 to advance to the next round of the tournament. Abbosbek Fayzullayev scored the winning goal in the 65th minute, seven minutes after Thailand equalized the match at 1-1. 

Azizbek Turgunboev put Uzbekistan ahead in the 37th, when Diyor Kholmatov’s diagonal pass was volleyed low past Thailand goalkeeper Patiwat Khammai. 

Thailand’s only goal came from Supachok Sarachat’s curling strike from outside the box in the 58th. 

Uzbekistan has never won the Asian Cup, but this is the fifth time in the last six tournaments it has advanced to the quarterfinals. The team’s best performance was back in 2011 when they made the semifinals.

Next up for Uzbekistan is hosts Qatar on Saturday at Al Bayt Stadium for a place in the semifinals. Qatar have been having a great tournament thus far, winning all three of their group stage matches and beating Palestine 2-1 in the Round of 16.

While Uzbekistan will be a clear underdog they have shown they have what it takes to cause a major upset this year.

Jordan Shock Iraq in 3-2 Victory

Jordan reached the quarterfinals of the tournament after producing a remarkable late comeback thanks to two stoppage-time goals to beat Iraq, 3-2. 

The win occurred in controversial circumstances as a result of Aymen Hussein’s second yellow card by referee Alireza Faghani. The card was awarded for the team’s celebrations for its second goal, leaving Iraq to play the final 13 minutes with just 10 men.

Yazan Al-Naimat opened the scoring just before half-time to put them ahead going into the break. Goals from Iraq’s Saad Natiq and Aymen Hussein changed the game completely, as Iraq went up 2-1 in the second half.

After Hussein was sent off, the numerical advantage took over, as Yazan Al-Arab equalized in the 95th minute. 

Jordan’s Hamza Al-Dardour was then given a red card to leave both sides a man short. Nizar Al-Rashdan scored a short handed goal in the 97th minute to win the game for his country.

Jordan is set to face Tajikistan in their quarter final matchup on Friday. Tajikistan qualified for the match after defeating United Arab Emirates in a penalty shootout.