A controversial penalty from Yasser Al Qahtani thirteen minutes from time earned Saudi Arabia a point against Korea in their Group D 2007 Asian Cup opener at Indonesia’s Gelora Bung Karno Stadium on Wednesday.
|Korea's Sung Kuk Choi (red) fights for the ball with Saudi Arabia's Saud Khariri|
Choi Sung-Kuk put Korea ahead in the second half with a powerful header over the reach of goalkeeper Yasser Al Mosailem from Yeom Ki-Hun’s left wing cross.
The Saudi skipper then leveled the scores from a spot-kick after Australian referee Mark Shield awarded a penalty to Malek Maaz, having judged that he was fouled by Oh Beom-Seok inside Korea’s area.
However, the game was marred when, five minutes from time, a power failure stopped play for almost 25 minutes.
Al Qahtani carved out the first opportunity of the match when he headed Malek Maaz’s perfect cross across the face of goal; an early wake-up call for the Koreans that led to the remainder of the first half becoming a midfield battle.
Choi had a lively start with his speed and trickery keeping the Saudi defense on their toes, while at the other end a break through midfield by Ahmed Al Mousa in the 25th minute set up Maaz, but his shot was bundled round the post by Lee Woon-Jae.
Cho Jae-Jin threatened with a header two minutes later before almost claiming a spectacular opener three minutes ahead of the break when Al Mosailem tipped his overhead attempt off Oh Beom-seok’s cross over the bar.
With only seconds left before halftime, the Al Ahli goalkeeper, Al Mosailem, was called into action again, clearing Kim Chi-Woo’s low shot with his legs.
In the second half, Maaz continued to look most likely to score for the Saudi side when seven minutes after the restart he capitalized on an error by Oh to take possession 35 yards from the goal, only to fire off a shot that went just wide of the post.
Cho saw his header from Yeom’s free kick go just wide six minutes later before Choi gave the Koreans the lead in the 66th minute when he crashed his header beyond the reach of goalkeeper Al Mosailem.
Choi’s goal was his last contribution to the game; he soon made way for substitute Lee Chun-Soo after play restarted but it only took the Saudis 11 minutes to pull level.
Maaz went down in the Korean box following a foul by Oh and the referee soon pointed to the spot.