Korea’s Kim Eun-jung-ho moved one step closer to reaching the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup. Back-to-back goals from Lee Young-joon (Gimcheon Commerce) and Bae Jun-ho (Daejeon Hana Citizen) gave South Korea a 2-1 lead over Ecuador at halftime. With a win in the second half, South Korea will face Nigeria for a spot in the semifinals.
Kim Eun-joong’s South Korea U-20 team went into halftime with a 2-1 lead over Ecuador in their FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 Round of 16 match at the Santiago del Estero Stadium in Santiago, Argentina, at 6:00 a.m. ET on Sunday (June 2), setting themselves up nicely for the quarterfinals.
The balance was broken 11 minutes into the first half. The first shot of the game was on target for both teams. It was Lee Young-joon who found the back of the net. Bae Joon-ho, who was digging down the left flank, delivered a right-footed cross from the left side of the penalty box to Lee Young-joon, who found space behind the defense. After chest trapping, Lee rattled the opponent’s net with a right-footed shot. It was his second goal of the tournament 안전놀이터.
After taking control of the game, Kim Eun-jung-ho scored another goal in the 19th minute. This time, Bae Jun-ho was the hero. After a throw-in on the right flank, Park Chang-woo (Jeonbuk Hyundai) sent a straight cross from the right flank to Bae Jun-ho at the front of the arc. With an exquisite trapping move with his right foot, Bae neutralized both the goalkeeper and defenders with a concise run inside the penalty box. He then rattled the net with his right foot. After assisting on Lee Young-joon’s goal, Bae Jun-ho racked up multiple offensive points on the day.
Cornered, Ecuador went on the offensive, but Korea’s defensive focus was not easily distracted. Rather, they used quick counterattacks centered on Kim Yong-hak (Portimonense) to find the back of the net. Kim Yong-hak intercepted a ball on the right flank in the 25th minute to set up a direct counterattack, then took a bold left-footed shot from the front of the arc that went just wide of the goal.
South Korea was unfortunate to concede a goal on a penalty kick (PK) in the 36th minute. Park Chang-woo was adjudged to have brought down an opponent with his hand while stopping a counterattack. After a lengthy back-and-forth with the VAR office, the referee who initially awarded the PK decided to conduct his own on-field review, but the PK was not overturned. Kicker Justin Cuero’s PK rattled the Korean net.
Despite conceding the goal, Korea’s focus remained strong for the remainder of the first half. They held on to their 2-1 lead and headed into the second half with an advantage. If they can hold on for the win in the second half, South Korea will advance to the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup for the sixth time in their history and the first time in two tournaments.
Meanwhile, South Korea deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation with Lee Young-joon up front and Bae Jun-ho, Lee Seung-won (Gangwon FC), and Kim Yong-hak in the second line. Kang Sang-yoon (Jeonbuk) and Park Hyun-bin (Incheon United) lined up in the midfield, while Choi Ye-hoon (Busan I-Park), Kim Ji-soo (Seongnam FC), Choi Seok-hyun (Dankook University), and Park Chang-woo formed the defense and Kim Jun-hong (Gimcheon) guarded the goal.