|Go Jae-Hyeon teamed up with Lee Kyu-Hyuk in frustrating the U23 Azkals' defense. AFC|
MANILA--The U23 Azkals' campaign in the AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualifiers did not go off to the start everyone would want after reigning Asian Cup champion South Korea scored a win in the first match of Group H play on Monday night at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.
Despite the defeat, however, the Azkals kept the South Koreans at bay for the entire first half especially with goalie Quincy Kammeraad making his presence felt early on with huge saves before the latter got its offense going in the second half.
Scoreless for over 50 minutes, South Korea finally scored in the 52nd minute when Lee Kyu-Hyuk sneaked in a header from close range off a Go Jae-Hyeon cross.
Go returned the favor to Lee in the 72nd minute when he found him wide open from just outside the goalmouth to make it 2-0.
The substitutes then showed their might in the endgame when Seo Jin-Su found Park Jeong-In from almost the same spot where Go scored his goal for the 89th-minute dagger.
The U23 Azkals, who struggled offensively almost all game long, got their best chance at goal in the 83rd minute when Jens Rasmussen only had Lee Gwang-Yeon to beat inside the box, but Rasmussen failed to control his first touch and Lee grabbed the ball in safety.
South Korea will next face Timor Leste, while the U23 Azkals will challenge Group H bubble host Singapore in the next pair of games, both happening on Thursday night.
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