A ‘disappointing draw’ that failed to capitalize on numerical advantage as the ‘Little Taeguk Warriors’ crossed the sixth hurdle to reach the Round of 16 for the third consecutive tournament.
South Korea failed to capitalize on their numerical advantage and drew 2-2 with Honduras in their second Group F match at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 at the Mendoza Stadium in Mendoza, Argentina on Saturday (June 26). The 1-1 draw (4 points) leaves South Korea second in Group F behind Gambia (2 wins, 6 points).
However, they have secured at least third place in the group. The tournament features 24 teams divided into six groups of four, with the round of 16 consisting of the 12 best-placed teams from each group and the four best-performing teams from the third-place group. Teams with a 1-1 draw will qualify for the round of 16 as a ‘wild card’.
The first half was dominated by two video assistant referees (VARs). Kim Eun-jung-ho was awarded a penalty kick on the first VAR, giving Korea the lead. On the second VAR, the opposing player was sent off. The second half also started off badly. They conceded the second goal first.
Then Korea came back. Kim Yong-hak and Park Seung-ho scored a relay goal, but they fell 2% short of the comeback.
Kim Eun-jung opted for a 4-4-2 system. Compared to France, he made one change. Lee Chan-wook was replaced by Bae Jun-ho. Lee Young-joon and Kang Sang-yoon lined up in the top two, while Kang Sung-jin, Lee Seung-won, Bae Jun-ho, and Kim Yong-hak lined up in the midfield. In the back four, Bae Seo-joon, Kim Ji-soo, Choi Seok-hyun, and Park Chang-woo. Kim Jun-hong was in goal.
Coach Kim went with a more advanced lineup. Honduras caught a break in the 10th minute. Marco Aseituno went down. He twisted his right ankle while catching the ball. He played another seven minutes before being replaced by Daniel Carter.
Honduras had the call overturned. Carter earned a penalty kick as soon as he came on. He collided with Choi Seok-hyun on the right side of the goal area. The referee didn’t call a foul, but a penalty kick was awarded after VAR. David Ochoa stepped up to take the penalty kick. Kim Jun-hong got his head on the ball and touched it, but it went in.
Honduras’ jubilation was short-lived. Three minutes later, Ochoa hit Bae Seo-joon during a ball contest. The referee pulled out a yellow card, but the VAR referee once again restrained him. After the VAR, the referee showed Ochoa a red card instead of canceling the warning. Ochoa had the dishonor of joining the Garinsha Club (leaving after scoring a goal) 스포츠토토.
South Korea used their numerical advantage to push for an equalizer. But the Honduran wall down the line was high. The players’ bodies also looked heavy. Their steps were heavy as they made more mistakes. In the 32nd minute, they almost conceded another goal.
Still, the Taeguk Warriors held the key. In the 42nd minute, Kim Yong-hak’s powerful left-footed shot was blocked by the goalkeeper. Kim Yong-hak tried to find the back of the net in stoppage time, but was unsuccessful.
Coach Kim took off Bae Seo-joon and brought on Choi Ye-hoon at the start of the second half. It was a total offense. Kang Sung-jin had a shot on goal two minutes into the second half after outrunning the opposition defenders, but it was blocked by their defense.
However, they conceded a second goal in the sixth minute of the second half on a counterattack. Isaac Castillo’s routine mid-range shot from Carter’s pass hit Kim Jun-hong and went straight into the back of the net. Kim had made a number of saves against France to keep expectations in check, but this was not to be the day.
Kim freshened things up in the eighth minute of the second half by bringing on Cho Young-kwang and Park Seung-ho for Bae Jun-ho and Park Chang-woo, and the long-awaited goal came in the 13th minute. Kim Yong-hak opened the scoring with a left-footed shot off a ball from Lee Young-joon.
Once the Honduran goal was open, there was no more roughing it. Four minutes later, the equalizer came. Lee Seung-ho headed a corner kick from Lee Seung-won into the back of the net. However, Park Seung-ho had to be replaced by Lee Seung-jun two minutes later due to injury.
The onslaught continued. However, they were not so lucky as they hit the crossbar in the 40th minute. Lee Young-joon also had a shot blocked by the goalkeeper in stoppage time. In the seventh minute of stoppage time, Choi Seok-hyun was sent off for two cautions, completely ruining any chance of an upset.
Earlier in the day, the Gambia and France in the same group had another upset. The Gambia, who swept aside Honduras in the first round, came from behind to beat France 2-1 and book their place in the round of 16 with a second straight win. France’s second straight loss puts them at the bottom of the group.
South Korea will play the Gambia in their final group game on Monday.