“I hope the players will keep their composure in the future,” said Hwang Sun-hong, head coach of the South Korean Asian Games soccer team, which reached the round of 16 with a convincing win over Bahrain.
Second-half goals from Lee Han-beom (Meatwillan), Baek Seung-ho (Jeonbuk) and Ko Young-joon (Pohang) gave South Korea a 3-0 win over Bahrain in the final Group E match of the tournament on Thursday at the Jinhua Sports Center Stadium in Zhejiang, China.
South Korea, which had already qualified for the round of 16 with convincing wins over Kuwait 9-0 in the first round and Thailand 4-0 in the second, ended the group stage with 16 goals without conceding a goal.
There was more than just victory, though.
Lee Kang-in, the “key player” in Korea’s three consecutive losses at the tournament, joined his teammates for the first time on the field. He started and played the first 36 minutes.
The team also organized the starting lineup around the players who did not play until the second game to ensure their stamina.
“I planned to play Lee Kang-in for about 30 minutes,” said Hwang. “He said he wanted to play more, but we distributed (the time) as we planned,” Hwang said.
Lee was deployed in the center of the second line.
“It’s hard to say everything, but I think it’s better to let him play a little more freely than to put him in a box,” Hwang said of Lee Kang-in’s future.
The three goals against Bahrain, which showed a higher level of defensive organization than Kuwait and Thailand, were also an achievement.
Other opponents are likely to be more defensive in the future. For Hwang, the victory should have given his players the confidence to take on any opponent.
“It’s the hardest to break a team that defends with a mindset,” said Hwang. “We wanted to be patient and keep controlling the game. I think the players did a good job with that.”
“The success of this tournament will depend on how well we control our psychology. It could be a one-goal game. We have to be good at that. I hope the players can keep their composure even when things get tough.” 파워볼게임