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Kim delighted after substitute sensation Lee sends Korea Republic through

Bangkok: Head coach Kim Hak-bum has revealed that a pre-empted use of substitutes played a decisive role in Korea Republic's dramatic 2-1 AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 quarter-final win over Jordan on Sunday.

After being introduced to the action at half-time, Lee Dong-gyeong stroked home a late free-kick to win the game for the East Asians who had been forced to hold off a late Jordanian rally.

With a last four encounter against Australia now awaiting Korea Republic, Kim declared that he had always intended to turn to his bench as the game progressed.

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“The match against Jordan was a very difficult one. We had several chances to score and couldn’t, but in the end our win was deserved,” he said.

“All credit to the players for not giving up and continuing to fight until the very last few seconds even though we were preparing to play extra-time."

#AFCU23 - Q-final: Korea Republic 2-1 Jordan

“I always knew, though, that the match would be decided by substitutions. I had originally only wanted to use Lee Dong-gyeong for the last 30 minutes, but I had to bring him on at half-time because of the match circumstances.

“Nevertheless, our strategy ultimately worked out well and we managed to seal the win.”

In a topsy-turvy encounter, Korea Republic went ahead courtesy of Cho Gue-sung’s (pictured below) first-half effort, before Jordan drew level thanks to a Yazan Al Naimat strike some 15 minutes from time.

Despite seeing his team eventually seal the victory – one which moves Korea Republic one step nearer to their first Continental title at this level and a place at this year’s Olympic Games – Kim was quick to admit that work needs to be done ahead of Wednesday’s clash with the Olyroos.

“We definitely had some issues as regards to the dropping in levels of performance at some stages of the match. Because of that we made the game more difficult for ourselves than it should have been," he said.

“We have to work on fixing this issue, so that we stay in control throughout the match. We and the Australian team know each other well, but we will prepare in the best possible way, and will try to adjust certain things."

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