Chinese play and South Korean player contend in the the group match of 2019 Asian Cup at Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Jan. 16, 2019. (Photo/Osports)
China was beaten by the Republic of Korea (ROK) 2-0 in the group match of 2019 Asian Cup at Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. The ROK make it three victories from three of the group stage and scored four goals in total, while China finished second in group C with five goals and three conceded goals.
This was the fourth encounter between China and the ROK at the Asian Cup. China head coach Marcello Lippi made a number of changes, including resting top-scorer Wu Lei due to a shoulder injury while the ROK side unexpectedly put Son Heung-min in the starting lineup after the Tottenham Hotspur strike just arrived in the UAE on Monday afternoon.
The ROK started at a fierce pace and almost made a breakthrough as Hwang Ui-jo forced a double-save out of China's goalkeeper Yan Junling in the 6th minute.
It took Son Heung-min 12 minutes to make his first threat of the game, producing a moment of individual skill to win a penalty, which was converted by Hwang Ui-jo to a 1-0 lead.
China tried to rally seven minutes later through Jin Jingdao, who shot inside the box but rose above the crossbar. The ROK worked another good chance after 22 minutes when Hwang Ui-jo's shot beat the goalkeeper but hit the post.
Kim Min-jae, who scored the only goal to help the ROK squeeze past Kyrgyzstan, doubled the lead by a powerful header connecting a corner kick from Son Heung-min five minutes after the break.
Kim Moon-hwan missed the opportunity to hand the ROK a third goal in the 65th minute, and though China tried to respond, their efforts were undermined by a lack of quality in the final pass.
The other three matches on Wednesday night ended with the Kyrgyz Republic 3-1 the Philippines, Vietnam 2-0 Yemen, and Iran 0-0 Iraq, as the last two teams advanced to the Group of 16.
China will take on Group A runners-up Thailand in the knockout stage on January 20.