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DOHA, Jan. 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korea routed Yemen 5-0 for their second straight victory at the Olympic men's football qualifying tournament in Doha on Saturday, moving a step closer to their eighth consecutive Summer Games appearance.
Midfielder Kwon Chang-hoon scored a hat trick in the first half of the Group C match at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship at Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium in the Qatari capital. Midfielders Ryu Seung-woo and Kim Seung-jun added a goal apiece in the second half to round out the scoring.
The championship also serves as the Asian qualifying tournament for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The top three nations will book their spots in Brazil. South Korea have competed in every Olympics since 1988 and won the bronze medal in London in 2012.
South Korea, which defeated Uzbekistan 2-1 on Wednesday, will face Iraq next Tuesday at Grand Hamad Stadium, also in Doha, for the final group match. The top two countries from Group C will move on to the quarterfinals.
South Korea thoroughly overwhelmed Yemen from the onset, and Kwon opened the scoring just 14 minutes into the match.
Forward Hwang Hee-chan threaded a pass that split two defenders, and Kwon calmly struck it past goalkeeper Salem Al-Harsh for his first of the tournament.
Kwon added his second just after the half-hour mark, jumping over two defenders to head home a sharp cross by right-back Lee Seul-chan. Kwon completed his hat trick in the 41st minute, with Ryu Seung-woo finding him alone on the right side of the box for a sharp-angle shot.
South Korea kept the pressure on in the second half, and Kwon returned the favor to assist on Ryu's score in the 72nd. Four minutes later, Kim Seung-jun took a sharp pass from Park Yong-woo and fired it past Al-Harsh for a five-goal advantage.
Kwon nearly got his fourth goal of the day in the 78th, but his curling shot went off the crossbar after Al-Harsh got a piece of it.
The winning head coach Shin Tae-yong said he wanted to "congratulate" his players for the job well done.
"The players executed the game plan perfectly, and we got the score we wanted," Shin said. "We put ourselves in an advantageous position (to reach the quarterfinals)."
Shin said he wanted Kwon to play the full 90 minutes after coming off the bench in the second half against Uzbekistan, while still dealing with effects of a knee injury suffered late last year.
"I didn't expect him to score three goals," the coach added. "I think he got a big monkey off his back with his unexpected hat trick."
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