South Korea failed to score from three penalties as Japan
South Korea failed to score from three penalties as Japan qualified for the final of the Asian Cup on Tuesday after beating their rivals 3-0 on penalties . the game had ended 2-2 after extra time.
The Japanese goals were scored by Ryoichi Maeda and Hajime Hosogai, while Sung Yong Ki and Jae Won Hwang, with a last minute equalizer in extra time, scored for the South Koreans.
In the shoot-out Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima was the match winner for his side as he saved the spot-kicks from Ja Cheol Koo and Yong Rae Lee, while Jeong Ho Hong put his wide.
Yasuyuki Konno scored the decisive penalty for Japan, whose opponents in Saturday's final will be decided later Tuesday in the other semi-final match between Uzbekistan and Australia. In front of 16,000 spectators in the 22,000-seater Al Gharafa Stadium, the Koreans had the first chance of the game in the 16th minute when Kawashima had to be at his best to keep a Ki Sung Yueng free-kick out.
His save however landed on the head of Lee Chung Yong, who headed straight back goalwards, only to see Konno head off the line. Two minutes later Japan could have taken the lead when a cross from Yuto Nagatomo found the head of Shinji Okazaki.
Korean goalkeeper Sung Ryong Jung managed a diving save on his line and was then lucky as the ball trickled against the post. In the 23rd minute the Koreans took the lead when Konno shouldered Manchester United midfielder Park Ji Sung,
who was playing his 100th game for South Korea in the area and referee Khalil Al Ghamdi pointed to the spot. Sung Yong Ki made no mistake with the penalty. Japan were back on level terms in the 36th minute after a brilliant run into the area by Nagatomo, who had been set up by Keisuke Honda. Nagatomo took the ball past two defenders before laying back for Maeda,
who gave Sung Ryong Jung no chance. Maeda should have given his side the lead a minute from the break after a Honda pass beat the offside trap and gave the forward a clear shot at goal,
but he blasted well over. South Korea had two good opportunities in the second half, first coming close when Ja Cheol Koo penetrated the area, but hit the side netting with his shot.
Shortly afterwards Chung was brought down by Atsuto Uchida and Yong Rae Lee put the resultant free-kick just wide past the upright. Japan's best chance fell to Okazaki,
whose header from a cross by Honda however failed to beat Sung Ryong Jung. In extra-time Japan drew first blood in the 98th minute when they were awarded a penalty after Jae Won Hwang brought down Okazaki. Honda stepped up to take the penalty,
but saw his weak shot saved by Sung Ryong Jung. However, substitute Hajime Hosigai was the fastest to follow-up and slammed the ball into the back of the net.
In the last minute of the game the Koreans were given one last roll of the dice after substitute Takuya Honda, who had just a few minutes earlier been brought on to kill time, fouled Yong.
Sung Yong Ki floated the ball into the area, resulting in a goalmouth scramble, during which the Japanese failed to clear the ball and Jae managed to find the back of the net,
forcing the game into the penalty shoot-out, where Japan prevailed to qualify for their fourth Asia Cup final - having won all three previous ones.