Cho Kyu-sung (Mit Whelan), the “Hero in the Round of 16,” expressed his feelings at the time of the thrilling equalizer.
South Korea, led by coach Jürgen Klinsmann, had a 1-1 tie in the match against Saudi Arabia, a powerhouse in the Middle East, at the Education Stadium in Al-Raiyan, Qatar, at 1 a.m. on Saturday (Korea time). However, the team won the match 4-2 in the shootout.
The winner of the match was Cho Kyu-sung. Korea was in danger of losing the match. Saudi striker Abdullah Hadi Ladif (Al-Shabab) scored the first goal in the first minute of the second half. The defense instantly collapsed. In a one-on-one confrontation with goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo, Radif did not miss it and calmly shook the net. However, Korea had Cho Kyu-sung. In the 99th minute of the second half, when there was only one minute left until the end of the match, Korea scored a dramatic equalizer. After receiving a cross from the right side, Seol Young-woo (Ulsan HD) headed for the goal. At this time, Cho Kyu-sung flew up. He overcame strong pressure from the opponent team’s defense and shot a header. It was a goal. Thanks to this, Korea beat Saudi Arabia in the penalty shootout.
In fact, Cho had a hard time. He started three group matches but failed to score an offensive point. Rather, he received a lot of criticism because he missed several critical chances. In particular, his sluggishness in the second match was serious in Jordan. He failed to score even though he faced an empty goal. Korea also tied 2-2. Criticism poured in towards Cho. Cho also failed to score a goal in the third match against Malaysia.
He was excluded from the starting lineup in the match against Saudi Arabia in the round of 16. Instead, “Captain” Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) played as the forward striker. Instead, Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain) and Jung Woo-young (Stutgart) supported the team with their second-tier counterparts. The formation changed from 4-4-2 to 3-4-2-1. However, Cho played as a substitute in the second half, and he did not miss the opportunity at the 99th minute.
“I’m happy to win, but I was able to capitalize on my chance,” Cho told reporters after the match. “I’m sorry that I didn’t have to go to the penalty shootout. It was more regrettable than good (at the time of the equalizer). I didn’t really like it. I thought I just scored a goal now.”
When Cho scored, Son also choked up and hugged him tightly. “I heard nothing (the tying goal) at the time,” Cho said. “I watched this stadium a lot, but it was a stadium that scored a goal against Ghana. I entered the stadium without knowing it, but I laughed to myself after realizing it. As soon as I heard it, I thought it was okay. When I scored a goal with my head, (Hwang) Inbeom (Zvezda) told me to play soccer only with my head. I admit it.”
As for the three-back, he said, “I loved it during the training. Rather, I thought this would be better. I thought I would prepare well on the bench. I prepared to do well in any situation.” 마카오토토
The tying goal process was not easy. Saudi goalkeeper made several super saves in the final minutes of the second half. Cho Kyu-sung also said, “I had many chances in the second half. But every time, the goalkeeper blocked me, which surprised me. I thought it was not easy because the goalkeeper’s body is so good. But I went in as I patted him on the ground. I wasn’t nervous in the penalty shootout.”