South Korea extended their unbeaten streak under new head coach Paulo Bento by beating Uzbekistan 4-0 in a friendly football match on Tuesday.
Four South Korean players scored a goal apiece at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre in Nathan, a suburb of Brisbane, Australia, earning their team their first win on the road since Bento took over the helm in August.
Bento now has three wins and three draws with South Korea, the longest unbeaten start for a national football team head coach. Jo Bonfrere had a five-game undefeated stretch to start his job with South Korea in 2004.
South Korea national football team players celebrate after scoring a goal against Uzbekistan in a friendly football match at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre in Nathan, a suburb of Brisbane, Australia, on Nov. 20, 2018. (Yonhap)
The friendly against Uzbekistan was South Korea's last match before assembling a squad for the 2019 Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup, which kicks off in the United Arab Emirates in January.
South Korea are scheduled to have their final Asian Cup tuneup match against Saudi Arabia in the UAE on Dec. 31.
South Korea deployed a familiar 4-2-3-1 formation, with Gamba Osaka striker Hwang Ui-jo starting upfront. Lee Yong, Jung Seung-hyun, Kim Young-gwon and Park Joo-ho formed South Korea's back four.
Bento's side opened the scoring in the ninth minute. Hwang In-beom found the overlapping Lee Yong, and the right back delivered a fine cross to Nam Tae-hee, who volleyed home with a left-footed strike for a 1-0 lead.
In the 17th, Lee Chung-yong made a shot with his right foot, but it was tipped away by Uzbek goalkeeper Ignatiy Nesterov. In the 23rd, Nam's middle-range effort went straight to the goalkeeper.
South Korea doubled their lead in the 24th minute. Following a Ju Se-jong corner kick, Lee Yong's strike in the box was blocked by Nesterov. However, Hwang Ui-jo pounced on a rebound from a tight angle to extend South Korea's lead.
Uzbekistan, led by manager Hector Cuper, tested the South Korean defense in the 37th minute. Both Javokhir Sidikov's right-footed attempt and Azizbek Turgunbaev's left-footed shot were stopped by South Korean goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo.
Trying to improve their attack, Uzbekistan replaced Turgunbaev for Marat Bikmaev to start the second half.
South Korea were forced to make their first substitution in the 51st after Nam fell down on the pitch with an apparent right foot injury. The attacking midfielder was later taken off on a stretcher and was replaced by Moon Seon-min.
Looking for more goals, South Korea didn't slow down their attack. Hwang In-beom made two powerful middle-range strikes in the 62nd and 63rd minutes, but both attempts were denied by Nesterov.
In the 69th, South Korea replaced Hwang Ui-jo with Suk Hyun-jun, and seconds later they made the score 3-0. Following a corner kick, Moon unleashed a left-footed screamer just outside the box that left Nesterov helpless.
South Korea didn't stop there. In the 81st, second-half substitute Lee Jin-hyun's shot was blocked by Islom Tukhtakhodjaev, but the ball landed on Suk, who easily slotted it home for South Korea's fourth goal.
Bikmaev tried to save Uzbekistan from a shutout loss, but his strike in the 89th was saved by Jo. (Yonhap)