South Korea squeezed into the Asian Cup quarter-finals with a narrow 1-0 victory over co-hosts Indonesia yesterday.
South Korea took second place in Group D behind Saudi Arabia, who thrashed Bahrain 4-0, and thus ended plucky Indonesia's dreams.
As always with games involving the co-hosts it started at a frantic pace and Indonesia should have had a penalty after just three minutes.
Elie Aiboy won a race to the ball in the penalty box and he nicked it away from goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae, only to be brought down by a combination of goalkeeper and covering defender.
But Korea were given a lucky reprieve by referee Mark Shield of Australia.
South Korea coach Pim Verbeek had loaded his side with tall players -- eight of the starting 11 measured at least 1.82m, all much taller than any Indonesian player -- and it was clear they were looking for free-kicks around the box.
Indonesia, who appeared to have arrived in the land of the giants, could have gone in front on 28 minutes after a sweeping counter-attack with the ball transferred quickly from Budi Sudarsono to Bamabang Pamungkas and on to Elie, but after working some space he curled his effort high and wide.
South Korea went in front six minutes later after good work on the edge of the box from Lee Chun-soo who beat three tackles and teed up Kim Jung-woo, who's shot took a deflection to leave goalie Markus Rihihina rooted to the spot.
Indonesia did not wilt, though, and in first-half injury time came close again, but no-one made it into the six-meter box to turn home Elie's dangerous cross.
A minute from time Elie was presented with a great chance to equalize and send Indonesia into the knock-out phase, but he lost his footing as he was about to pull the trigger.
After he hit the deck, several of his team-mates also slumped to their knees in despair.
Saudi Arabia thrash Bahrain
Saudi Arabia thrashed Bahrain 4-0 yesterday to secure the points they needed to book a place in the Asian Cup quarter-finals.
Goals from Ahmed Al Mousa and Abdulrahman Al Qahtani and a brace by Taisir Al Jassam were enough for the Saudis to top Group D and join South Korea in the last eight after they beat Indonesia 1-0 in Jakarta.
It means Saudi Arabia remain in Jakarta for their quarter-final against the second placed team from Group C, while South Korea must travel to Kuala Lumpur to meet the winner of Group C.
For tiny Bahrain, semi-finalists in China three years ago, the tournament is over.
Al Mousa gave Saudi Arabia the lead on 17 minutes, dribbling round goalkeeper Abdulkarim and side-footing home after a defender lost his footing to set him free.
Bahrain threw everything they had at the Saudi goal in the second half and went close on occasion, but Al Jassam put the result beyond doubt in the 68th minute when he unleashed a 30m drive that crashed into the left hand corner.
He rubbed salt in their wounds 11 minutes later when the Bahraini defense was caught napping and he made no mistake from 6m with just the keeper to beat.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7