(LEAD) (Asian Cup) S. Korean title drought continues with semifinal loss to Jordan

SEOUL, South Korea lost to Jordan 2-0 in the semifinals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in Qatar on Tuesday, coming up two wins shy of ending their 64-year title drought at the top continental tournament. Yazan Al-Naimat and Mousa Al-Tamari scored a goal apiece in the second half at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, west of Doha, while Jordan's dogged defense kept South Korea at bay. South Korea last won the AFC crown in 1960. This was the closest South Korea came to ending that drought since losing to Australia in the final in 2015. South Korea did not register a shot on target, with Lee Jae-sung striking the right goal post with a 32nd-minute header for his team's closest call. South Korea, world No. 23, were held to a 2-2 draw by 87th-ranked Jordan in their Group E match on Jan. 20. Jordan came within minutes of winning that contest, before a late own goal forced them to settle for the draw. They got the job done this time as South Korea, after playing over 240 minutes in the pas t two matches, ran out of steam. This was South Korea's first loss to Jordan in seven meetings, after three wins and three draws. The teams were goalless after the opening 45 minutes, with South Korean goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo making some big saves to keep Jordan off the board. Jordan held the early advantage in possession and had the match's first six shot attempts. Noor Al-Rawabdeh tested Jo with a right-footed shot from outside the box in the 18th minute, and South Korea dodged another bullet some seven minutes later when Jo turned aside a left-footed shot from Al-Naimat. For South Korea, Son Heung-min had a goal called back after he was caught offside trying to sneak in behind the defense in the 19th minute. Lee Kang-in airmailed his volley in the 24th minute for South Korea's first shot attempt. Jordan had a quick break after a South Korean turnover in the 27th minute, but Al-Tamari fired his shot high and wide of the target. South Korea thought they had a penalty in the 29th minute when Yazan Al-Ar ab and Seol Young-woo collided in the box. Referee Mohamed Abdulla Hassan Mohd initially awarded South Korea with the spot kick but overturned the call after a video replay, with Seol getting the foul instead. Lee Jae-sung nearly put South Korea ahead in the 32nd minute, when his header, set up by a Hwang In-beom cross, struck the right post. Jo came up with yet another stop in the 42nd minute, this time taking a close-range shot from Al-Naimat with his face after the Jordanian forward had danced his way past multiple defenders. Jordan finally broke through eight minutes after the restart, capitalizing on a South Korean turnover. Al-Tamari intercepted a pass by Park Yong-woo intended for Kim Young-gwon in the South Korean zone, and took off for a counterattack chance with Al-Naimat running on his right. Al-Naimat took the pass inside the center of the box and chipped it over Jo for the 1-0 lead. Park was promptly subbed out for forward Cho Gue-sung, who nearly leveled the score with a 60th-minute header that went just over the crossbar. Al-Tamari doubled Jordan's lead in the 66th minute, finally solving Jo two minutes after the South Korean custodian denied him from the center of the box. It was yet another South Korean miscue that led to that goal. After Hwang In-beom lost possession, Al-Tamari collected the ball from his side of the halfway line and drove all the way to the top of the box, before firing a left-footed shot into the bottom left corner. Jordan's defense then got to work, denying one South Korean foray after another to preserve their clean sheet win. South Korea conceded a goal in all six matches at the tournament, after giving up nothing in each of their previous seven contests. South Korea also trailed in five of their six games in Qatar, though they had never fallen behind by more than one goal until Tuesday night. Source: Yonhap News Agency