Korea defeats Japan, will face North in U-19 play

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Korea defeats Japan, will face North in U-19 play

With pride and a spot in the 2011 U-20 World Cup on the line, Korea defeated Japan in the AFC U-19 Championship quarterfinals match yesterday.

Korea came back from an early two-goal deficit to win the game 3-2 at Linzi Stadium in Linzi, China, to earn a date with North Korea in the semifinals.

Korea entered the game boasting one of the tournament’s top defenses, having not allowed a goal in the group stage. Uzbekistan was the only other team in the tourney not to have conceded a goal in the group phase. Japan had scored nine goals - the most in the tourney - and allowed one.

Japan lived up to its high-scoring reputation early on as Hiroshi Ibusuki scored 13 minutes into the match. Ibusuki earned a penalty kick in the 31st minute and although his shot was blocked by Korean goalkeeper No Dong-geon, the referee made a questionable call by signaling for a rekick and Ibusuki delivered on his second try to give Japan a 2-0 lead.

Korea quickly turned the tide of the game with Kim Kyung-jung’s goal in the 33rd minute. Then Lee Ki-jae scored the equalizer in the 43rd minute and Jung Seung-yong connected on a free kick to score the go-ahead goal before the whistle to take a 3-2 lead into half time.

After a flurry of goals in the first half, the two sides did not score any additional goals in the second half. Korea held Japan’s offense to five shots on net in the game while producing 11 shots themselves.

With the win, Korea improved its all-time record against Japan in U-19 competitions to 26 wins, seven draws and five losses.

North Korea defeated China, 2-0, to advance to the semifinals. The two Koreas will face off on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. for a spot in the finals. South Korea has won 11 AFC U-19 Championship titles.

By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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