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Klinsmann’s South Korea Advances to Asian Cup QFs after Beating Mancini’s Saudi Arabia in Shootout

AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi
South Korea celebrates after winning the game in a penalty kick shoot-out during the Asian Cup round of 16 soccer match between Saudi Arabia and South Korea at Education City Stadium Al Rayyan, Qatar, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024.

AL-RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — Jurgen Klinsmann overcame Roberto Mancini in a battle of European soccer greats as South Korea advanced to the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup on penalties against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

South Korea won 4-2 in the shootout after the round-of-16 match had ended 1-1 after extra time.

Defeat will be particularly hard for Mancini to take as Saudi Arabia led 1-0 deep into stoppage time at Education City Stadium through Abdullah Radif’s 46th-minute strike.

Cho Gue-sung leveled the game in the ninth minute of second-half stoppage time to send it into extra time and South Korea goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo was the hero in the shootout when saving penalties from Sami Al Naji and Abdulrahman Ghareeb. Hwang Hee-chan converted the winner from the spot.

Hwang has good memories of Education City, having scored a stoppage-time winner against Portugal to advance to the knockout stage of the 2022 World Cup.

On this occasion it was his spot kick that sent his country through to the last eight and a match against Australia on Friday.

South Korea coach Klinsmann won the World Cup and European Championship as a player for Germany. As coach he led the U.S. to CONCACAF Gold Cup triumph in 2013 and is now in contention to guide another country to a major international title at the Asian Cup.

For Mancini — who coached Italy to Euro 2020 triumph by beating England on penalties in the final – there will be frustration after relinquishing the lead so late.

Saudi Arabia could have led by halftime but saw two headers come back off the bar in quick succession – first from Saleh Al Shehri and then Ali Lajami on the rebound.

Mancini’s team opened the scoring soon after the break through substitute Radif, who had just come on.

In a frantic finale to regulation time, South Korea substitute Cho hit the bar with a header in the third minute of stoppages. He made no mistake with another header six minutes later.

Two-time winner South Korea is aiming to lift the trophy for the first time since 1960.

AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis
South Korea’s coach Jurgen Klinsmann reacts during the Asian Cup Round of 16 soccer match between Saudi Arabia and South Korea, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024.

UZBEKISTAN ADVANCES

Abbosbek Fayzullayev fired Uzbekistan into the quarterfinals after beating Thailand 2-1.

Victory in the round-of-16 match at Al Janoub Stadium set up a clash with host and defending champion Qatar.

Uzbekistan has never won the Asian Cup, but this is the fifth time in the last six tournaments it has advanced to the quarterfinals. Its best performance was the semifinals in 2011, when the Asian Cup was last staged in Qatar.

Azizbek Turgunboev put Uzbekistan ahead in the 37th. Controlling Diyor Kholmatov’s diagonal pass on his chest, he volleyed low past Thailand goalkeeper Patiwat Khammai.

Thailand equalized through Supachok Sarachat’s curling effort from outside the box in the 58th.

But it took just seven more minutes for Uzbekistan to regain the lead with what proved to be the decisive goal from Fayzullayev, who struck from distance to beat Khammai.

Uzbekistan plays Qatar on Saturday at Al Bayt Stadium.

AP Photo/Hussein Sayed
Uzbekistan’s Abbosbek Fayzullaev celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal during the Asian Cup round of 16 soccer match between Uzbekistan and Thailand at Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024.