Asian Cup 2019: Qatar 1-0 South Korea: 3 takeaways
Qatar caused a major upset in the AFC Asian Cup yesterday by beating favourites South Korea 1-0 in a quarterfinal match. Qatar have not won the tournament before and would fancy their chances against hosts UAE in the semifinal. South Korea, who have won the Asia Cup twice before, are also one of the strongest footballing nations in Asia.
Korea had more than 60% ball possession in the match and were the better side technically too. However, Qatar scored a wonderful winner in the 78th minute of the match to seal a place in the semis.
Abdel Aziz Hatem scored the only goal of the match with a scorching 25-yard shot.
We would now take a look at the 3 takeaways from the match:
#1 Korea looked the sharper of the two teams, but Qatar fought superbly
Korea were the sharper and the more athletic side of the two and attacked with great pace. The Qataris found it very difficult to cope with the pace of the Koreans but managed to make a lot of interceptions in the midfield. Hatem was a pillar in the midfield and won a lot of balls for Qatar. He also played some nice passes to the forwards.
The Korean midfielders and defenders managed to drop down very quickly to their own half to stop the Qatari attacks. Qatar slowed the game down at times to disrupt the rhythm of the Koreans, as they knew that they would not be able to beat the Koreans in a fast-paced game.
Qatar played some very slick passes in the midfield and their positional play was also very good. They tried to stretch the Korean defenders wide, but could not do so very frequently. However, their no. 11, Akram Afif, made some darting runs and also troubled the Korean centre-backs to an extent.
Paolo Bento, the Korean coach, made his team play a more direct game and play frequent crosses to the Qatar penalty box. On the other hand, Qatar did not play as many crosses and tried to create holes in the Korean defence with some through passes.