South Korea defeat against Indonesia due to coach's arrogance: media

By Hoang An   April 25, 2024 | 11:54 pm PT
South Korea defeat against Indonesia due to coach's arrogance: media
South Korea head coach Hwang Sun-hong before the U23 Asian Cup quarterfinals against Indonesia on April 26, 2024. Photo by KFA
South Korean media criticized the home team's defeat on penalties against Indonesia in the U23 Asian Cup quarter-finals, claiming coach Hwang Sun-hong underestimated the opponents by putting many key players on the bench.

For the first time in 40 years, South Korea will not participate in Olympic men's football, after losing to Indonesia in the quarter-finals on Thursday night.

The Southeast Asian team had 21 shots in this match, nearly three times more than South Korea in the 2-2 draw.

South Korea received two red cards, one for striker Lee Young-jun and one for coach Hwang Sun-hong. They were still able to take the match to a penalty shootout, but ultimately lost 11-10

South Korean newspaper Osen said coach Hwang made mistakes that cost the team the match.

"Three complacent changes and a player rotation out of arrogance, Hwang shocked everyone in Doha and made South Korea lose its 40-year streak," the paper wrote.

The article blamed Hwang for only calling up three proper defenders for the tournament, making South Korea defense unable to stand firm against Indonesia, despite keeping a clean sheet in the group stage.

Lee Young-jun, the striker who scored three of South Korea's four goals at the tournament, was benched in the quarterfinals. Midfielder Jeong Sang-bin, who’s playing in the U.S. football league did not start either.

"Hwang must be responsible for the result," Osen said. "His decision to change three players in the lineup was wrong. Why did South Korea made 11 crosses in the first half without a tall striker like Lee Young-jun (1.93 m) on the field? That is a consequence of being arrogant and the price is Olympic qualification."

After being down 2-1 at halftime, coach Hwang put Young-jun, Sang-bin and Kang Sang-yoon on at the start of the second half. After Young-jun received a straight red card, Sang-bin equalized 2-2 for South Korea.

In the penalty shootout, Lee Kang-hee could not beat goalkeeper Ernando Ari in the 12th shot, while Pratama Arhan scored to send Indonesia to the semifinals.

Another South Korean newspaper, Hansbiz, also criticized Hwang for the defeat at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium, Qatar.

"Hwang left a fatal stain on his managerial career," it wrote. "The team have been eliminated, and his position as interim coach of the national team is under question. The Korean Football Federation must also take responsibility for not choosing the right person and letting the fans down."

This is South Korea's first defeat against Indonesia at the U23 level, after five wins. Korea Daily called this match the "Doha disaster" and praised coach Shin Tae-yong's "miracle" for bringing Indonesia to the semi-finals.

Shin and his team are now just one match away from qualifying for the Olympics.

They will meet Uzbekistan or Saudi Arabia in the semi-finals on April 29. If they lose, the team still has a chance to go to Paris, in the third-place playoff on May 2.

Even if they lose that game, Indonesia still can compete for a ticket to Paris with African team Guinea in the continental playoff.

U23 Asian Cup highlights: South Korea vs Indonesia

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