“We won the game, but were one goal down. It’s important that we turned the tide.”
Hwang Sun-hong, the head coach of the Korea Olympic Football Team (U-23), who has been facing both worries and expectations, said at a press conference after the team’s 1-0 victory over Kyrgyzstan in the second match of the U-23 Asian Cup Group B qualifier at the Changwon Football Center Ju Stadium at 8 p.m. on Sept. 9 that it was meaningful to change the team’s mood. Hwangsun Hongho will qualify for the knockout stages by finishing first in the group with a draw against Myanmar in the final match on Sept. 12.
South Korea is competing in the Under-22 group stage of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Asian Cup in Qatar next April. A total of 16 teams will qualify for the tournament, including the first-place team from each of the 11 qualifying groups, the top four teams from the second-place groups, and host Qatar. The top three teams will represent Asia at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games next July. The fourth-place finisher will play a playoff against the fourth-place African qualifier.
Hwang Sun-hong’s U-23 team will be looking to become the first team in the world to qualify for 10 consecutive Olympic Games with a top finish at the Asian Cup. In the last edition of the tournament, South Korea made history by qualifying for the ninth time in a row.
However, the team’s prospects were dimmed by a 0-2 loss to hosts Qatar in their first Group B match. Qatar are the hosts of the U-23 Asian Cup, and while the result will not affect the group standings, the team was criticized for losing the game at home. Kyrgyzstan drew 1-1 with Myanmar in their first game.
A win in the second leg could be seen as a turnaround, but the lack of a convincing victory in front of their home fans continued to be a concern. South Korea contrasted with Qatar, who won their second game in a row with a 2-0 victory over Myanmar, with Hwang Sun-hong going 1-1.
“We won the game, but I’m disappointed with the one-goal score,” said Hwang Sun-hong, “but after the first game, the mood was dark, and the players did a good job today. We need to prepare well for the next game and finish it off.” After the first game against Qatar, Hwang said he emphasized positivity to his players. “We are young players, so we need to play (the game) 바카라 with a dynamic and active mindset rather than static. In the first game, we didn’t have much movement or anything. Since we were playing at home, we said, ‘Let’s be active and bold,’ and we were better than in the first game.”
On this day, Hwang put all but four of the players from the first match (Cho Sung-kwon, Cho Woo-je, Lee Tae-seok, and Oh Jae-hyuk) into the game with new faces. The team also focused on attacking from the flanks. In the first three minutes of the game, the newcomers, Jung Sang-bin and Hong Yoon-sang, scored the first goal, fulfilling Hwang’s expectations. “We were able to find a way forward thanks to the active movements of Jung Sang-bin and Hong Yun-sang, and (the players) did their best in a difficult situation,” said Hwang.