South Korea narrowly avoids loss to Jordan, Bahrain wins

South Korea narrowly avoids loss to Jordan, Bahrain wins

QLNews
By QLNews

Yazan Al Arab’s injury-time own goal gifted South Korea a lucky 2-2 draw against Jordan in Group E of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup at the Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday.

Al Arab put the ball in his own net to level the scores and cancel out Yazan Al Naimat’s goal in first half injury time, which had looked set to earn the Jordanians the win and secure a place in the last 16 for Houssanine Ammouta’s side.

Al Naimat struck six minutes into added time at the end of the first half after Park Yong-woo’s own goal had wiped out Son Heung-min’s early penalty but Al Arab’s own goal means both teams sit on four points after their opening two group games.

The Taeguk Warriors struggled to build on a strong start that saw Lee Kang-in threaten early and Son net from the spot in the ninth minute after being brought down by Ehsan Haddad.

A VAR check ensued before Qatari referee Salman Falahi pointed to the spot and Son dinked the ball over the line after Yazeed Abulaila had committed himself to the left.

Jordan’s growing pressure paid off eight minutes before halftime and they scored the equaliser, Park Yong-woo heading Al Mardi’s corner into his own goal with Al Arab lurking behind him at the back post.

The West Asians struck again deep into injury time when Al Tamari’s shot was blocked by Jung Seung-hyun and Al Naimat followed up with a scruffy strike from the edge of the area that bounced to the right of Jo and into the bottom corner.

Oh Hyeon-gyu’s effort was saved by Abulaila but there was nothing the goalkeeper could do when Al Arab redirected Hwang In-beom’s shot from 20 yards into his own net in the first of 11 minutes of injury time as both teams had to settle for a point.

Meanwhile, an Ali Madan goal in the final seconds of the game helped Bahrain edge Malaysia 1-0 in the other Group E game at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium.

The win revived Bahrain’s hopes of advancing to the knockout stage, with the West Asian side set to face Jordan on Thursday. The defeat ended Malaysia’s hopes, with the Southeast Asian side to conclude their campaign against South Korea.

Malaysia head coach Kim Pan-gon rang in the changes, with Dominic Tan and Shahrul Saad in a revamped defensive line-up with Corbin Ong and Mattew Davies on the flanks and they withstood Bahrain’s early pressure.

Despite Bahrain starting on the front foot, it was Malaysia who had the first look at goal in the seventh minute when Corbin Ong’s long throw-in was deflected into the path of Dion Cools, who couldn’t get his shot on target. 

Malaysia came close again shortly after when Faisal Halim weaved his way into the Bahraini box before relaying the pass to Paulo Josue who was dispossessed, with the ball then landing nicely for Arif Aiman, whose shot was saved by Ebrahim Lutfallah.

Bahrain almost took the lead in the 31st through ​​Komail Al Aswad when he surged into the box and managed to slip the ball past goalkeeper Syihan Hazmi, only for Dominic to scramble the ball off the line.

Bahrain started the second half with the same intensity as they did the first, but Abdullah Al Hashash, Al Aswad and Madan all saw their attempts go to waste.

Both sides could have scored as the match entered the closing minutes, with Davies unlucky with his volleyed effort off substitute Akhyar Rashid’s cross while Ali Hasan Isa shot his effort straight at the Malaysian custodian after he broke clear of the Malaysian defense.

Bahrain’s persistence finally paid off when Madan struck with the outside of his left foot in the fifth minute of added time after Malaysia failed to clear a corner.

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