Korea leave it late to beat Qatar

Two goals in the final few minutes handed Korea a 3-1 victory over hosts Qatar in the semi-final of the AFC U23 Championship on Tuesday.

Korea will take on Japan in the final, after they beat Iran 2-1 earlier on the day.

After the first half finished goalless, Japan took the lead in the 49th minute through forward Seung-Woo Ryu.

Qatar leveled matters 30 minutes later thanks to Ahmed Alaa’s strike, but with only seconds remaining in regulation time and with extra-time looming, midfielder Chang-Hoon Kwon put his side in front once more.

With Qatar sending men forward in a desperate attempt to regain parity, Chang-Jin Moon put the result beyond question with his side’s third goal, in the sixth minute of stoppage time.

It was Qatar who had the better of the chances of the first half in Doha’s Jassim bin Hamad Stadium, with Abdelkarim Hassan, Moez Ali going close in the opening minutes.

Korea had to wait until the 25th minute for their first real chance on goal, when Hwang Ki-wook narrowly missed the target after taking a shot from just outside the penalty area.

After the half-time interval, the action hotted up significantly after Ryu sprinted through the Qatar defense and latched onto Hwang Ki-wook’s through-ball and found the back of the net with his first touch.

Ali Asad almost levelled with a pin-point header shortly afterwards, but in the 79th minute Qatar got the goal they deserved when Alaa volleyed home Musaab Al Khidir’s cross when Korea stopper Kim Dong-jun fumbled the ball on the goal line.

Asad had another chance five minute later, but it was Korea who made the breakthrough when Kwon connected with Lee Seul-chan’s low cross from the right, leaving Muhannad Naim in the Qatar goal with no chance.

With only seconds left on the clock, Moon secured Korea’s progression with a strike from close range.