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2018 AFC U-19 Championship: Saudi Arabia defeated 12-times Champion South Korea to claim their 3rd title after 26 years

Victorious Saudi Arabian Under-19 team (Image Courtesy: Foxsports Asia)
Victorious Saudi Arabian Under-19 team (Image Courtesy: Foxsports Asia)
Modified 06 Nov 2018

Saudi Arabia won the title after a 26-year hiatus with a hard-fought win over twelve times Champion South Korea at Pakansari Stadium. Amidst a crowd of 3089 spectators, the Saudi boys sealed their third title success after their previous title triumph came in 1992 in the United Arab Emirates.

Khaled Abdullah Mohammed said, “Korea is a technically and tactically brilliant team and we have 50-50 chance at the title” naming an unchanged starting eleven for the Finals.

Jung-Yong Chung made a couple of changes bringing in Cho Young-Wook and Park Tae-Jun in place of Jeong Ho-Jin and Yim Jae-Hyeok.

AFC U-19 Championship Match: Saudi Arabia defeat South Korea 2-1

(KSA: Turki Al-Ammar 2’, Khalid Al-Ghannam 22’; KOR: Cho Young-Wook 64’)

Saudi Arabian coach Khaled engaged a 4-2-3-1 style. Faraj Al-Ghashayan, Turki Al-Ammar, and Khalid Al-Ghannam ventured ahead in support of Abdulmohsen Al-Qahtani to shift to a 4-2-4 formation. 

The young Green Falcons controlled the game with 58% of the ball possession. They reeled off 13 shots on the target with six of them finding the mark. The Saudi defence was robust with 31 tackles and 23 clearances in the game and keeper Abdulrahman Alshammari pulling off three stunning saves.

South Korea played a 3-4-3 formation at the start. With Lee Kyu-Hyuk drawing behind to help the defence, it changed to a 4-3-3 style. They managed four of their thirteen efforts finding the target, while seven missed the mark. Korean custodian Lee Gwang-Yeon made four incredible saves.

The Young Green Falcons had a terrific start with Abdulmohsen Al Qahtani weaving past the defenders, had only the Korean custodian to beat. Lee Gwang-Yeon pulled off an incredible save to deny Al Qahtani. Unfortunately, the loose ball was picked up by the talented Turki Al-Ammar who slammed it towards the goal before Korean defender Lee Kyu-Hyuk’s tackle.

Khalid Al Ghannam’s corner resulted in Lee Gwang-Yeon pulling off a save on the line from Hassan Al Tambakti’s header. He was again called up to deny Al Ammar’s lovely strike in the 12th minute.


For the first time in the match, Korea’s attempt on goal from Daegu FC's Go Jae-Hyeon got parried away by Abdulrahman Al Shammari. The resultant free ball fell to Um Won-Sang who thrashed it over the bar.

Korea was down by two goals after Khalid Al Ghannam sent a right-footed curler from 20 yards out, past a diving Lee Gwang-Yeon. Faraj Al-Ghashayan provided the assist for Al Ghannam in the 22nd minute.

Midfielder Hamed Alghamdi’s strike got comfortably saved by Lee Gwang-Yeon.

Korea’s reply came through FC Seoul's Cho Young-Wook but yet again the final shot went scurrying past the goal post.

Al-Qadsiah striker Khalid Al Ghannam had another one of his long-range strikes going wide off the goal post. 

Goo Boon-Cheul set up Kim Hyun-Woo with a weighted pass, but the resultant header missed the target by inches.

South Korea had an excellent opportunity with Park Tae-Jun providing a delightful cross to Kim Hyun-Woo. However, Woo's header went inches wide of the far post as Saudi Arabia breathed a sigh of relief. 

In the 48th minute, the Young Falcons were denied a third when Al Ammar's shot struck the post. 

In the 64th minute, Jeon Se-Jin got fouled by Muhannad Al Shanqiti inside the box. Thai referee Sivakorn Pu-Udom immediately signalled to the penalty spot. Cho Young-Wook slotted it to the left bottom corner to pull one back for the Koreans.


The Korea Republic had a marvellous opportunity through Lee Jae-Ik’s cross which went unharmed past the goal without finding a Korean player.

Cho Young-Wook forced Al-Nassr‎‎'s Al Shammari to pull off a diving save as Korean hopes started to evaporate.

When Jeon Se-Jin missed a sitter in front of goal, Korea knew today was not their day as he blew his attempt high over the crossbar following Um Won-Sang’s accurate cross.

Suwon Samsung Bluewings striker Jeon Se-Jin’s long-range effort was also comfortably collected by Saudi goalkeeper which proved to be their last. Saudi Arabians celebrated their victory in style after claiming their third title. 

Qatar's Abdulrasheed Umaru won the top-scorer award with seven goals (Image courtesy: AFC)

The 19-year-old striker of Qatar, Abdulrasheed Umaru, was the top scorer with seven goals at the AFC U-19 Championship Indonesia 2018.

The Asian Football Confederation has mentioned that the 2018 tournament saw a 40 per cent increase in the number of goals and a 445 per cent increase in attendance. 

The quarter-final match between the host nation Indonesia and Japan, saw 60,154 supporters thronging to the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium recording a new high for the modern era. 


The highest recorded attendance was in 1977 when 1,00,000 fans packed Tehran's Azadi Stadium when hosts Iran took on Iraq.

Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Japan, and Qatar booked their places for the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Poland.

Given below is the list of awards and the final standings of the teams in the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship.

Champions: Saudi Arabia.

Fair Play Award: Saudi Arabia.

MVP of the Tournament: Turki Al Ammar

Top Goalscorer: Abdulrasheed Umaru

Final Standings:

1. Saudi Arabia

2. South Korea

3. Japan

4. Qatar

5. Indonesia


7. Thailand

8. Tajikistan

9. The United Arab Emirates

10. Jordan

11. North Korea

12. China

13. Malaysia

14. Iraq

15. Vietnam

16. Chinese Taipei

Published 06 Nov 2018, 09:44 IST
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