South Korea shoot Iran out

Kuala Lumpur, July 22:

Skipper Lee Woon-jae made two crucial saves in the shootout on Sunday and South Korea advanced to the Asian Cup semi-finals with a 4-2 win on penalties over Iran.

After a scoreless 120 minutes, Kim Jung-woo slotted his spot kick to seal the Koreans a win.

In Jakarta, the woodwork and a linesman’s flag helped Saudi Arabia beat Uzbekistan 2-1. Uzbekistan clattered the frame of the goal five times and had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside.

In semi-finals, Japan play Saudi Arabia and Iraq face South Korea. Defending champions Japan edged Australia 4-3 on penalties and Iraq beat Vietnam 2-0 on Saturday.

South Korea and Iran both had chances in soggy conditions after torrential afternoon storms soaked Bukit Jalil National Stadium.

Javad Nekounam went within an inch of giving Iran a lead in the extra time when his right-foot drive from the top of the area shaved the outside of the left post. And South Korean captain Lee saved a long-range strike from his Iranian counterpart Mehdi Mahdavikia two minutes into the last period.

It was Lee’s save against Mahdavikia to keep South Korea’s 2-1 lead in the shootout. Iran’s substitute goalkeeper Vahid Taleblou saved the next shot to keep the margin at 2-1 but Lee made another save on Rasoul Khatabi’s effort with the tally at 3-2 to set up the win. Kim calmly finished it off.