S. Korea defeats Laos 5-0 for 6th straight win in World Cup qualification

November 17, 2015
Son Heung-min celebrates after scoring S.Korea's third goal. (Yonhap)

Son Heung-min celebrates after scoring S.Korea’s third goal. (Yonhap)

VIENTIANE, Laos (Yonhap) — South Korea defeated Laos 5-0 on the road Tuesday for their sixth straight win in the regional World Cup qualification round.

Big guns came through for South Korea at New Laos National Stadium, as captain Ki Sung-yueng scored twice and set up another, while Tottenham Hotspurs’ Son Heung-min also grabbed a brace.

South Korea improved to a perfect 6-0-0 to stay atop Group G in the second round of the Asian qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. They have scored 23 goals and given up none.

This was the last international match for South Korea. Coached by Uli Stielike, South Korea posted 16 wins, tied for the second most victories in a calendar year — matching the mark set in 1980 — along with three draws and just one loss in 2015. That defeat came way back in January, in the AFC Asian Cup final against Australia.

South Korea opened the scoring just three minutes in to set the tone. Forward Suk Hyun-jun was brought down in the box by defender Khamphoumy Hanevila, and Ki stepped up to convert the ensuing penalty for the 1-0 lead.

Son Heung-min nearly scored the second goal for South Korea six minutes later, on a header that bounced into the goalkeeper Phoutpasong Sengdalavong. After a brief lull, Suk’s hard shot from the top of the box traveled past two defenders and just missed on the short side in the 24th.

Ki ended the dry spell in the 33rd. Left back Park Joo-ho, who had a busy first half, found Ki alone on the left side of the box, and the captain’s shot from the sharp angle bounced in off the right post.

It was Ki’s eighth goal in his 80th international match. It marked the first time Ki scored twice in an international match.

Ki played the role of a helper in the next minute. After a neat give-and-go with Lee Jae-sung, Ki sent a cross for Son, who soared and deposited an unchallenged header.

Suk got in on the act in the 44th. Lee Jae-sung threaded a pass to Suk through multiple defenders, and the forward fired a hard shot to the top shelf. Suk has scored both of his two international goals against Laos.

South Korea seemed content with the comfortable lead in the second half, until Son made it a 5-0 match in the 67th. Ki sent a looping cross from left, and Lee Jae-sung dropped it with his head for Son, who struck it past Sengdalavong from the point-blank range.

There are eight groups of five nations in the current qualification stage. The eight group winners and the four best runners-up will reach the next round.

South Korea’s next qualifier will be against Lebanon on March 24 next year, and they will close out the round against Kuwait five days later.