AFC Asian Cup 2019: Korea Republic ease past Kyrgyz to reach Round of 16

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Korea Republic became the third team through to the AFC Asian Cup 2019 Round of 16 on Friday after claiming a 1-0 win over Kyrgyz Republic at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.

With three points already in the bag following their opening 1-0 win over Philippines, the South Koreans entered the clash knowing a second consecutive victory would be enough to secure their place in the last 16.

However, they did come up against stern resistance from a Kyrgyz Republic outfit who had shown plenty against China in their previous outing, only to throw away a lead to lose 2-1 following a couple of defensive lapses.

But, having struggled to really create a decent opportunity for much of the first half, the Taegeuk Warriors duly opened the scoring four minutes before the break when a Hong Chul corner was met by Kim Min-jae with a glancing header into the bottom corner.

Korea Republic continued to dominate proceedings in the second half and Hwang Ui-jo was unlucky to see a header clip the underside of the bar and come back out, after landing on the goal-line seven minutes after the hour mark.

Six minutes later, Hwang was again denied by the woodwork after sublimely bringing a Lee Chung-yong cross into his stride and smashing a shot back off the post.

Despite their best efforts, the Taegeuk Warriors were unable to add to their tally but still did enough to claim a win that was enough to seal their place in the Round of 16 alongside Group C rivals China, who had also recorded a second straight win earlier in the day by beating Philippines 3-0.