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South Korea tops group

JINAN (CHINA), JULY 27. Lee Dong-gook scored twice and Cha Du-ri and Ahn Jung-hwan once each to give South Korea a 4-0 victory over Kuwait on Tuesay and send it to the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup.

The victory took South Korea to the top of Group B with seven points, earning its third straight trip to the quarterfinals.

South Korea, which finished third in Lebanon four years ago, will learn its quarterfinal opponent on Wednesday after the final round of Group D matches. Japan already has clinched its berth in the final eight.

Although South Korea needed only a draw to advance, it started aggressively looking for the victory that would earn it a match in Jinan against the runner-up from Group D on Saturday.

Jordan qualifies

In Beijing, Jordan drew 0-0 with the United Arab Emirates to secure the other quarterfinal berth from Group B. Jordan will play the Group D winner in Chongqing on Saturday.

With their midfield dominating possession, the Koreans created a number of good scoring opportunities, while Kuwait tried to parry with quick but ineffective counterattacks.

Cha missed a good chance in the 15th minute when his shot streaked past the left post.

Five minutes later he found himself at the end of a long pass but his header from the penalty spot was easily handled by Kuwaiti goalkeeper Shehab Kankone.

Lee gave the Koreans the lead in the 25th minute, after Mesaed Al Enzi tripped Cha about 20 metres out and slightly to the right of the area.

Lee's curling shot went through the wall and into the net just past the post. Lee made it 2-0 four minutes before half-time when he out-raced two defenders to tap in a cross from the right by Choi Jin-cheul, who returned to the line-up after receiving a red card in the opening match against Jordan.

South Korea increased the lead in the last minute of the half, when Cha's powerful right-footer from about 25 metres streaked into the right lower corner past a stranded Kankone.

Both sides played nervously in the second half. Kuwait mounted a series of attacks, failing to convert several good opportunities.

But it was substitute striker Ahn who made it 4-0 in the 75th minute with a tremendous long-range effort that a diving Kankone managed to get to but couldn't control. — AP

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