SPORTS

S. Korea blank Latvia in football friendly

By Yonhap
  • Published : Feb 4, 2018 - 09:28
  • Updated : Feb 4, 2018 - 09:28

South Korea blanked Latvia 1-0 in a friendly football match in Turkey on Saturday, wrapping up their pre-World Cup camp with two wins and a draw.

Forward Kim Shin-wook scored the eventual winner in the 33rd minute, his seventh goal in six games, as 59th-ranked South Korea defeated No. 131 Latvia at Mardan Stadium in Antalya in a game that was more lopsided than the score.

South Korea earlier beat Moldova 1-0 and had a 2-2 draw against Jamaica.

Kim extended his scoring streak to four matches. He netted four in three games in Antalya, where South Korea set up a training camp on Jan. 23. Head coach Shin Tae-yong took 24 players, mostly from the domestic K League, to prepare for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.


(Yonhap)


Europe-based stars weren't available for the camp. But because more than a dozen players from Europe and other overseas leagues are expected to make the World Cup roster, this camp was one of the last remaining chances for K League players to make their World Cup case.

Kim, a Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors star in the top-tier K League 1, has thrown his hat into the ring with his scoring streak here.

The 196-centimeter forward used all of his height and more to head in the match's first goal on Saturday. As Lee Seung-gi took a corner kick, Kim soared over a crowd of defenders and deftly redirected the ball past goalkeeper Kaspars Ikstens.

Latvia had zero shots in the first half, while South Korea nearly doubled the lead just before halftime. Winger Lee Jae-sung found himself all alone on the right side of the box but missed the net to the right with his volley.

South Korea kept the pedal to the metal in the second half but couldn't put one in the back of the net despite creating a lot of buzz.

In the 62nd minute, Lee Jae-sung's header went right at Ikstens in the Latvian net. Then left back Hong Chul, who came off the bench in the second half, tried to connect with Kim Shin-wook for the latter's second of the match. But Kim missed the target on back-to-back chances midway through the second half.

Kim then tried to play the setup role and fed Kim Sung-joon for a shot that was barely stopped by Ikstens.

South Korea continued to pepper the custodian with shots but ended up walking away with the one-goal victory.

South Korea are now undefeated in their last eight matches, with five wins and three draws. (Yonhap)