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S. Korean Soccer Team Closes in on Olympic Berth - 2004-03-18


South Korea's soccer team moved a step closer to locking up a fifth straight trip to the Olympics, shutting out Iran 1-0 in an Asian Olympic under-23 qualifying match in Tehran.

Real Sociedad striker Lee Chun-soo scored the only goal of the game in the 61st minute Wednesday at Azadi Stadium. Iran had good scoring chances, but failed to convert them in a match dominated by South Korea.

Iman Mobali missed a free kick when he blasted the ball over the crossbar, while South Korean goalkeeper Kim Young-Kwang easily stopped Ali Badavi's weak header.

South Korea leads Group-A with six points while Iran sits in second place with three points.

In other matches, Saudi Arabia blanked Iraq 1-0 in Group-C, while Oman beat Kuwait by that same 1-0 score. Saudi Arabia leads Group C with four points. Iraq and Oman are tied for second with three points with Kuwait sitting in last place with one point.

Group-B will be decided on Thursday when Japan faces the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon takes on Bahrain in Tokyo. Japan and Bahrain lead the group, each with 10 points from five matches, followed by UAE with seven.

The final round of Asian Olympic qualifying has 12 teams split into three groups of four. The winner of each group will qualify for the Athens Olympics.

Some information for this report provided by AP.