GUANGZHOU, China (AFP) - Three-time champions South Korea dealt another bodyblow to Chinese football with an impressive 3-0 win in the Asian Games last 16 on Monday.
After struggling into the knockout stages, China were no match for the cultured and talented Koreans who now go on to face Uzbekistan for a place in the semi-finals.
"We scored an early goal which meant we were going to win," said South Korea coach Hong Myung-Bo.
"The Chinese fans who were supporting China before the match began to support us towards the end."
South Korea had dominated the first half and could have gone in at the break at least three goals up.
They had taken the lead after 19 minutes when a swift break down the left forced the stretched Chinese defence to furiously back-pedal.
Cho Young-Cheol was left in plenty of space to gather the cross and slot the ball across to Kim Jung-Woo to score past Zhang Shichang in the China goal.
Zhang then saved well from Park Chu-Young and Kim Bo-Kyung to keep the deficit down to one goal at the interval.
But even Zhang was powerless to keep out the second goal, scored by Monaco's Park Chu-Young with a curling free-kick around the defensive wall four minutes into the second half.
South Korea were now unstoppable and Kim Jung-Woo scored his second of the night after 57 minutes when he nipped between two defenders to slot home Ji Dong-Won's smart pass.
China searched for a way back in but both Wang Xuanhong and Li Kai seeing efforts going wide.
The defeat comes at the worst possible time for China whose national team failed to qualify for the World Cup and whose under-23 team here had failed to win a single match before home fans at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Meanwhile, Qatar's Fahad Khalfan joined the ranks of football's greatest blunders when he missed an open goal from one yard as the defending champions crashed out.
The 18-year-old had pounced on Uzbekistan goalkeeper Timur Juraev's error in the first period of extra-time.
The Qatari then dribbled the ball to the front of the goal, before incredibly stabbing his left-foot shot against the post, leaving his teammates stunned and the teenager shell-shocked.
Uzbekistan made the most of their lifeline with Ivan Nagaev grabbing the winner in the 23rd minute of extra-time.
Four-time champions Iran beat a depleted Malaysia 3-1 to make the quarter-finals where they will face Oman who trounced Hong Kong 3-0.
Iran used the experience to good effect against a Malaysian side making its first appearance in the second round since 1978.
Malaysia came into the game in crisis after three players were sent off in their stormy 3-0 defeat to China in their final group game.
The Iranians got the breakthrough in the 53rd minute when Karim Ansari Fard picked the ball up on the edge of the box and rifled it past the diving goalkeeper.
Seyed Hosseini made it 2-0 seven minutes later before Amir Sharafi added a third as Iran ran their opponents ragged. Malaysia got a consolation penalty four minutes from time but it was too little too late.
Ali Farah Hadhri Hussian scored Oman's first on the half hour and he added another in the second half before Aman Bait Nasib put the game beyond Hong Kong's reach with a third on 68 minutes.
|Ox not ready for central role, Klopp says|
|My career´s gone - Redknapp flags likely retirement|
|Spurs must be wary of Isco ´magic´, warns Pochettino|
|Riedle defends Bundesliga quality amid early Champions League struggles|
|Manchester City v Napoli: The numbers behind Europe´s most lethal attacks|
|Jardim says French champions Monaco down on confidence|
|Spurs star Kane an obvious target for Real Madrid – Redknapp|
|Bosz and Dortmund eyeing much-needed victory as Schmelzer returns|
|Szczesny: I didn´t improve at Arsenal due to tactical gulf|
|Pochettino wants ´10 or 15 years´ at Tottenham|
|Shakespeare hails Mahrez response after ´kick up the backside´|
|Leicester City 1 West Brom 1: Mahrez cancels out Chadli magic|
|Hamsik not worried by Maradona record ahead of Man City clash|
|Man City better than Real Madrid? Sarri daunted by Napoli´s Etihad assignment|
|Ashley puts Newcastle United put up for sale|
|Lovren accuses ´nervous´ Lukaku of deliberate kick during Manchester United draw|
|One small step for Ox... Klopp praise for under-fire midfielder|
|Klopp denies Liverpool have lost confidence|
|Manchester ready for goal rush as Spurs visit fortress Bernabeu - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Tottenham one of Europe´s best, claims Riedle|
|Watch: Barcelona mark Messi debut with footage of La Masia magic|
|Ronaldo has to win Ballon d´Or, says Isco|
|Guardiola not falling for De Laurentiis´ Napoli script change|
|Guardiola´s ´genius´ inspiring Sterling at Manchester City|
|He is a complete forward – Zidane an admirer of Kane|
|Bale could miss both Tottenham games, concedes Zidane|
|Guardiola takes pressure off De Bruyne amid Messi comparisons|
|Napoli should rest stars against Manchester City - De Laurentiis|
|Switzerland, Italy, Croatia & Denmark seeded for World Cup play-offs|
|Kane takes Real Madrid interest ´very naturally´, says Pochettino|
|Chelsea struggling to fight on several fronts, Conte concedes|
|Jiangsu Suning confident Capello not Italy-bound|
|Pochettino: Madrid are not the Ronaldo team|
|Boateng considered Bayern exit|
|Nonsense! Critics won´t force Postecoglou out says Socceroos great Moore|
|MLS Review: Sounders, Timbers book play-off spots|
|Lukaku dismisses suggestions he is a flat-track bully|
|Milan will go along with Montella - Fassone backs boss after derby loss|
|Valencia win incredible nine-goal thriller at Betis|
|Spalletti hails Inter´s derby hero Icardi as complete striker|
|D´Ambrosio was clever - Milan boss Montella angry at Inter´s winning penalty|
|Mandanda breaks Marseille appearance record|
|Inter hero Icardi ´holding on tight´ to derby hat-trick ball|
|Pochettino watches you everywhere - Fonte|
|Attack proving best form of defence for Manchester City|
|If they think that, they will be stupid - Guardiola rules out City complacency pre-Napoli|
|Inter 3 AC Milan 2: Brilliant Icardi treble breaks Rossoneri hearts|
|Indonesian goalkeeper Choirul Huda dies after colliding with team-mate|
|Pogba steps up recovery from hamstring injury|
|I feel pity for the fans – Benitez|
|Jesus learning from Aguero and living for goals at Manchester City|
|De Vrij eyes Lazio extension despite Liverpool links|
|Southampton 2 Newcastle United 2: Gabbiadini brace denies Magpies|
|Treble season - Barcelona star Messi and Antonella Roccuzzo to have third child|
|Rooney makes Brighton his 36th Premier League victims|
|My whole football life is pressure - Koeman unconcerned by scrutiny|
|Inter striker Icardi targets 100 goals for club|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 1 Everton 1: Late Rooney penalty fails to paper over visitors´ woeful show|
|Derby County 2 Nottingham Forest 0: Vydra´s rapid start sets Rams on their way|
|Spurs boss Pochettino harbours England ambitions|
|Milan´s Bonucci grateful to Inter for early grounding|
|De Bruyne one of the best in the world, says Silva|
|I won´t finish my career here – Mourinho looking beyond Manchester United|
|A-League Review: Bobo double sinks Wellington Phoenix, Taggart rescues Perth Glory point|
|Allardyce rules out taking ´very tempting´ Scotland job|
|Pochettino did not like me at first, reveals Alli|
|Koke pleased with Atletico display against Barcelona, Messi|
|Vazquez: Isco´s football is from the street|
|Ronaldo always delivers when Madrid need him to – Marcelo|
|Messi ´tired´ after recent heroics, says Valverde|
|Mertesacker laments Arsenal collapse|
|We achieved something remarkable - Inzaghi hails Lazio´s ´historic´ win at Juve|
|Simeone lauds Barcelona´s ´extraordinary´ Messi|