Jordan upsets South Korea 2-0 to march into historic Asian Cup final


Jordan’s player Yazan Alarab (right) and South Korea’s player Son Heung Min in action during the semi-final match at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Tuesday night. – Bernama photo

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (Feb 7): Jordan pulled off a major upset in the 2023 Asian Cup by beating two-time champions South Korea 2-0 in their semifinal match and went on to create their own football history by marching into the final, here Tuesday night.

In the highly anticipated clash at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, here, Jordan, also known as The Chivalrous under Hussein Ammouta, made South Korea look like novices inside the box with two masterfully created goals from Yazan Al-Naimat and Mousa Al-Tamari to give their fans much to cheer on the terraces.

Both teams displayed a fast brand of attacking football in the first half but though South Korea had a lions share of the domination, it was Jordan who looked dangerous with a number of clear cut chances but South Korean goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo made sure the score remained goalless with four superb saves.

Jordan, playing in the semifinals for the first time, sent an early warning in the 18th minute through Noor Al-Rawabdeh’s attempt from outside the box which was palmed out by the 32-year-old Hyeon-woo before he denied another goal-bound attempt by Al-Naimat from close range in the 25th minute.

The Ulsan Hyundai goalkeeper continued to remain a stumbling block to deny a golden opportunity for Jordan in the 42nd minute, saving another close range attempt by Al-Naimat who had skipped past three South Korean defenders to face Hyeon-woo.

Earlier, Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min’s goal in the 19th minute was disallowed for offside while Lee Jae-sung’s close range header from Hwang In-beom’s cross rocked the bar in the 32nd minute.

The Taegeuk Warriors’ best chance to take the lead came in additional time before the break when Hwang who was unmarked inside the penalty box failed to finish off a pass from Seol Young-woo from the left.

The start of the second half saw Jordan pressure the South Korean defence by launching a series of raids before Hyeon-woo was beaten by Al-Naimat who coolly clipped the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper after he was put through by Al-Tamari in the 53rd minute.

Al-Tamari who had provided the assist for the first goal, took advantage of a lapse in concentration by the South Korean defence in the 66th minute to drive a low shot from the top of the box for Jordan’s second goal.

The goals scored by Al-Naimat and Al-Tamari happen to be their respective third in the 2023 Asian Cup campaign.

Trailing 0-2, South Korea under the inspirational German star Jurgen Klinsmann tried hard to make a comeback and launch a serious attempt at ending a 64-year wait since 1960 to clinch their third title in the competition but stout defending by Jordan denied every dangerous looking attempt.

Jordan’s opponent in the final on Saturday will be decided in Wenesday’s match between defending champion and host Qatar and three time winners Iran at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha. – Bernama