Dark South Koreans move on to next phase after Yoo tribute

HONG KONG: South Korea paid tribute to World Cup hero Yoo Sang-chul as Paulo Bento’s side secured their place in the next phase of Asia’s 2022 World Cup qualifying tournament on Wednesday with a 5-0 victory over Sri Lanka in Goyang.

The 10 World Cup qualifiers took a three-point lead over second-placed Lebanon in Group H after the Lebanese lost 3-2 to Turkmenistan earlier in the day.

The results mean Lebanon are set to beat the Koreans by a nine-goal margin on Sunday to overtake them at the top of the table and automatically take a berth in the next round.

However, South Korea’s 13 points are still enough to secure them one of the five available places in the next round awarded to the best runners-up of the eight groups.

This means the Koreans join Japan and Syria as the only nations to have reserved their places in the 12-team third phase.

Kim Shin-wook put the Koreans ahead after 15 minutes and led his teammates in a grim on-pitch tribute to Yoo, one of South Korea’s riders in 2002 for the FIFA Cup semi-finals. world, died Monday at the age of 49 from cancer.

The players gathered at the halfway line to post a No. 6 jersey bearing the name of the midfielder.

Lee Dong-gyeong doubled his team’s lead when he swept his 22nd-minute effort into the top skylight and Kim scored Korea’s third goal from the penalty spot two minutes before half-time.

Hwang Hee-chan added a fourth in the 53rd minute and debutant Jeong Sang-bin completed the victory 13 minutes from time with a close range finish.

Lebanon’s qualifying hopes were hit hard when Jamal Taha’s side suffered an unexpected loss to Turkmenistan.

Zafar Babajanow put the Central Asian side ahead just before the hour mark, but two spectacular goals in as many minutes gave Lebanon the advantage.

Rabih Ataya broke through the Turkmen defense before slipping his low shot in the 74th minute and Hassan Saad gave Lebanon the lead with a ranged strike that found the top corner.

With five minutes remaining, Guychmyrat Annaguliev equalized the scores while Lebanese Nour Mansour was sent off and, one minute after added time, Altymyrat Annadurdyyew scored the game-winning goal for Turkmenistan. – Reuters

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