“I wonder if you’ll be satisfied with how I did.”
Hwang Seon-hong, who has secured a spot in the final, is not as happy as Baek Seung-ho (26-North Korea). The Korean has been leading his juniors with the weight of the captain’s armband, but he’s faced repeated mistakes and stinging criticism.
Baek Seung-ho started and played the entirety of the men’s soccer semifinal at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games at Huanglong Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, on Thursday (Aug. 4), helping his team to a 2-1 win.
However, the conceded goal came back to haunt him. He conceded a foul in a dangerous area and the opponent’s free kick hit his head, deflected and rattled the net. A quick injury-time goal sealed the win, but it was a close call.
It wasn’t Baek’s first mistake. In the round of 16 match against Kyrgyzstan on July 27, Baek Seung-ho was not satisfied with his penalty kick goal. In the 28th minute of the first half, with the score 2-0, Seung-ho dropped down to the final third to start the buildup, only to lose the ball near the halfway line with a mistimed touch, giving Maksat Aligulov the opportunity to score.
Afterward, he told himself he was fine, as if to forget the mistake, but it was repeated in the quarterfinal against China. Again, a misplaced pass from behind. We were lucky that the Chinese counterattack hit the post. If China had scored an equalizer with the one-sided home fans behind them, there’s no telling how the game would have turned out.
A single mistake can derail the common goal of winning a gold medal. Critical articles began to appear. To make matters worse, the team made another costly mistake.
In the 25th minute of the first period, with her team up 1-0, she committed a foul near the defensive arc. Uzbekistan had an exquisite dead-ball specialist in Zalolidinov. With the game flowing perfectly, it seemed like a game we could easily lose if we were careful with our set pieces, but it was painful to see how easily he stepped up and fouled when there was only one player to mark.
Later on, I wasn’t so lucky. Baek Seung-ho, who was holding on to one of his opponents by the wall, put his head on the ball that was flying towards him, but the ball was deflected exquisitely and out of the range of goalkeeper Lee Kwang-yeon, who scored the equalizer.
After the game, Baek Seung-ho hung his head, saying, “I said I was doing my best, but I kept getting into situations like this, so I don’t have anything to say today.” 굿모닝토토
However, he did not hide his frustration. “I said I was working hard, but I fouled, and the shot came, and I couldn’t dodge it, so it went in,” he said. “Many reporters said before the game, ‘If Seung-ho Baek plays well, we can go to the final,’ but I wonder what kind of mind you have, and I wonder how to be satisfied. What I want to tell you is that I hope you will believe and support us.”
Coach Hwang Sun-hong also praised his captain, Baek Seung-ho. “It was dangerous to concede a free kick in a dangerous area because the opponent has a free kick specialist,” he said, “but soccer can’t be played without conceding. I don’t like conceding goals, but it was unavoidable.”