Ki opened the scoring from the spot at Al Gharafa Stadium and celebrated by appearing to impersonate a monkey in an apparent derogatory reference to Japanese people that outraged sections of the country's media.

However, the Celtic midfielder revealed he was in fact trying to hit back against abuse suffered while playing in Scotland. Korea eventually lost on penalties to their regional rivals after the last-four encounter finished 2-2.

"The treatment he got from the Scottish league, especially in the away games, the people who made noises like the sound of the monkeys in Scotland when he played away games, that is something he wanted to highlight," said a Korea Football Association spokesman.

"Even though they call him a monkey as an Asian, he wanted to show how strong they are in Asia. That was the main intention."

The Japanese Football Association accepted their Korean counterparts' explanation of the incident and like the AFC, have no intention of pursuing the matter further. The AFC also confirmed there has been no contact from FIFA over the issue.

"We are aware of the goal celebration but we don't think it impacts on any country," said AFC tournament director Tokuaki Suzuki.

"The issue, according to my understanding, has already been resolved after communication between the Japan Football Association and the Korea Football Association.

"AFC will not take any legal action in this matter."

Ki may have been referring to incidents during Celtic's 3-0 Clydesdale Bank Premier League win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park on October 30.

Following the match, St Johnstone issued a statement on their official website to say they would be investigating claims that Celtic players were subjected to "racist noises" during the match.

The match took place on a day when both teams showed their support for Show Racism the Red Card's annual fortnight of action.

At the time Ki's fellow South Korea international Cha Du-ri said: "When Ki had the ball, two supporters jumped up and started making monkey noises in unison.

"I played for eight years in Germany and I have never seen anything like that.

"The incident is shameful and I feel angry about it. I told the coach this when we had dinner after the game."