The quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup have been set, with South Korea set to face Australia and Uzbekistan set to play hosts and holders Qatar. The hero for South Korea in their Round of 16 clash against Saudi Arabia was second-choice goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo, who saved two penalties in the shootout. South Korea, led by coach Jurgen Klinsmann, are looking to end a 64-year title drought in the Asian Cup. Saudi coach Roberto Mancini disappeared down the tunnel before the final penalty was taken, a move he later apologized for. South Korea’s midfielder Hwang Hee-chan scored the decisive penalty to secure the win for his team. Klinsmann praised his players’ spirit and heart, and said that the win has given the team a boost of energy. The quarter-finals also see Uzbekistan taking on Qatar, with Uzbek coach Srecko Katanec confident that his depleted side can surprise the hosts.

South Korea’s midfielder #11 Hwang Hee-chan applauds the fans at the end of the Qatar 2023 AFC Asian Cup football match between Saudi Arabia and South Korea at Education City Stadium in al-Rayyan, west of Doha, on January 30, 2024. Photo: AFP

Saudi Arabia’s Italian coach Roberto Mancini shouts instructions to his players from the touchline during the Qatar 2023 AFC Asian Cup football match between Saudi Arabia and South Korea at Education City Stadium in al-Rayyan, west of Doha, on January 30, 2024. Photo: AFP

In their previous matches, South Korea and Saudi Arabia ended in a 1-1 draw, with South Korea winning in the penalty shootout, while Uzbekistan defeated Thailand 2-1. South Korea’s victory was especially impressive considering they were playing with their second-choice goalkeeper, Jo Hyeon-woo, due to an injury to their regular stopper. South Korea’s goal was scored by Hwang Hee-chan, who also scored the decisive penalty in the shootout. Saudi Arabia’s coach Roberto Mancini caused controversy by leaving the pitch before the shootout had concluded, but later apologized for his actions. The Asian Cup quarter-finals promise to be exciting, with South Korea aiming to end their title drought and Uzbekistan hoping to surprise the hosts and holders Qatar.