A sloppy defense cost South Korea on the first gateway to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Hwang’s South Korea U-22 team fell 0-2 to Qatar in their first match of Group B at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Asian Cup 2024 on Saturday at the Changwon Football Center in Gyeongnam, South Korea.
Hwang Sun-hong was exposed for his sloppy defense as the team created few threats in attack except in the early stages of the first half.
After a series of defensive mistakes midway through the first half, Hwang conceded in the 38th minute.
A long ball from behind was chested down by Qatar’s frontline striker Ahmed Alawi and he immediately struck a right-footed mid-range shot for the opening goal.
Even after that, Hwang was shaky.
A defensive mistake in the 40th minute almost gave the opposing striker a chance to shoot inside the penalty area. Fortunately, goalkeeper Baek Jong-beom was quick to react and make the save.
Two minutes later, a threatening forward pass from Abdulaziz Hassan threatened the Korean defense. There were four Korean players around Hassan, but none of them were able to stop him or cut off his pass. Had his pass found the toe of Alawi, it could have been 0-2 in no time.
South Korea’s inability to clamp down on the back door eventually cost them another goal in the 22nd minute, thanks to a silly mistake by the defense.
A throw-in was collected by Tamim Mansour Al-Abdullah with a backheader from the right side of the penalty area, but the ball floated in an awkward position inside the goal area and Baek Jong-beom (Seoul) was unable to handle it, allowing it to go straight into the net.
This could have been avoided if the defenders had been smarter in competing for the header while the ball was bound high before Baek’s mistake.
On offense, Gwangju FC’s “Young Gun Duo” Um Ji Sung and Heo Yul briefly stood out early in the first half.
The left back and striker have been at the forefront of Gwangju FC’s third-place “high-flying” run this season. In the league alone, Um has four goals and two assists, while Heo has two goals and two assists.
Uhm and Heo helped create several near-goals in the first half.
In the 15th minute, Um’s penetrating pass and Heo’s cross led to a shot by Jeon Byung-gwan (Daejeon) on the right side of the goal. It was unfortunate that the shot was not well placed and went wide of the goal.
However, after the momentum shifted in Qatar’s favor in the middle of the first half, the Gwangju duo was unable to deliver the ball.
Several inaccurate passes from the midfield were intercepted, some of which led to Qatar’s counterattacks.
Hwang Sun-hong made some aggressive substitutions in the second half, bringing on Hong Yun-sang (Pohang) and Lee Hyun-joo (Wiesbaden), but it didn’t have much effect.
Qatar will automatically qualify for the tournament as the hosts of the U-23 Asian Cup. Qatar’s record in the qualifiers does not count towards the group standings. Qatar is the ‘crown jewel’ of the tournament.
Therefore, today’s match is just a ‘friendly’. That’s a good thing for Hwang Sun-hong.
Qatar’s head coach, Ildidiu Baller, was appointed on the 9th of last month. He has been leading the team for less than a month.
Hwang took over two years ago in September 2021. 파워볼