Even though we lost… Lee Seung-won, who ‘took the pressure off and scored the PK tiebreaker’, tied Lee Kang-in for the most offensive P’s in the tournament with 6.

‘Captain’ Lee Seung-won (20, Gangwon FC) joined ‘senior’ Lee Kang-in (22, Mallorca) in scoring a penalty kick goal against Italy, but a place in the final did not follow.

Kim Eun-joong’s South Korea U-20 team fell 1-2 to Italy in the semifinals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Argentina 2023 at the La Plata Stadium in La Plata, Argentina, at 6 a.m. ET on Monday.

South Korea struggled against Italy’s tough play, but came up short. However, the tournament has produced a number of Korean talents that are promising for the future, one of which is “captain” Lee Seung-won.

After scoring one goal and one assist against France in the first group game, he has scored an offensive point in every game except for the 0-0 draw against Gambia in the third round. He also scored a goal on the day.

Lee’s goal came in the 23rd minute with South Korea trailing 0-1. Bae Jun-ho was tripped by a defender in the box. After a video assistant referee (VAR) review, South Korea was awarded a penalty kick. Lee Seung-won stepped up to take the kick, and he found the back of the net with a strong right-footed shot. His confident shot into the corner of the goal gave South Korea the equalizer.

Lee finished with six offensive points (two goals and four assists), tying him with Lee Kang-in, who won the tournament’s Golden Ball in 2019. South Korea finished as runners-up at the time.

By the time of the Italy game, Kim had played six matches. Six of his nine goals came off the foot of Lee.

Despite the loss to Italy, South Korea will play Israel for third place at 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 12. It will be interesting to see if Lee Seung-won can surpass Lee Kang-in’s record.

Meanwhile, Korea had an uphill battle on the day. They fell victim to Italy’s physicality.

The “Choi Seok-hyun face punch” in 스포츠토토 the 36th minute was a prime example. Italian striker Francesco Esposito saw Choi Seok-hyun moving threateningly in his own zone and punched him in the face with his left hand, followed by another elbow to the face.

Esposito’s behavior afterward was even worse. He stuck out his hands as if nothing had happened and insisted that it was not a foul. By this time, Choi Seok-hyun had fallen to the ground, clutching his face.

The referee, who had previously let Korean players get away with being pushed, grabbed by the jersey and not playing properly, did not pull out his card this time. No warning was given.

In response, Italy continued to play foul and eventually Ambrosino and Zanotti were cautioned in the 43rd minute of the first half and four minutes of first-half stoppage time, respectively. Zanotti was cautioned for tugging on Bae’s jersey to the point of tearing it. Italy had 15 fouls in the first half alone. Korea had five.

Italy’s foul-ridden play continued in the second half. In the meantime, South Korea capitalized on a turnover. In the 41st minute, Papundi’s left-footed free kick from near the arc found the corner of the goal. The trajectory was unstoppable, even for Kim Jun-hong, who was doing a good job in goal.

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