Son Heung-min stole the spotlight in a thrilling match that saw South Korea clinch a 2-1 extra-time victory over Australia, securing their spot in the AFC Asian Cup semi-finals. The game at Al Janoub Stadium on Friday evening was a rollercoaster of emotions, with Son Heung-min playing a pivotal role in the turnaround.
Australia displayed early prowess, as Craig Goodwin’s free-kick narrowly missed the dangerous Harry Souttar just three minutes into the match. Despite South Korea dominating possession early on, they struggled to create clear-cut chances. Australia, on the other hand, posed a threat on the counter, with Connor Metcalfe and Craig Goodwin testing South Korea’s goalkeeper, Jo Hyeon-woo.
The momentum shifted when Seol Young-woo set up Wolves striker Hwang Hee-chan, who thought he scored, only to be flagged offside after a VAR review. Australia capitalized on the opportunity, with Craig Goodwin volleying in a well-crafted goal from Nathaniel Atkinson’s cross, giving the Socceroos a lead.
The second half saw South Korea relentlessly pursuing an equalizer, with Lee Kang-in’s attempt easily gathered by Matty Ryan. Australia had their chances to seal the game, but Jo Hyeon-woo’s saves and missed opportunities by Mitchell Duke kept South Korea in contention.
Tottenham star Son Heung-min continued to press forward, facing a resilient Australian defense. The dramatic moment arrived in stoppage time as Son won a penalty, converted by Hwang Hee-chan, sending the game into extra time.
South Korea maintained dominance in the extra period, with Matty Ryan making crucial saves. In the 104th minute, Son Heung-min’s brilliance shone through as he curled a free-kick into the top corner, securing the victory. A red card for Australian substitute Aiden O’Neill further tilted the contest in favor of the Taegeuk Warriors.
In the end, South Korea’s dramatic win showcased their resilience and determination, setting the stage for a semi-final clash against Jordan in Qatar.