(Asiad) S. Korea blank China to reach men’s football semifinals

Two-time defending champions South Korea defeated the host country China 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the men's football tournament at the Asian Games on Sunday.

Hong Hyun-seok and Song Min-kyu had a goal apiece in the first half of South Korea's clean sheet victory at Huanglong Sports Centre Stadium in Hangzhou.

South Korea will meet Uzbekistan in the semifinals at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Hong, midfielder for the Belgian club KAA Gent, put South Korea on the board in the 18th minute with a curling free kick from outside the right edge of the box. Goalkeeper Han Jiaqi made a desperate and ultimately futile attempt to keep the ball out of the net.

Hong nearly grabbed his second goal of the match four minutes later, forcing Han to make a tough stop with his fingertips with a header set up by Hwang Jae-won.

South Korea doubled their lead with Song's goal. Forward Cho Young-wook charged down the right wing and rolled the ball toward the center for Cho. After the ball went through the wickets of a defender, Han failed to corral the ball in a diving attempt. That gave Song a wide open net for an easy tap-in.

With their home crowd stunned, China barely threatened until added time. Following a South Korean turnover, the ball pinballed around the box before finding its way to Dai Weijun, whose header struck the left goal post.

Song nearly headed in South Korea's third goal in the 57th minute, though Han stood his ground to keep it a two-goal affair.

South Korea head coach Hwang Sun-hong saved some of his most skilled offensive players on the bench at the start, a group that included Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Lee Kang-in.

Lee, along with Jenog Woo-yeong of VfB Stuttgart and Ulsan Hyundai FC speedster Um Won-sang, subbed in just past the hour mark.

Their presence didn't result in more goals for South Korea, but the under-24 Taegeuk Warriors remained in firm control of the match the rest of the way.

Source: Yonhap News Agency