Tuesday, September 15, 2009

15 September 1956 - The Tigers Roar In Hong Kong

On 15 September 1956, South Korea defeated South Vietnam 5-3 at the Government Stadium in Hong Kong to claim the title in the first ever AFC Asian Cup.

The tournament began with a qualifying round of nine Asian Football Confederation teams in three groups. Israel qualified from Group 1 without playing a match, as fellow group members Afghanistan and Pakistan withdrew. South Vietnam won Group 2 and South Korea advanced from Group 3. The three group winners were then joined by hosts Hong Kong, who automatically qualified for the round-robin Final Tournament.

The Final Tournament was played as a series of six matches between 1 September and 15 September. Two points were awarded for a win and one point for a draw. All matches were played at Hong Kong's Government Stadium.

South Korea drew its first match 2-2 against Hong Kong, then beat Israel 1-2 to go into the final match with three points. They were one point behind Israel, who had already completed their matches, and thus needed a win against South Vietnam to claim the title.

The teams were tied at 2-2 early in the second half when South Korea's Choi Jung-Min put them ahead with a strike in 57th minute. They extended their lead to 4-2 when Woo Sang-Kwon, who had earlier converted a penalty kick, scored his second goal of the match in the 58th minute. South Vietnam pulled back within one in the 63rd minute, but Choi added another in the 66th minute, giving South Korea a 5-3 victory.

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