Hwang Pleased With Korea Republic Improvement, China PR Display Satisfies Cheng

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) The Peninsula

Doha: When his side headed into the break with a one-goal lead against China PR on Friday at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium, Korea Republic head coach Hwang Sun-hong admitted he was a worried man at that point in time.

That was after their Group B opponents in the AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024TM had come close to scoring on numerous occasions, some as a result of defensive lapses, even if Lee Young-jun had broken the deadlock in the 35th minute with their only effort on target.

It led to Hwang making much-needed adjustments to Korea Republic's tactics and he was rewarded with an improved display after the restart, which saw the 2020 champions run out 2-0 winners.

“The first half was very tough for us and there were some bad situations, so I tried to make changes to the existing gameplan and strategy, in terms of our buildup and team organisation, and the players responded to my instructions,” the 55-year-old said.“And by replacing a couple of players in the second half, we produced good results and the players performed according to my plan.

“It was a tough match and we made mistakes today... We will look back on the game and will work on the things that need to be improved.”

Hwang would also be pleased with the performance of two-goal hero Lee, who was brought into the starting lineup after scoring the only goal in their opening win against the United Arab Emirates and responded with a strike in each half.

The 20-year-old, who was named the Most Valuable Player of the match, paid tribute to his teammates as well as Hwang, a fearsome striker during his playing days and the second all-time top scorer for the men's national team with 50 goals from 103 caps.

“Before the game we already expected a tough match and true enough we made some mistakes, but thanks to our goalkeeper's fantastic saves, we were able to win this game and I was able to score from two good chances,” the Gimcheon Sangmu attacker said.

“During training sessions, we work really hard on how to score goals with all the strikers in the team; of course, I have learned a lot from the head coach, he teaches us how to be efficient in scoring and I really thank him for imparting to us his skills and knowhow.”

The clinical nature of Korea Republic was in stark contrast to China PR, who failed to find the back of the net for the second consecutive match to be eliminated from the tournament.

However, Cheng Yaodong preferred to focus on the positives of their campaign, noting that his players could only benefit from the exposure to high-quality competition.

“Korea Republic are strong and their overall ability is much higher than ours,” the 56-year-old said.“And the fact that they took their chances and we could not take ours shows there is still a gap between us and them.

“They were more experienced and ruthless and it is something we can learn from... Both Japan and Korea Republic, who are in our group, are top teams in Asia and can be said to be world class as well, and to have the opportunity to play them is something to make the most of.

“Our players might be too inexperienced and lack composure, so we hope that by playing at such tournaments, they can learn and improve in future.”


The Peninsula

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