Asian Cup: South Korea concede late Malaysia equaliser to finish second in Group E

Dejected: South Korea were denied top spot in their Asian Cup group (AP)
Dejected: South Korea were denied top spot in their Asian Cup group (AP)

South Korea conceded an equaliser in the 15th minute of stoppage time as a 3-3 Asian Cup draw with Malaysia saw them finish second in Group E behind Bahrain.

Jurgen Klinsmann's side will now face either Thailand or Saudi Arabia in their round of 16 match next Tuesday, but they could have finished top if they had defended Malaysia’s counter-attacks better in Al Wakrah.

South Korea took the lead midway through the first half when Woo-yeong Jeong’s header was shown by VAR replays to have crossed the line before goalkeeper Syihan Hazmi clawed it away.

Malaysia hit back with two goals in 11 minutes. First, Faisal Halim fooled the South Korean defence into thinking that he was about to cross before clipping smartly into the unguarded net.

Then 21-year-old Arif Aiman was fouled in the box and coolly slotted his penalty into the corner, sending goalkeeper Hyeon-woo Jo the wrong way.

But there was bad luck for Malaysia when Kang-in Lee scored a free-kick which went down as an own goal after initially hitting the crossbar before deflecting in off Hazmi.

Tottenham captain Heung-min Son beat Hazmi with a penalty early in stoppage time, which South Korea thought would earn them victory and top spot in Group E, teeing up a mammoth showdown with Japan next.

But the match had one final twist in store, when substitute Romel Morales controlled excellently and fired into the corner to give Malaysia their first and only point of the 2023 Asian Cup, demoting South Korea to second in Group E, which Bahrain won by beating Jordan 1-0 in Al Rayyan.