S. Korea coach ‘pleased’ for players after shock victory at Women’s Asian Cup

SEOUL-- Following South Korea's stunning 1-0 victory over Australia at the top Asian women's football competition Sunday, head coach Colin Bell said he was "pleased" for his players that their hard work finally paid off.

Ji So-yun's 87th-minute wonder goal lifted South Korea past Australia 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women's Asian Cup at Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune, India. In addition to a ticket to the semifinals, South Korea also booked a place at the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.

This AFC event is also serving as the final Asian qualifying round for the big tournament, with the top five countries advancing. By reaching the semifinals in India, South Korea will be making their third consecutive World Cup appearance and their fourth overall.

"I am so pleased for my players. The girls have invested so much over the last two years," Bell said. "It was time to beat one of the big teams. Thankfully, today was the day."

At No. 11, Australia were the highest-ranked team in the tournament, seven spots above South Korea. And in previous meetings, South Korea only had two wins against Australia, along with two draws and 13 losses.

And while Australia held the edge in ball possession, South Korea made their one moment of brilliance count.

Ji, the goal scorer, said she was "proud" of her teammates for battling from start to finish.

"It was a tough match, and it means that much more to us that we beat such a strong team," she said. "But we're going to celebrate only tonight, and we'll do our best to reach the final."

South Korea have not yet won the Women's Asian Cup. Their best showing to date is the third-place finish in 2003.

South Korea could have taken a lead in the first half, but Cho So-hyun misfired on a penalty in the 40th minute. Bell said he only talked briefly about it at halftime.

"I give all the credit to the players, because they put it behind them," he said. "Cho always plays 100 percent. Today, in the second half, she went over that. I've been trying to convince the players to believe in themselves. It was a difficult first half today, and we came back to win the game."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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