South Korea Faces Jordan in AFC Asian Cup Semifinals Without Key Defender

SEOUL — South Korea's journey to the semifinals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup has been nothing short of dramatic, featuring a series of last-minute goals and a nail-biting shootout victory. The team now aims to capture its first Asian Cup title since 1960 as it prepares to face Jordan in a crucial match this week. However, the Taegeuk Warriors will be without their top defender, Kim Min-jae, due to suspension.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the match against Jordan, ranked 87th globally, is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, translating to midnight Wednesday in South Korea. This encounter marks the second time the two teams have faced off in this tournament, with their first meeting during the group stage ending in a dramatic draw thanks to a last-minute own goal that favored South Korea.

The absence of Kim Min-jae, who plays for Bayern Munich and received his second yellow card of the tournament in the quarterfinals against Australia, poses a significant challenge for South Korea's defense. Jordan also faces its own setbacks, with two players, defender Salem Al-Ajain and forward Ali Olwan, sidelined due to yellow card accumulations.

The previous match between South Korea and Jordan highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of both teams, with South Korea struggling offensively against Jordan's robust defense and looking vulnerable against quick counter-attacks. Despite these challenges, South Korea's path to the semifinals has been marked by resilience and late-game heroics, including a last-minute penalty and a decisive extra-time goal that secured their victory over Australia in the quarterfinals.

Jordan's journey to the semifinals has been equally tumultuous, including a comeback win against Iraq and a narrow victory over Tajikistan, propelled by an own goal. As both teams prepare for their semifinal clash, the focus will be on South Korea's ability to adapt without Kim Min-jae and whether their offensive stars, Son Heung-min and Lee Kang-in, can overcome fatigue to lead their team to victory.

With defensive challenges and potential fatigue issues, South Korea's strategy and resilience will be tested as they seek to end their long wait for an Asian Cup title. The semifinal match against Jordan offers another chapter in South Korea's dramatic tournament narrative, underscoring the unpredictable nature of football and the importance of team adaptability and spirit.

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