AFC Asian Cup: S. Korea salvages late draw, Bahrain edges Malaysia

Yazan Alarab (1st R) of Jordan scores an own goal during the Group E match against South Korea at AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 in Doha, Qatar, Jan. 20, 2024. (Xinhua/Jiang Han)

No team has advanced from Group E of the AFC Asian Cup yet as South Korea drew with Jordan, while Bahrain beat Malaysia.

DOHA, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) — A last-minute own goal gifted South Korea a 2-2 draw against Jordan in Group E of the AFC Asian Cup here on Saturday.

After both teams notched convincing victories in the first round, Jordan was close to repeating a surprising victory over the tournament’s favorite, as Iraq had stunned the Asian top seed Japan 2-1 on Friday.

Despite Son Heung-min converting an early penalty in the ninth minute, the Jordanians fought back with two goals in the last minutes of the first half, as Park Yong-woo conceded an own goal in a corner, and Yazan Al Naimat volleyed home from distance in injury time.

The relentless efforts from South Korea finally paid off in the 92nd minute, when Hwang In-beom had a shot that Yazan Al Arab deflected into his own goal.

“We expected a difficult game and we got a difficult game. Those are the games that you learn a lot from,” said South Korea’s coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Mohamed Adel (front L) of Bahrain vies against Paulo Josue of Malaysia during their Group E match at AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 in Doha, Qatar, Jan. 20, 2024. (Xinhua/Jia Haocheng)

The German also praised his players’ response to avoid a huge upset. “It’s important to see that when things don’t work out how the players react. That was what I was really pleased with.”

Also in Group E, a late goal from Ali Madan helped Bahrain beat Malaysia 1-0 to keep alive the victor’s hopes of advancing to the knockout stage.

Madan lashed home with the outside of his left foot in the 95th minute, after the Malaysian defenders failed to clear out a corner kick.

Jordan and South Korea now have four points each to lead the group, ahead of Bahrain with three points and Malaysia who has suffered two defeats in a row.

Jordan will take on Bahrain in the final round of the group phase next Thursday, with South Korea set to meet Malaysia.

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