Group C: Korea Republic 1-0 Philippines
Dubai: Hwang Ui-jo's 67th minute strike secured Korea Republic a 1-0 win over debutants Philippines in an AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Group C tie at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai on Monday.
Korea Republic quickly seized control of the Group C tie but found the Philippines difficult to break down in the opening minutes.
Sven-Goran Eriksson’s side, who started without the Younghusband brothers, defended resolutely and played mostly on the counter-attack with Patrick Reichelt and Javier Patino leading their attacks.
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After numerous failed attempts trying to cut into the Filipino defence from the left flank, Korea Republic were given a superb opportunity to break the deadlock when they were awarded a free-kick after Luke Woodland’s foul on Koo Ja-cheol outside the box but Jung Woo-young’s strike missed the top left corner of the net by inches.
Five minutes from the break, Lee Yong’s pass into the penalty box found Hwang Ui-jo, who then turned quickly to unleash a shot but Philippines goalkeeper Michael Falkesgaard made a brilliant save.
Moments later, Korea Republic goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu was forced to parry Patino’s volley, that began from a counter-attack after Daisuke Sato intercepted a pass and released a perfect cross to the forward.
The Southeast Asians gave Korea Republic a scare 10 minutes into the second half, when a lapse in concentration in the Korean defence allowed Patino to shoot but custodian Kim was in fine form.
Korea Republic sent on Hwang In-beom and Lee Chung-yong and less than three minutes later, Lee had an effect on the team when his pass found Hwang Hee-chan, whose back pass set Ui-jo nicely to open the scoring from close range in the 67th minute.
The 1956 and 1960 AFC Asian Cup winners used that momentum to their advantage with Ui-jo and In-beom taking turns challenging Falkesgaard but the ‘keeper held firm.
Phil Younghusband replaced John Patrick Strauss in the final minute of the game, but it was too little too late as Korea Republic held on to claim the win.
Philippines will play China PR next on Friday in Abu Dhabi, while Korea Republic face Kyrgyz Republic in Al Ain in the day’s later match.
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