BAHRAIN suffered a demoralising 0-6 thrashing at the hands of South Korea yesterday in their opening Group ‘E’ match of the men’s football tournament at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta.
Striker Ui Jo Hwang scored four goals for the victors while Jinya Kim and forward Sangho Na supplied the other two.
Hwang’s brilliant performance included a hat-trick in a lopsided first-half during which the defending champions found the net five times.
The Bahrainis did better in the second-half but the win was virtually in the bag for the Koreans.
In yesterday’s other Group ‘E’ game, Malaysia beat Kyrgyzstan 3-1.
South Korea top the group with a superior goal difference. They are followed by Malaysia, Kyrgyzstan and Bahrain.
Action continues tomorrow with Bahrain hoping to bounce back against Kyrgyzstan while the Koreans and Malaysians face off in the other game.
Bahrain, coached by Tunisian Samir ben Chammam, are fielding a team much younger than the 23-year age-limit rule. Thus, their inexperience showed against the heavily favoured opposition, who took the lead in the 17th minute and never looked back.
Hwang opened the scoring. He received a brilliant pass from teammate Moonhwan Kim on the right of the the box and made no mistake with his shot at the near post, beating Bahrain goalkeeper Ammar Ahmed.
The Koreans then doubled their advantage just six minutes later through Kim. An attempt on goal from Inbeom Hwang was blocked by the Bahrain defence but the ball rebounded directly into the path of an unmarked Kim, who pounced on the opportunity with a powerful shot from close range that goalkeeper Ahmed could do nothing about.
Hwang made it three for Korea in the 36th minute with another strike from close range. After Bahrain lost the ball cheaply, Na saw an opportunity to make a play and did well with a fine pass to a waiting Hwang in the box.
The prolific scorer then overcame the pressure from his Bahraini defender and sent the ball into the bottom-right corner of the net to continue the demolition job.
Just five minutes on, it was Na’s turn to play the role of scorer when he added Korea’s fourth. Na did well to hold off his marker while keeping possession in the box. He then turned and in one motion hit a strong low shot.
Goalkeeper Ahmed got his hands to the ball but just could not stop it as it slowly slipped away from him and into the net.
Bahrain conceded an unnecessary fifth goal just two minutes before the break, which completed Hwang’s first-half hat-trick.
After a failed Korean attempt, Bahrain defender Sayed Shubbar had a chance to easily clear the ball near the goal. Instead, he left it for goalkeeper Ahmed to clear. Hwang cunningly stole the ball and managed to kick it home.
Earlier in the first-half, Bahrain’s Ahmed Sanad had a chance to put his team ahead after just six minutes but his low shot from the right lashed across the face of goal and went out of bounds.
In the final period, the Bahrainis put in a greater effort on both sides of the pitch, despite still having only a few chances at scoring.
In the 75th minute, their cries for a penalty fell on deaf ears after midfielder Mohamed Marhoon appeared to be fouled in the box. Japanese referee Takuto Okabe ignored their appeals.
Just a minute later, Marhoon had a good chance with a shot from a metre outside the box, but his curling attempt was just a foot wide of goal.
The Koreans scored their sixth goal in stoppage time as Hwang fired in a superb free-kick into the top-right corner of goal.