No ceremony for a fantastic free kick… Lee Kang-in silently ran to the center line.

Lee Kang-in has saved Jürgen Klinsmann’s job.

Klinsmann’s men’s national team drew 3-3 with Malaysia in their third Group E match of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Qatar Asian Cup 2023 at Al Janub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar on Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET.

South Korea lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. Cho Hyun-woo was in goal, while Seol Young-woo, Kim Young-kwon, Kim Min-jae, and Kim Tae-hwan were in the defense. Jung Woo-young, Hwang In-beom, Lee Jae-sung, and Lee Kang-in were in the second line, with Son Heung-min and Cho Kyu-sung up front.

In the early stages of the first half, with the game tightly contested, a chance came for Cho Kyu-sung. In the seventh minute, a free kick was awarded in the Korean camp, and Kim Min-jae connected with the penetrating Cho Kyu-sung at once. Cho took a long touch on the one-on-one opportunity, but was unable to connect with his shot.

Korea was unable to break through Malaysia’s tight defense. Malaysia’s use of a five-back gave Korea no space and at times made it difficult for Korea to press forward. In fact, there were a few times when the Korean defense was rattled by Maleingsia’s counterattacks.

South Korea had the first chance of the game in the 12th minute, when Seol Young-woo stripped the defense on the left flank and sent in a cross that was met with a header from the center. Two minutes later, Son Heung-min dribbled into the penalty box and attempted a left-footed shot that was saved by the goalkeeper.

South Korea’s struggles were rewarded with an early goal. In the 20th minute, Lee Kang-in’s cross was headed in by Jung Woo-young. The goalkeeper made the save, but the video assistant referee (VAR) ruled that the ball crossed the goal line. South Korea then took control of the game, but failed to score a second goal.

They eventually conceded the equalizer early in the second half. Malaysia had the first chance when Hwang In-Bum cleared the ball out of the penalty box after pressing forward. In the ensuing scramble, Harim found the back of the net. There was a video review (PK) for a foul on Hwang In-beom, but the referee declared it a goal.

Korea’s woes continued. In the 13th minute of the second half, Seol Young-woo hit Malaysia’s Arif in the defense and a VAR was conducted for a penalty kick (PK). After an on-field review, the referee awarded the PK. Arif stepped up to take the kick and converted it perfectly to turn the tide.

With the pressure on, South Korea scored again from a set piece. In the 37th minute of the second half, a free kick was awarded near the penalty box, and Lee Kang-in headed it home to tie the game. After scoring, Lee quickly ran to the center circle without any ceremony. There was little to celebrate about the narrowly missed equalizer.

South Korea continued to push Malaysia and had a chance to equalize in the second overtime. Oh Hyun-kyu won a PK and Son Heung-min stepped up to take the kick, which he converted cleanly. A free kick from Lee Kang-in turned the game on its head, but Korea was unable to hold on for the win as they conceded in the dying minutes.


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