Quarter-final: Korea Republic 1-0 Tajikistan
Bekasi: Korea Republic edged into the semi-finals of the AFC U-19 Championship Indonesia 2018 on Monday thanks to a narrow 1-0 win over Tajikistan that also secured them a place at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2019.
A goal in the first half from Jeon Se-jin helped the Koreans through to the last four on a day they were rarely troubled by their Central Asian opponents who, nevertheless, bowed out of the tournament with their heads held high.
Head coach Chung Jung-yong’s charges will now meet Qatar in the semi-finals on Thursday at the Pakansari Stadium in Bogor and can begin planning for next year’s global extravaganza in Poland.
See also :
After a cautious opening in Bekasi, it was Korea Republic who threatened first, frontman Oh Se-Hun forcing Tajikistan goalkeeper Shohrukh Qirghizboev into a fine 12th minute save and, from the resulting corner, Kim Hyun-Woo heading against an upright.
Tajikistan responded through a Panshabe Ehsoni header which Korea Republic custodian Lee Gwang-yeon did well to gather, only for Cho Young-wook to then fire a shot straight into the welcoming arms of Qirghizboev when well placed on 34 minutes.
Cho stung the palms of Qirghizboev yet again moments later, before the breakthrough came on the stroke of half-time as Oh’s pass found Jeon who, afforded too much time and space by the Tajik defence, drilled a shot back across Qirghizboev and into the far corner.
With their continued presence at the competition under threat, Group D runners-up Tajikistan made a bright start to the second period with Lee Gwang-yeon making comfortable saves from a Shervoni Mabatshoev long-range strike and Ehsoni’s 69th minute free-kick.
As Korea Republic continued to look for a second goal, Qirghizboev saved twice in quick succession from Kim Hyun-Woo and Jeong Ho-Jin saw his effort from the ensuing melee blocked by the Tajikistan defence.
Tajikistan prodded and probed in search of an equaliser but, despite a late flurry, it was not to be as Korea Republic held their nerve to advance courtesy of a professional if unspectacular victory.