AFC Asian Cup: Lights fail as Korea draw with Saudi Arabia, Iran defeat Uzbekistan

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

A lighting failure five minutes from the end interrupted the 2007 AFC Asian Cup Group D match between Korea Republic and Saudi Arabia.

The match, played at the Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia, was stopped for 27 minutes after the lighting on one half of the stadium suddenly turned off.

At the time of the disruption - 84 minutes 35 seconds played - the match was delicately poised at one goal apiece.

An spokesperson for the Asian Football Confederation has said that the lighting failure was 'due to problems with power around Jakarta city'.

Referee Mark Shield, from Australia, immediately stopped the match after the lights turned out. Under tournament rules, officials had one hour to get the lights and play restarted before the match would have to be abandoned. An emergency generator was used to restore some of the knocked-out lights to a sufficient level for playing, allowing Shield to restart play after the lengthy delay.

The match was an eventful one generally, especially after half time. Both teams played a cautious first half which was devoid of any real scoring opportunities.

However, after the break, Korea went 1-0 ahead through striker Choi Sung-Kuk after sixty-six minutes. A curling cross from the left-hand wing found the head of Sung-Kuk, who moved in front of the Saudi defender and headed the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

Eleven minutes later, referee Shield awarded Saudi Arabia a penalty kick after Malek Mouath was adjudged to have been fouled inside the penalty box by a Korean defender. Captain Yasser Al-Qahtani stepped up and converted to level the scores 1-1 after seventy-seven minutes.

After play was restarted due to the power failure, Saudi Arabia had an excellent chance to win the match with the final kick of the game. Striker Saad Al Harthi missed a one-on-one opportunity with the Korean goalkeeper, pushing his shot wide.

The draw leaves hosts Indonesia on top of the Group D table after defeating Bahrain 2-1 in the opening match of the group.

In Group C, Iran has come back from a goal down to defeat Uzbekistan 2-1 at the Bukit Jalil Stadium, Kuala Lumpur.

Iran conceded the lead to Uzbekistan on sixteen minutes when Iranian defender Rahman Rezaei scored an own goal. Trying to head the ball back to his goalkeeper Hassan Roudbarian, Rezaei only managed to head the ball over Roudbarianand into the back of his own net.

The score remained 1-0 until the fifty-fifth minute, when Iran equalised through Seyed Jalal Hosseini. Hosseini headed a fast-moving corner kick from the right hand side by Mehdi Mahdavikia past Uzbekistan's defence to equalize.

Iran then went ahead after seventy-eight minutes after midfielder Andranik Teymourian provided a through-pass which found Javad Kazemian on the edge of the penalty box. Kazemian struck his shot sweetly to beat the goalkeeper and made the scoreline 2-1.

No further goals came, however Iranian coach Amir Ghalenoei was sent from the sidelines by the referee due to an indiscretion.

The result puts Iran on three points and at the top of Group C, however they trail China, who defeated Malaysia 5-1 a day prior, on goal difference.

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