We have reached the semi-finals of the AFC Asian Cup with the first of the two matches taking place out in Qatar on Tuesday as the outsiders Jordan go up against the much-fancied South Korea in an intriguing clash.
These two met in the second match of their tournament when they played out a 2-2 draw and it will be interesting to see if this one is as close or whether finally South Korea show their class and actually dominate an opponent.
Jordan are the lowest ranked team remaining in the competition but they have been throwing the world rankings out of sync for a while in this tournament. They opened up their event with an emphatic 4-0 win over Malaysia and haven’t really looked back. A good draw with South Korea, where they led right up until deep into injury time, followed that and although they lost their last group game they already know they were through to the knockout stage by then.
Jordan have come through both their knockout matches inside 90 minutes. Iraq were the first one to be knocked out by Jordan when they went down 3-2 before Tajikistan were then sent packing in the quarter final to reach the semi-final for the first time in their history. While Jordan have done well they have ridden their luck. They needed two goals deep into injury time to see off Iraq and it was an own goal that got them past Tajikistan.
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South Korea went into the tournament as one of the favourites to win it and while they still have the chance to come good on those expectations, they might need to improve if they are going to go all the way in this competition because they really haven’t impressed to date, winning just one of their five matches inside 90 minutes and needing penalties in the first knockout match and extra time to come through the second one. While you can’t criticise them for perseverance, surely they need to stop riding their luck.
The surprising thing about South Korea in this tournament is that they haven’t kept a single clean sheet. I’ve never been convinced by them under Jurgen Klinsmann but when you consider that they have conceded twice to Jordan and three times to Malaysia in the group stages, and then needed goals deep into injury time to force extra time in both knockout games. There is no shortage of quality in the attacking areas of this South Korea side but they are struggling at the other end.
I keep waiting for South Korea to do a job on someone but they continue to flatter to deceive. I guess you could make an argument that both teams are extremely fortunate to still be in the tournament with the amount of late goals they have needed to get the job done, especially in the knockout stages, and maybe that might allow for a more open game but I suspect it might go the other way, especially for Jordan, who are making history already and who have a huge chance to make an Asian Cup final.
I’m still not convinced by South Korea though and if Jordan sit in and look to hit them on the counterattack I wouldn’t be surprised if the favourites struggle to break them down. This doesn’t feel like a match where South Korea are going to be desperate to run up the score so Jordan on the +1 Asian line feels like the way to go with this one because even a South Korea one goal win inside 90 minutes gets us our money back. If Jordan score in this match I’ve seen little from South Korea to suggest that they will score three and with the favourites yet to keep a clean sheet in the tournament you would imagine Jordan will fancy their chances of scoring. This Asian line feels a quarter of a goal too big to me.
Back Jordan (+1AH) to beat South Korea for a 3/10 stake at 1.95 with Bet365