World: Asian Cup
1 - 2
(1 - 1)(1 - 0)
South Korea
C. Goodwin (42), A. O'Neill (105)
H. Hee-Chan (90), S. Heung-Min (104)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Klinsmann's South Korea punch ticket to AFC semis after more late drama

Jürgen Klinsmann's South Korean "Taeguk Warriors" are through to the 2023 AFC Asian Cup semi-finals following another dramatic late equalizer that pulled them back from the brink of elimination. The Asian Tigers went on to defeat Australia in extra-time.

Three Bundesliga professionals now advance along with their country, though FC Bayern München defender Min-Jae Kim will not be able to take part in the semi-final fixture against Jordan on Tuesday due to accumulated yellow suspension. 

The tournament journey ends for three 2. Bundesliga professionals who are now headed back to the Bundesrepublik. The 2015 continental champion "Socceroos" have suffer their second consecutive quarterfinal elimination. 
In a match worthy of a final, Jürgen Klinsmann's South Korea and Graham Arnold's Australia met in the 2023 AFC Asian Cup quarters on Friday for their first meeting at the continental showpiece since a group stage encounter during the 2015 Aussie run to the title. The undefeated Aussies entered as favorites against a "Taeguk" side lucky to escape elimination in their Round-of-16 tie against Saudi Arabia. Both nations featured three German club players on their respective rosters. Five of them made the match-day squads. Four logged minutes in the game.

St. Pauli midfielder Connor Metcalfe was one of four changes Aussie trainer Arnold employed to his "Socceroo" squad. The 24-year-old started together alongside his club colleague Jackson Irvine in midfield. Irvine was responsible for kicking his country's tournament off with maximum momentum. Klinsmann rewarded the hero of the previous match - FC Midtjylland striker Gue-Sung Cho - with a start. FC Bayern defender Min-Jae Kim was the only Bundesliga professional to start this time with Mainz's Lee-Jae Sung and Stuttgart's Woo-Yeong Jeong moving to the bench.

Matters got off to a lively start with both sides trading chances. Metcalfe got an early effort in on target, as did former Leipzig professional Hwang-Hee Chan. The opening goal nevertheless belonged to the Aussies. An error from Hwang kick started an Aussie counter in the 42nd, on which Metcalfe was involved. Australia's Craig Goodwin eventually netted the 1-0. The half-time lead was somewhat flattering, given that Leipzig had more of the play and Hwang also saw a goal narrowly chalked off for offside.

Klinsmann's side poured forward and took more risks after the restart. This naturally led to more Aussie chances on the counter. Goodwin nearly bagged a brace, but was denied by a huge double-save from Korean keeper Hyena-Woo Jo. The veteran net-minder once again bailed his team out eight minutes from the end of normal time with a full-stretch save on a Mitchell Duke header. In almost precisely the same manner as was the case on Tuesday the Koreans went deep into injury time without an equalizer.

The Taeguks were gifted a chance to equalize from the spot when captain Heung-Min Son drew a penalty at 90+5. Hwang quickly took responsibility for the spot kick and duly converted. The skipper then put his side ahead in the 104th with a gorgeous free-kick bent in over the Aussie wall from just outside the area. Before the first-half of extra time elapsed, Arnold's Roos were reduced to ten-men. Aiden O'Neill earned a sending off at 105+4. The disadvantaged Aussies stood no chance of restoring parity after that.

Mainz's Lee served as Klinsmann's first substitution in the 69th, putting in a solid shift off the bench. Stuttgart's Jeong did not make an appearance. Bayern's Kim generally played well, but incurred his second booking of the tournament at 90+1. Having also been booked in the opening group stage match will not be able to partake in Tuesday's semi-final fixture against Jordan. South Korea have made it to the AFC semis in four of the last six tournaments, yet have not captured the continental crown since 1960.

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