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South Korea and Jordan advance
January 16, 2014 , 10 : 12 am GST
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KOREAN DOMINANCE: South Korea played with more purpose against hosts Oman in the crucial Group A match yesterday. Ė ISMAIL AL FARSI / Times of Oman
Host Oman was knocked out of the AFC Under-22 Championship after South Korea beat them 2-0 in the crucial Group A match at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Bausher on 15 January, 2014. Much to the disappointment of 6000 fans who thronged the stadium yesterday, the Philippe Burle coached side was completely flattened in one of their poorest tournament campaigns so far.
In a must-win game, following their 1-0 defeat to Jordan on Monday, Oman could only dominate for the first twenty minutes of the game yesterday.
South Korea's first goal came in the 62nd minute of play when Kim Kyung Jung brilliantly netted a teasing pass from midfielder Kim Younguk. Forward Yun Illok scored the second goal in the 80th minute when he easily converted a deceiving pass from Baek Sungdong.
Oman's only notable performance in the tournament was their 4-0 win against Myanmar in the opening match. With a comprehensive victory yesterday, South Korea has now moved to the quarterfinal stage of the ongoing tournament. Following the 6-1 victory over Myanmar at the ROP Stadium in Wattayah, Jordan topped the Group A with seven points while South Korea is placed second.
On Sunday, South Korea will play the winner of Group B Syria in the first quarterfinal and Jordan will take on Group B runner-up United Arab Emirates on the same day.
Speaking to reporters a delighted South Korean coach Lee Kwang Jong thanked his boys for the much-needed win. "Our victory was quite convincing. Though the first half looked quite difficult, my boys came back in the second half. We are now looking forward for the quarterfinal match against Syria on Sunday," he said.
Jong said the three-day break before the match will be ideal to prepare his side. "That will be a good break for us. We will prepare the boys for the big match against Syria," he added.
A disappointed Oman coach Burle whose job is now at stake following their disastrous tournament said 'minor mistakes' during the course of the match caused the game for his side.
"Such mistakes can really take the game from us and ultimately we paid the price for it but we played best during the one hour and I believed that we could comeback in the second half and score," he said.
"I would love to continue to coach Oman but it's all up to them to decide. This team has the potential but we need to have the patience. The best moment for me as a coach is to help them qualify for the tournament," he added.
UAE, Syria qualify
The United Arab Emirates and Syria advanced to the quarterfinals from Group B. The UAE held on for a goalless draw with North Korea yesterday at Seeb Sports Complex and Syria beat Yemen 1-0 to end the group phase campaign. North Korea hit the woodwork twice saw efforts cleared off the line in the first half, with the UAE simply needing to avoid defeat to advance to the last eight alongside Syria.
Despite North Korea again hitting the frame, the UAE survived to make the quarters.
"I am very happy with the result. It was a hard match as Korea wanted to win," said UAE coach Ali Ebrahim.
Meanwhile, Nashoh Nkd Hle scored his second decisive goal in consecutive games as Syria qualified for the quarterfinals after edging Yemen 1-0 at Royal Oman Police Stadium yesterday.
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