S. Korea wins in Lebanon for the first time 3-0

September 8, 2015

For their third consecutive victory in the regional World Cup soccer qualifying tournament 

Suk Hyun-jun takes a shot against Lebanon. He did not score in the game, but drew the foul which led to the first goal. Jang Hyun-soo converted the penalty kick. (Yonhap)

Suk Hyun-jun takes a shot against Lebanon. He did not score in the game, but drew the foul which led to the first goal. Jang Hyun-soo converted the penalty kick. (Yonhap)

SIDON, Lebanon (Yonhap) — South Korea defeated Lebanon 3-0 on Tuesday for their third consecutive victory in the regional World Cup qualifying tournament, a complete effort at both ends of the field.

Jang Hyun-soo and Kwon Chang-hoon scored a goal apiece in each half, while Lebanon scored on itself, as South Korea claimed the top spot in Group G with an undefeated record in the second round of the Asian qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

It was South Korea’s first victory in Lebanon in four matches, dating back to 1993. They had managed just one loss and two draws in the last three trips to the Middle Eastern country.

South Korea are also paired with Kuwait, Myanmar and Laos. They defeated Myanmar 2-0 in June and Laos 8-0 Thursday. South Korea will next face Kuwait on the road on Oct. 8.

Kuwait also have three wins but trail South Korea in goals, plus-13 to plus-12.

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

South Korea have played in the past eight World Cup finals.

Fresh off a convincing victory last week, the South Koreans picked up right where they left off.

Four and a half minutes in, midfielder Ki Sung-yueng pounced on the loose ball at the arc, forcing goalkeeper Abbas Hassan to make a diving save.

South Korea kept the pressure on with crisp passes and smart positioning. Then in the 20th minute, forward Suk Hyun-jun drew a penalty after colliding with defenders Youssef Mohamad and Walid Ismail inside the Lebanon box.

Jang, making his second straight start as the right back, stepped up and banked it in off the right post for the 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute.

South Korea doubled the lead just four minutes later, as Lebanon defender Ali Hamam put one into his own net.

Midfielder Kwon Chang-hoon took control of the ball on the right flank and flicked the ball over to charging Koo Ja-cheol, who was quickly surrounded by three defenders. Then Hamam, trying to keep pace with Koo, ended up kicking one past his own goalkeeper Hassan.

Just past the half-hour mark, Lebanon threatened with a free kick from outside the right edge of the box. Mohamad Haidar’s curling kick, however, was easily punched out by South Korean custodian Kim Seung-gyu.

On the other end, Kwon launched a sinking mid-range shot in the 41st minute that surprised Hassan, who barely kept it out of the net.

Kwon, who scored twice against Laos, had his moment at the hour mark. With his back to the net, Kwon received a nifty pass from Ki Sung-yueng at the top of the box, and turned and fired one past the stunned Hassan for a 3-0 advantage.

Lebanon tried to fight back but failed to foil the tight South Korean defense.

It was such a thorough victory that South Korea head coach Uli Stielike said he didn’t have to do much work on the sidelines.

“When the players execute their game plan and take care of business, then coaches are essentially on vacation on the bench,” he said. “This match was like that. Though we had some difficulties in the last 10 minutes or so, we dominated this match from start to finish.”

Stielike praised his players for “playing smart football” as they built an early two-goal lead.

“With poor pitch conditions, it was difficult to generate spectacular plays,” he added. “But we were still able to exploit open space on their defense effectively.”

 

 

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