AFC Asian Cup 2019: South Korea vs. Philippines - 3 reasons why the Taegeuk Warriors defeated the Azkals
Favorites of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, South Korea, survived an early scare into the tournament as they pipped a resolute Philippines side 1-0 at the Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai. Gamba Osaka's Hwang Ui-jo rattled the back of the net in the 67th minute after Hwang Hee-chan laid the ball towards him inside the six-yard box.
That goal was enough for the 53rd ranked team as it escaped them from jaws of defeat. A closer inspection of the match reveals that it wasn't a cakewalk for the South Koreans despite being ranked 63 places ahead of their rivals.
Although they didn't dominate the match, they showed sparks of brilliance which could have turned the game in their favor. But, these 3 reasons ensured that South Korea had the upper hand.
#3 Brilliant positioning of the goalkeeper
The Philippines knew that they were going to be on the backfoot for the most part of the game and thus, resorted to a counter-attacking style. And, if your opponent switches from defense to attack within four passes, your goalkeeper shouldn't be surprised if a barrage of shots comes towards him.
Other than one particular instance when Kim Seung-gyu was off-guard and had to rush to his position to prevent the ball from crossing the line, the 2014 Asian Games gold medallist did a wonderful job to narrow down the angles.
The Azkals had a total of six shots out of which two were on target. However, they were dealt with easily by the goalkeeper who was unmoved largely due to his brilliant positioning. In the 41st minute, he had to thwart away Javier Patiño' goalbound shot from the edge of the penalty box. Patino again had a shot at goal in the 54th minute but, Kim Seung-gyu kept him at bay.