Korea Republic's title hopes dashed
Lodz: Korea Republic's FIFA U-20 World Cup 2019 title hopes ended in heartbreak as Vladyslav Supriaga struck twice and Giorgi Tsitaishvili once as Ukraine defeated the East Asians 3-1 in the final on Saturday.
Featuring in their first-ever global final, Korea Republic struck first through Lee Kang-in, who converted his penalty in the fifth minute after a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) check determined that captain Hwang Taeh-yeon was tripped inside the right edge of the box.
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The Ukrainians poured on pressure as the first half progressed, however, culminating in Supriaga's 34th-minute equaliser. Korea Republic could not fully clear Serhii Buletsa's free-kick delivery into the penalty area, and Supriaga pounced on the loose ball to poke home from eight yards.
Supriaga completed his brace eight minutes into the second half. Yukhym Konoplia's deflected through ball skipped into the Ukrainian forward's path and he beat the goalkeeper one-on-one to put his side on top.
A marauding run from Heorhii Tsitaishvili in the 89th minute sealed the match and the championship for the Ukrainians. The midfielder surged forward from his own half and cracked a shot into the corner of the net.
From never progressing past the Round of 16 to lifting the trophy, Ukraine's unprecedented run to the title will be an enduring memory of Poland 2019.
Meanwhile, there was personal joy for Korea Republic's Lee Kang-in as he became just the second Asian player after Ismail Matar (United Arab Emirates, 2013) to win the Golden Ball, joining the likes of Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi (both Argentina) as well as Paul Pogba (France) in receiving the honour.
Roll of Honour Golden Ball: Kangin Lee (Korea Republic) Golden Boot: Erling Haland (Norway) Golden Glove: Andriy Lunin (Ukraine) FIFA Fair Play Award: Japan / Korea Republic
Sources: FIFA.com, FIFA via Getty Images
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