x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

South Korea beat Uzbekistan to third place in Asian Cup

The winners secure a berth for the 2015 staging of the event despite the services of the injured Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung.

Uzbekistan: Alexander Geynrikh 45' (PK), 53'

South Korea: Koo Ja-cheol 17', Ji Dong-won 28', 39'

DOHA // South Korea defeated Uzbekistan 3-2 at Al Sadd Stadium last night to finish third in the Asian Cup and secure a berth in the 2015 staging of the event.

Koo Ja-cheol notched his fifth goal of the tournament, making him the most prolific scorer with only today's championship match still to play, and Ji Dong-won scored twice as the Koreans surged to a 3-0 lead 39 minutes into the game and then withstood an Uzbek revival.

Alexander Geynrikh scored from the penalty spot just before half time and added a handsome goal in the 53rd minute to stanch the bleeding for the Uzbeks, who had conceded nine unanswered goals in 100 minutes, when their 6-0 semi-final thrashing at the hands of Australia is included.

Vadim Abramov, the Uzbekistan coach, changed out three of the four defenders as well as the goalkeeper who played in the Australia game. The new foursome were only marginally better, again allowing the

opposition to mount successful counterattacks.

The biggest difference for Uzbekistan was Geynrikh, the 26-year-old playmaker who missed the Australia game with an injury. He gave the Uzbeks a player who could hold the ball in tight spaces, as well as finish when he got a look at the goal, as he did in the second half when he squeezed between two defenders before scoring.

Park Ji-sung did not play for South Korea. The 29-year-old Manchester United midfielder was judged unfit for the match after playing most of the Koreans' two previous 120-minute games.

The fourth-place finish was the highest for an Uzbek team. South Korea twice have won the Asian Cup, but their last championship was in 1960. South Korea also finished third in the 2007 Asian Cup.