Monday, September 28, 2015

28 September 1997 - The Tokyo Daechup

On 28 September 1997, South Korea upset Japan in a World Cup qualifier played in Tokyo, thanks to two late goals. The match is famous in Korea as the "Tokyo Daechup," or "Greatest Battle in Tokyo."

Japan, who had been touted at the time as the rising Asian football power, were aiming for their first World Cup appearance, while South Korea were similarly looking to earn a spot at the expense of their nearby rivals. The Koreans' hopes appeared to be dashed early in the second half as Japanese midfielder Motohiro Yamaguchi put his side ahead with a chip over Korean keeper Kim Byung-ji and the Japanese side pulled back deep into their half to protect the lead.

As the end neared, however, Korean earned a corner which midfielder Seo Jung-won managed to divert into the goal with a well-placed header to draw his team level. Then, as time was about to expire, Korean defender Lee Min-sung fired a ferocious left-footed rocket from distance. It beat the Japanese keeper and landed in the back of the net to give the underdogs a 1-2 victory. The Japanese were so disheartened that they sacked their manager after the match.

South Korea ended up securing the AFC automatic qualification spot easily, 6 points ahead of second-place finisher Japan. But Japan also made it to the tournament after beating Iran in a playoff.

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