Asian Games: Iran beats South Korea to reach basketball final
Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman
The Jakarta Post
Iran, the last Central Asian country in the men's basketball semifinals at the 2018 Asian Games, secured a ticket to the final after defeating South Korea in a tight match that ended 80-68 on Thursday.
Iran took the first lead by scoring a dunk from Mohammad Hassanzadeh in less than a minute and continued to score, while Korea only managed to close the gap by only six points at the end of the first quarter that ended 21-14 for Iran.
In the second quarter, Iran continued to dominate as center Hamed Ehdadi scored 19 points to widen the gap for his country 40-28.
Iran continued leading until the end of the game, thanks to Ehdadi who performed outstandingly.
Iranian coach Mehran Shahintab said it was an intense match as both teams were strong in both offense and defense.
"South Korea had a strong team four years ago when they defeated us. Today our team had motivation to win," he said.
Meanwhile, South Korea's naturalized player, Ricardo Ratliffe, acknowledged that his team played poor tonight as lots of opportunities were missed during the game.
"We played terrible. We just didn’t play well together tonight and I don't know why," he said.
Iran will face the winner of another semifinal game between China and Chinese Taipei.
The men's final will be held on Saturday.
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