Qatar edges past South Korea to take third place playoff at U23 Asian Cup

By Staff reporters   January 26, 2018 | 03:16 am PT
One goal was enough to separate the teams after South Korea missed a penalty.

Qatar finished their 2018 AFC U23 Championship campaign with victory over South Korea in the third place playoff on Friday thanks to an Akram Afif goal in the 39th minute.

The match, which took place in freezing temperatures, began intensely but with little goal-mouth action in the opening 35 minutes.

South Korea had a golden opportunity to level the score in the second half, but Captain Hwang Hyun-soo's penalty was saved by Qatari goalkeeper Hassan.

Vietnam reached the final of the U23 Asian Cup by beating Qatar 4-3 on penalties on Tuesday, while their opponents Uzbekistan overcame South Korea 4-1 in their semifinal.

All eyes are now on the two title contenders and the final on Saturday.

Neither team has ever made it beyond the group stage of the biennial championship prior to this year. Previous winners include Japan in 2016, who lost 4-0 in this year’s quarterfinals to Uzbekistan, and Iraq in 2013 (when it was the AFC U22 Cup), who lost in the quarterfinals on penalties to none other than Vietnam.

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