PALEMBANG, Indonesia -- South Korea, playing with 10 men from the 57th minute, overcame fierce rivals Japan 6-5 in a penalty shootout after a goalless 120 minutes, to win a tempestuous third-place playoff at the Asian Cup in Palembang on Saturday.
South Korea's Kang Ming-soo is dismissed in the 57th minute by Al Badwawi.
It was the hard-working Koreans' third consecutive scoreless game at the tournament but goalkeeper Lee Woon-Jae's save from Naotake Hanyu's spot-kick gave them victory and qualification for the 2011 Asian Cup, expected to be held in Qatar.
It was a notable triumph for the gutsy Koreans after defender Kang Ming-soo was sent off for a second yellow card.
Their Dutch coach Pim Verbeek and two of his assistants were ordered to the stands for disputing the red-card decision.
Eleven spot-kicks were converted in the shootout before Lee, who won his team their penalty shootout against Iran in the quarterfinal in Kuala Lumpur last Sunday, saved Hanyu's kick one-handed.
Japan will rue their missed chances to claim victory in extra-time when they had two great late opportunities to snatch the match.
Substitute Hanyu blasted into defender Kim Chi-gon on the line and Hisato Sato forced Lee into a smothering save.
It was brinkmanship yet again for the Koreans after beating Iran on penalties only to lose their semifinal to Iraq in a shootout.
Both teams had their chances in their end-to-end opening half as the Koreans tried to break their run of firing blanks.
Goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi was angry with his defenders when Yeom Ki-hun was allowed to fire in a long-range attempt which whizzed past the post in the 15th minute.
Defender Kim Chi-woo got his boot to clear the danger from lurking striker Satoro Yamagishi moments later.
But the Koreans went to the other end and Yeom's free kick was punched clear by Yamaguchi and Lee Chun-soo had a short-range attempt blocked.
Japan had their best chance nearing half-time when defender Yuji Nakazawa had a shot saved at point-blank range by goalkeeper Lee off a Shunsuke Nakamura corner.
The Koreans picked up two yellow cards in the opening half with Kang Ming-soo getting one for a hefty challenge on striker Naohiro Takahara in only the 10th minute and midfielder Oh Jang-eun cautioned for a late tackle.
The match blew up in the 57th minute when Kang received his second yellow card and was sent off by UAE referee Al Badwawi, which triggered the dismissal of coach Verbeek and two of his assistants for disputing the decision.
But the Koreans marshaled their defense and saw off the Japanese threat. E-mail to a friend
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