Chung rues Korea Republic’s first-half woes
Bogor: Head coach Chung Jung-yong believes Korea Republic’s first-half struggles were behind his side’s narrow 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia in Sunday’s AFC U-19 Championship Indonesia 2018 final.
Goals from Turki Al Ammar and Khalid Al Ghannam saw the Saudis race into a 2-0 lead within 22 minutes at Bogor’s Pakansari Stadium, as the West Asians dominated proceedings throughout the opening period.
Chung’s charges rallied after the break through Cho Young-wook's 64th minute penalty, but it was not to be for Korea Republic who ultimately failed to collect a 13th continental crown at this level.
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“The players had a hard time in the early period of the first half,” Chung said.
“Because of this, we went 2-0 down. There was too much space between our midfield and defence which allowed Saudi Arabia space in which to play.
“During the break, I told my players that we still had a chance to recover, and that if we cut out our mistakes then we could still win the game.
“In the second half, we played much better football and the players absolutely did their best. Overall, I am very pleased with the performance.”
Despite the obvious disappointment of losing a final, Chung was quick to declare that he believes there were many plus points for Korea Republic throughout the tournament – a definite positive ahead of next year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup which his side, along with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Japan, have qualified for.
“There are plenty of positives that we can take from the competition,” he explained.
“In general, it was a positive performance from the players, and they showed that Korea Republic are not an easy team to beat, and that we are a side that never gives up.
“Our play in transition and our set-pieces were good, but I still think there is room for improvement ahead of the World Cup.”