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AFC Asian Cup

Jordan shock South Korea, become lowest ranked team to reach AFC Asian Cup final

Published at :February 6, 2024 at 11:44 PM
Modified at :February 7, 2024 at 12:03 AM
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Uttiyo Sarkar

Jordan will face either Iran or defending champions Qatar in the finale.

Jordan stunned South Korea after becoming the lowest ranked (87) team in history to move into the final of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup with a brilliant 2-0 win at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al-Rayyan on Tuesday (February 6). Second-half goals from striker Yazan Al-Naimat and winger Musa Al-Taamari helped them get a famous win over one of the favourites South Korea and take a step forward to Asian Cup success.

Despite having never defeated South Korea in a competitive match, Jordan started the game on the front foot and took the game to their opponents from the opening whistle. They attacked from the get-go and made their intentions known with some sharp high pressing too, having five shot attempts in the first 15 minutes and leaving the Korean side reeling.

But South Korea started to grow into the game after that point, even though Jordan had the first shot on target that was easily parried away by Hyun-Woo Cho in the 18th minute. A minute after that, Heung-min Son scored but was adjourned offside.

Jordan kept creating chances, with striker Yazan Al-Naimat skipping past a number of players in the 25th minute before having his effort saved. Four minutes after that, South Korea almost got a penalty against the run of play when the referee pointed to the spot after it seemed that left-back Young-Woo Seoul was brought down in the box.

But VAR intervened, making the referee overturn the decision and letting justice prevail. Three minutes later, South Korea nearly got their ‘revenge’ as Jae-Sung Lee hit a shot at the post after a well-worked move. But Jordan did not panic after that and they kept their tactics in check, using a clever passing tactic that saw them repeatedly rob the Korean players of possession.

They did that in the 42nd minute when Al-Naimat again got himself in a nice area but forced a big save from Cho. Jordan went into the half-time break and did not show any signs of weariness after the break, showing even more energy with their pressing and winning back possession even more fiercely.

It only took eight minutes into the second half for the Jordan side to win back possession in the South Korea half and burst into the final third. Al-Naimat managed to skip past his marker and was played through into the box but after having multiple shots saved in the first half, he saw Cho charging at him and produced a delicate chipped shot that floated into the back of the net.

The vocal Jordan fans went sent into a rupture and it also seemed that something broke into the Korean side, despite Jurgen Klinsmann trying his best to up their spirits. Jordan, rather than parking the bus decided to gain energy from their fans’ support and keep looking for ways to steal possession.

However, South Korea did get one out of nothing in the 59th minute when a header from substitute Gue-Sung Cho went just over the bar. But six minutes after that, Musa Al-Taamari found the ball on the right side and brilliantly dribbled past multiple bodies before moving centrally just outside the box – before unleashing a wicked shot that rifled into the back of the net.

After that, Klinsmann’s side at least tried to throw in the kitchen sink at their opponents but just couldn’t find enough options to unlock their incredible, compact defensive shape.

In a desperate attempt, Gue-Sung went down in the box in the 89th minute but the referee booked him for what later looked like a clear case of diving. South Korea huffed and puffed, but ended the match with zero shots on target despite having world-beaters like Heung-min Son, Kang-In Lee and Hwang-hee Chan at their disposal.

On the night, this Jordan side was not to be deterred by anybody – showcasing an incredible spirit and resolve to book their place in their first-ever AFC Asian Cup final – where they’ll face either Iran or Qatar on Sunday (February 11).

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