Korea scrapes past Bahrain to earn a spot in the Asian Cup quarterfinals
In what was expected to be an easy match against 113th ranked Bahrain, Korea struggled to create opportunities for most of the first half in the Al-Rashid Stadium in Dubai.
Hwang Hee-chan, assisted by Lee Yong, opened the scoring in the 43rd minute to give the Taeguk Warriors the lead going into the half time break.
Korea seemed to lose focus in the second half, struggling to keep control of the ball and allowing Bahrain to creep steadily closer to the goal.
With less than 15 minutes left on the clock Korea paid the price for its lack of control - Bahrain's Mohamed Al Romaihi scored an equalizer in the 76th minute.
Following Bahrain's goal, Korea's head coach Paulo Bento realized that a change was needed, bringing on rising star Lee Seung-woo for his Asian Cup debut.
Although Lee breathed new energy into Korea’s predictable offense, he failed to find the back of the net and the Taeguk Warrior’s first knockout match of the tournament was forced into extra time.
Korea finally pulled ahead at the end of the first half of extra time, with Kim Jin-su heading a cross from Lee home in the 107th minute.
With a win, Korea will face Qatar in the quarterfinals at 10 p.m. on Friday.
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]