Just one step away from the goal.
The South Korean men’s football team, led by Hwang Sun-hong, defeated Uzbekistan 2-1 in the men’s football quarterfinals at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games on Thursday (Feb. 4) at the Huanglong Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou, China.
After a six-match winning streak from the group stage to the quarterfinals, Hwang’s team has reached the final, where they will face “fateful rivals” Japan.
South Korea set the tone in the first five minutes of the match when Jung Woo-young scored the game’s first goal off a pass from Uhm Won-sang. Uzbekistan responded with a free kick goal in the 26th minute to equalize, but Korea responded with Jung’s second goal in the 38th minute to take a 2-1 lead.
South Korea held onto the one-goal lead for the remainder of the first half and kept Uzbekistan at bay. Uzbekistan lost momentum in the second half when Abdulauf Buriyev was sent off in the 29th minute after accumulating cautions for a rough foul. The match ended with a 2-1 victory for South Korea.
Hwang Sun-hong’s form in this tournament has been nothing short of spectacular. He’s been on a goal-fest, scoring a whopping 25 goals in six games and conceding just two. He has outscored his opponents in every game.
In fact, before the tournament, soccer fans were very nervous about him. There were concerns about Hwang’s performance before the tournament, and key player Lee Kang-in was only added to the squad midway through the group stage.
Having won gold in men’s soccer at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, the pressure was on to win the gold medal.
However, the players have handled the pressure well so far. Lee Kang-in’s form is still not perfect, but Jung Woo-young and Cho Young-wook are providing solutions in the forward line, while Hong Hyun-seok has been a standout in the midfield. The defense, led by goalkeeper Lee Kwang-yeon, has also been solid at the back.
Hwang has been able to keep his players healthy and win despite a grueling schedule, especially in the quarterfinals against the home team, where he left Lee 안전놀이터 Kang-in, Uhm Won-sang, and Jung Woo-young out of the starting lineup, but the trio started and played a key role in the victory over Uzbekistan.
Hwang Sun-hong is now looking forward to the final. With an impeccable record so far, it will be interesting to see if Hwang can put the final touches on his game and give South Korea the gold medal in men’s soccer.