‘Substitute’ Moon Hyun-ho ‘completely shut down Gambia’ with back-to-back super saves

Moon Hyun-ho made a super save to keep Kim Eun-jung alive.

The South Korea Under-20 national football team, led by head coach Kim Eun-Joong, drew 0-0 with the Gambia in their third Group F match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Argentina 2023 at Estadio Malvinas Argentina in Mendoza, Argentina, on Monday at 6 a.m. ET. With the draw, South Korea (5 points, 1 win, 2 draws) advance to the Round of 16 as Group F runners-up and will face Group B runners-up Ecuador for a spot in the quarterfinals.

They had already qualified for the round of 16 regardless of the outcome of today’s game. South Korea had no reason to go all out as they had achieved their goal. Coach Kim Eun-joong made a number of changes to the starting lineup from the previous match against Honduras.

Su Moon-jang was replaced for a different reason. Kim Jun-hong was suspended for the second consecutive game for a red card. Kim went with Moon Hyun-ho in goal, who made his professional debut with Chungnam Asan FC after growing up at Matan High School.

Moon was fully up to the challenge. The Gambia attacked with lanky strikers Amada Bozie, Mansour Mbier, and Bailo Ba, all of whom were supported by Lamine Marong. The sharpness they showed against Honduras and France was impressive.

South Korea came close on several occasions, but Moon was there to save the day. In the first minute of the second half, after a cross from Ba, Bojang attempted a header past Mbia but was denied by a super save from Moon. In the fourth minute of the second half, Mbia’s shot was also stopped in front of Moon.

There were some sparkling moments. In the 22nd minute, Salifu Kohli took a cutback and shot on goal. Dynamo was caught in a narrow field of vision, but he stretched out his arm to block. The ball hit the bar post and landed in the arms of Moon Hyun-ho. It was a narrow escape for South Korea 안전놀이터.

South Korea ended up drawing with the Gambia to close out the group stage. It’s encouraging that they went through France, Honduras, and the Gambia unbeaten, and that they’ve booked their spot in the round of 16 early and have the stamina to do so. The substitutes, including Moon Hyun-ho, did a great job.

Kim Eun-joong-ho will now head into the tournament. His round of 16 opponent will be Group B runner-up Ecuador. Korea and Ecuador will meet on June 2 at 6 a.m. at the Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudades in Santiago del Estero, Argentina.