S. Korea inches past Kuwait 1-0, undefeated in World Cup qualifiers

October 8, 2015
Kuwait's Sulaiman Abdulghafoor, right, vies for the ball with South Korea's Kwak Tae-hwi during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Group G, qualifying soccer match between Kuwait and South Korea in Kuwait City, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. (AP Photo)

Kuwait’s Sulaiman Abdulghafoor, right, vies for the ball with South Korea’s Kwak Tae-hwi during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Group G, qualifying soccer match between Kuwait and South Korea in Kuwait City, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. (AP Photo)

KUWAIT CITY (Yonhap) — South Korea defeated Kuwait 1-0 here Thursday for their fourth consecutive victory in the Asian qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, inching closer to their ninth straight appearance in the quadrennial tournament.

Midfielder Koo Ja-cheol put South Korea on the board with a header in the 12th minute, and it was all South Korea needed in the hard-fought victory at Al Kuwait Sports Club Stadium in Kuwait City.

Coached by Uli Stielike, the undefeated South Korea stayed atop Group G in the second round of the Asian qualification with 12 points. They have scored 14 goals and allowed none. Kuwait are in second with nine points.

There are eight groups of five teams in the current stage, and the eight group winners, along with four best runners-up, will reach the third round.

South Korea will next play Myanmar on Nov. 12, and then Laos on Nov. 17. They will close out the round with matches against Lebanon on March 24 next year and Kuwait five days later.

South Korea made the road trip without two key offensive players, Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min and Crystal Palace midfielder Lee Chung-yong, both out with foot injuries.

Their absence appeared to have little effect, as Koo headed in a Park Joo-ho cross for his first international goal since March.

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