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Boys left blue after S Korean beating

South Korea marched into the Asian Cup quarter-finals with a 4-1 defeat of an obdurate India in their final Group C game at a sodden Al Gharafa Stadium today.

sports Updated: Jan 19, 2011 00:37 IST

South Korea marched into the Asian Cup quarter-finals with a 4-1 defeat of an obdurate India in their final Group C game at a sodden Al Gharafa Stadium on Tuesday.

Beneath pouring rain, the Koreans established a quick-fire 2-0 lead through Ji Dong-Won and Koo Ja-Cheol before striker Sunil Chhetri brought India back into the game from the penalty spot.

Ji swiftly restored the Taeguk Warriors’ two-goal advantage but the Koreans had to wait until the 81st minute for Son Heung-Min to net their fourth.

The result means South Korea finish second in Group C behind Australia on goal difference, after the Socceroos beat Bahrain 1-0, and will contest a semi-final spot with hitherto unbeaten Group D winners Iran.

South Korea took less than six minutes to break the deadlock. Bolton Wanderers winger Lee Chung-Yong spiked a cross into the box from the right that goalkeeper Subrata Paul could only punch into the air and Ji climbed to head home his first goal of the tournament.

Three minutes later it was 2-0, Ji nodding the ball down into Koo’s path and, with the Indian defence static, the midfielder deftly rounded Paul before sliding the ball into the empty net.

India’s were handed an unlikely lifeline when Kwak Tae-Hwi was penalised for clambering over Chhetri inside the Korean box. The striker rolled the spot-kick into the bottom-right.

Koo was the architect of Korea’s third goal, rolling a clever pass between two defenders for Ji, who drew the goalkeeper from his line before lifting the ball over him.

Having frustrated Korea’s attempts to extend their lead, India were further cheered by the appearance of talisman Bhaichung Bhutia as a substitute after he missed their first two games through injury.

Son gave the scoreline fitting gloss nine minutes from time when he collected a pass on the edge of the box before rifling in off the left-hand post.

Ji then rattled the crossbar, before Korea goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong produced a double save from Chhetri to deny India a late consolation.