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Football: Asian Cup, Group A – Cho chomps as Korea beat Oman

Cho Young-cheol scored in first-half stoppage time as Korea Republic beat Oman 1-0. Photo: AFCAsianCup.com.

Cho Young-cheol scored in first-half stoppage time as Korea Republic beat Oman 1-0. Photo: AFCAsianCup.com.

January 10, 2015: Striker Cho Young-cheol’s opportunistic strike late in the first half was enough to give two-time winners Korea Republic a 1-0 win over Oman in their AFC Asian Cup opener at Canberra Stadium on Saturday.

 

Captained by Swansea midfielder Ki Sung-yeung, Korea were on top for much of the first period, but at half-time had only Cho’s goal to show for their domination.

 

A flurry of attacking substitutions in the final 30 minutes helped Oman threaten to level the game, notably through Amad Al Hosni who had a header tipped onto the crossbar in added time. However, Ulrich Stielike’s side held on to move into second place behind Australia in Group A, with the hosts defeating Kuwait 4-1 on Friday.

 

In rainy conditions in the Australian capital, Korea had their first chance on five minutes as midfielder Koo Ja-cheol cut in from the left-hand side and fired in a shot from the edge of the penalty area that Ali Al Habsi tipped around the near post.

 

Two minutes later, Bayer Leverkusen striker Son Heung-min latched on to Ki’s brilliant long ball and lifted the ball over Al Habsi, only for it to bounce off the top of the crossbar and away from danger. After 12 minutes, Oman defender Jaber Owaisi turned his header well over the bar from Eid Al Farsi’s corner.

 

Korea began to stamp their authority on the game, but with six minutes of the half remaining, Kim Ju-young brought down Abdulaziz Al Muqbali and from 20 yards out Al Farsi bent the ball marginally wide of the far post.

 

As the match neared the half-time interval, Korea scored the opening goal they had long threatened. Al Habsi had already athletically turned away his own defender Abdul Salem Amer’s unintentional header and kept out a long-range free-kick from Son, but he was beaten a minute into first-half stoppage time.

 

Lee Chung-yong pounced on a loose ball and laid the ball off to midfielder Koo, whose left-footed shot from outside the area was parried by Al Habsi, only for the onrushing Cho to slide in and direct the ball past the wrong-footed goalkeeper.

 

After the break, Korea continued as they had left off and four minutes after the re-start, Lee drove a low shot into the side netting before Al Habsi pulled off a fine reaction save to tip over Koo’s header from point-blank range.

 

Oman coach Paul Le Guen made attacking replacements in the final half hour by bringing on Al Hosni and Mohsin Johar. On 76 minutes Al Muqbali had a golden chance to equalise when Ali Al Busaidi picked him out all alone in the penalty area, but the forward’s first touch was poor and Korea cleared their lines.

 

As Korea sat back, Kuwait continued to threaten and in stoppage time Al Hosni’s goalbound header from a corner was dramatically touched onto the crossbar by Kim Jin-hyeon as the Reds narrowly escaped to take all three points as they bid to improve on their third place in 2011.

 

Source: Daniel Pordes / AFC Asian Cup (www.afcasiancup.com); Editing by SportAsia

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