South Korea coast into Asian Cup final with victory over Iraq

South Korea's Kim Young Gwon celebrates with teammates after scoring against Iraq.

Two-time champion South Korea defeated Iraq 2-0 to qualify for its first Asian Cup final in nearly 30 years at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium on Monday.

Lee Jeong-hyeop’s header in the first half and Kim Young-gwon’s long-range strike just after half-time lifted South Korea to its first continental final since 1988 and within one victory of its first Asian Cup title since 1960.

Iraq, the 2007 champion led by talismanic striker Younis Mahmoud, struggled for opportunities against South Korea’s solid defense that has not conceded a goal in any of its five games at the tournament – a span of 480 minutes.

South Korea will play the winner of Tuesday’s second semifinal between host team Australia and UAE in the final at Sydney on Saturday.