Tuesday, March 26, 2013

South Korea 2 - Qatar 1; Uzbekistan 1 - Lebanon 0

South Korea welcomed Qatar to Seoul looking to distance themselves not only from Qatar but also from idle Iran.  The first half provided few memories to all those in attendance, and the match gave way to halftime having seen no goals.  South Korea had all the chances in the opening frame, but Qatar goalkeeper Qasem Burhan (pictured, gray) and company were steady in defense.

On the hour mark, the Taegeuk Warriors finally made their superiority translate onto the scoreboard.  A Park Won-Jae free kick was curled into the box, from where the head of Lee Keun-Ho rolled it over the top of Burhan's outstretched hand and into the Qatari goal to give South Korea the opener.  South Korea appeared to dip in concentration after the goal, and six minutes later their visitors were on level terms.  Ibrahim Abdulmajed drove through the defense and passed off for Khalfan Ibrahim, who was not closed down at all from twenty yards out.  He scored and the matched was poised on the edge for a dramatic conclusion.  With five minutes to go, the tension became too much as the match was delayed by a shoving match between the teams after South Korea's Son Heung-Min kicked at Hamid Ismail after suffering a heavy challenge.  In the sixth minute of stoppage time, a Koo Ja-Cheol effort hit the underside of the crossbar and fell right on the line for Son to tap home for the winning goal.  South Korea win 2-1.

Tashkent and a hopeful audience were hoping for Uzbekistan to reassert their position atop the Group One table against visiting Lebanon.  Hassan Chaito nearly blasted an early shot from outside the penalty area into the net, but his effort flew just wide of goal for Lebanon.  Uzbekistan nearly responded with a goal straight off a corner by Server Djeparove, but Walid Ismail was at the far post to steer the ball clear of danger.  The visiting Cedars got the message, and they began playing much more conversatively from thereon out.  The first half ended with no goals having been scored.

The White Wolves introduced striker Farhod Tadjiyev before the second half, and his presence altered the complexion of the match.  He first hit the bar before firing over the goal on another great opportunity.  The pressure could only be contained for so long by Lebanon, and the dam eventually broke when a weak Djeparov effort took a deflection off a Lebanese defender and into the goal for a 1-0 lead to the hosts.  Lebanon could surmount no answer, and Uzbekistan win 1-0.

Uzbekistan 11 pts +2
South Korea 10 pts +6
Iran 7 pts 0
Qatar 7 pts -3
Lebanon 4 pts -5

South Korea
Lee Keun-Ho 60
Son Heung-Min 90+6

Khalfan Ibrahim 66

Server Djeparov 63

Match Reports:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsP5CGCAe2s (South Korea v. Qatar)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NrniIgU1n4 (Uzbekistan v. Lebanon)

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