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S. Korea to face Qatar in the quarterfinals

January 23, 2019

Next up: Qatar.

South Korea’s quest for their first Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup title in 59 years will continue Friday in the quarterfinals against Qatar. The kickoff at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi is 5 p.m. local time, or 10 p.m. in Seoul.

South Korea are 53rd in the current FIFA rankings, 40 spots above Qatar. The Taeguk Warriors also have the superior head-to-head record with five wins, two draws and two losses, though Qatar won their most recent meeting 3-2 during the Asian qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in June 2017.

South Korean players leave the field after defeating Bahrain 2-1 in the round of the 16 at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup at Rashid Stadium in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, on Jan. 22, 2019. (Yonhap)
In this Associated Press photo, Qatar's players celebrate their 1-0 win over Iraq in the round of the 16 at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup at Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Jan. 22, 2019. (Yonhap)

South Korean players leave the field after defeating Bahrain 2-1 in the round of the 16 at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup at Rashid Stadium in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, on Jan. 22, 2019. (Yonhap)

Both teams won their round of 16 matches on Tuesday by the narrowest of margins. South Korea squeezed past Bahrain 2-1 in extra time on Tuesday in Dubai, with Kim Jin-su scoring the winner in the 107th minute. Hours later in Abu Dhabi, Qatar blanked Iraq 1-0.

South Korea won Group C with a perfect 3-0-0 record against the Philippines, Kyrgyzstan and China. South Korea scored four goals and conceded none.

Qatar also ran the table to take the top seed in Group E over Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and North Korea. Qatar scored 10 goals, more than any other team in the group stage, without giving up any.

South Korea and Qatar were the only two nations to win all three group matches without allowing a goal.

The clean-sheet streak was snapped for South Korea Tuesday, when they were outplayed by the 113th-ranked Bahrain for most of the second half.

South Korea boss Paulo Bento said he wasn’t pleased with the team’s effort in the mistake-ridden victory. In all four wins so far, South Korea enjoyed dominant ball possession rates but had trouble finishing chances around the net.

South Korea will be playing in their seventh consecutive quarterfinals at the Asian Cup.

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