Kim Eun-Joong leads Korea past Ecuador to reach the quarterfinals.
South Korea’s U-20 national team advanced to the quarterfinals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 with a 3-2 victory over Ecuador in the Round of 16 at the Santiago del Estero Stadium in Santiago del Estero, Argentina, kickoff at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday (June 2).
It was the second consecutive quarterfinal appearance for the team, the first coming in Poland four years ago.
With defeat in the knockout rounds meaning immediate elimination, Kim fielded a best 11 with his best resources. Lee Young-joon was up front, while Bae Joon-ho and Kim Yong-hak formed the attacking line. In the center, Kang Sang-yoon, Lee Seung-won, and Park Hyun-bin formed the midfield, while Park Chang-woo, Kim Ji-su, Choi Seok-hyun, and Choi Ye-hoon formed the back four. Kim Jun-hong was the starting goalkeeper.
South Korea started the game calmly and scored the first goal in the 11th minute. Bae Joon-ho’s penetrating pass from the left side of the penalty box was trapped by Lee Young-joon with his chest before he unleashed a powerful right-footed volley that rattled the net. The goal was a combination of Bae’s creative and accurate passing, Young Jun’s sharp penetration and excellent finishing.
Riding high, South Korea made it 2-0 in the 19th minute. Bae Jun-ho won the ball in front of the arc circle and used his individual skill to beat his defender to create a crucial chance, which he scored with a precise right-footed shot. His individual ability to completely strip a defender with a single painting move and take away the goalkeeper’s timing stood out.
South Korea, who had been cruising through the game, conceded a penalty in the 36th minute. Park Chang-woo fouled an opposing striker with an unnecessary hand inside the box. After conducting an on-field review, the referee finally awarded the penalty kick. The kicker, Justin Cuero, was unable to stop Kim Joon-hong, and South Korea conceded a late goal.
South Korea then gave up the lead to Ecuador, but did not allow them to equalize. They went into halftime with a one-goal lead with eight minutes of extra time remaining.
South Korea started the second half with no substitutions and took a two-goal lead, 3-1, within three minutes. Lee Seung-won’s corner kick from the left was met by Choi Seok-hyun with a powerful header. The promised set piece was once again on display.
With a two-goal lead again, South Korea settled into a steady game. They focused on defending and protecting rather than trying to attack too much. In the 16th minute of the second half, they took off midfielder Lee Seung-won and brought on defender Hwang In-taek to strengthen their defense.
Ecuador pushed forward to catch up, and Korea conceded a goal in the 39th minute. After failing to clear the ball properly on a corner kick, Sebastian Gonzalez scored to cut the deficit to one goal.
This could have given the momentum to their opponents, but South Korea remained focused and didn’t concede any more goals. They held on for the win in stoppage time. 메이저놀이터
South Korea’s next opponent in the quarterfinals is African powerhouse Nigeria. The match will take place on May 5 at 2:30 a.m. in Santiago del Estero.