Bento says S. Korea played even match vs. Chile

September 11, 2018

SUWON, South Korea, Sept. 11 (Yonhap) — South Korea football coach Paulo Bento said Tuesday his side matched up evenly against a strong Chile team in a friendly at home.

South Korea, ranked 57th in the latest FIFA rankings, held 12th-ranked Chile to a scoreless draw at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, south of Seoul. This was Bento’s second match with South Korea since taking the helm last month. Bento had a 2-0 win over Costa Rica in his debut last Friday.

“It was a difficult match as I expected,” Bento said. “Chile played very well, and this team always plays high-quality football even after coaching changes.”

South Korea had a difficult time handling Chile’s high-pressing early in the game and made mistakes in the midfield. South Korea were able to create their chances in the latter stage of the game through set pieces and counterattacks, but failed to hit the net.

“We tried to keep our style of football, which is to dominate the game for 90 minutes,” he said. “We showed that style in some moments. I think both got a fair result, and it would have not been strange if the match ended in a draw with goals because both created good scoring chances.”

South Korea surrendered an open chance to Arturo Vidal in the 63rd and nearly gave up a goal in the second-half stoppage time to Diego Valdes, whose close range effort flew over the empty net. Bento admitted that his side gave up the ball to the visitors in the buildup process, but claimed that they didn’t concede overly dangerous chances.

“First, we didn’t allow decisive chances to the opponents in the first half,” he said. “We gave up a couple of chances to Chile in the second half, but those were from our mistakes. Overall, I think we had a pretty good game on defense.”

But Bento also said he will fix problems that emerged from this match.

“We will analyze our performance and make improvements from the past,” he said. “What’s been done is already in the past. I think this team has the ability to make progress, and I believe we’ll be better next month.”

Bento’s team will face Uruguay and Panama next month and are also scheduled to take on Australia and Uzbekistan to prepare for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in January 2019. Bento hinted at some roster changes.

“We still have time until October, and we’ll see a lot of matches before then,” he said. “We’ll select players when the matches are close. Of course, the players will need to have technique and have desire for the national team.”

Bento said his brand of football is about creating as many chances as possible while playing at a fast tempo. The 49-year-old Portuguese said he will maintain that style and upgrade it.

“We can play that kind of football because our players have that ability,” he said.

South Korea national football team head coach Paulo Bento gives directions to his players during a friendly football match between Chile and South Korea at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, south of Seoul, on Sept. 11, 2018. (Yonhap)

South Korea national football team head coach Paulo Bento gives directions to his players during a friendly football match between Chile and South Korea at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, south of Seoul, on Sept. 11, 2018. (Yonhap)

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