The ‘Klinsmann ship’ has earned its first win in six matches since setting sail.
South Korea, led by Jürgen Klinsmann, defeated Saudi Arabia 1-0 in an exhibition match at St. James’ Park in Newcastle, England, on Wednesday (Feb. 13), thanks to a goal from Cho Kyu-sung in the 32nd minute.
It was South Korea’s first win in six games under Klinsmann. Klinsmann, who was appointed in February, had suffered three draws and two defeats in five matches before the game.
Saudi Arabia, who recently appointed Italian coach Roberto Mancini, had lost six straight games.
South Korea started the game on the offensive, with Hwang Hee-chan’s daring breakthrough from the flank. South Korea pressured their opponents with back-to-back shots from Cho Kyu-sung in the fourth minute and Lee Ki-je in the ninth. In the 12th minute, Son Heung-min scored a goal that seemed to set the tone.
However, as South Korea failed to capitalize on their chances, Saudi Arabia responded immediately. Utilizing their individual skills, they quickly penetrated the Korean backline and took advantage of the opportunity. Goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu made a series of saves to keep the game scoreless.
After holding their ground, Korea broke through in the 32nd minute. From the right flank, Lee Jae-sung shook the defense and sent the ball into the middle. Hwang In-beom’s roving pass in front of the goal bounced off the defense, and Cho Kyu-sung finished with his head.
It was Cho’s first goal in an A-match in about 10 months after his multi-goal performance in the second group game against Ghana at last year’s World Cup in Qatar.
With momentum on their side, South Korea had a chance in the 34th minute when Son Heung-min tripped over a defender’s foot inside the penalty area on a counterattack, but the referee didn’t call a foul. There was no video assistant referee (VAR) in the match.
South Korea continued to push forward, with Cho Kyu-sung, Hwang Hee-chan, and Lee Jae-sung working diligently and connecting on shots, but were unable to add to their lead.
At the start of the second half, South Korea took control of the game with individual efforts from Lee Jae-sung, Son Heung-min, and Hwang Hee-chan.
However, in the 10th minute of the second half, Hwang Hee-chan’s right-footed shot was blocked by the opposing goalkeeper.
As the game remained scoreless, South Korea took off Cho Kyu-sung and Hwang Hee-chan in the 23rd minute and inserted Hwang Eui-jo and Moon Sun-min. In the 32nd minute, Kang Sang-woo replaced Lee Jae-sung and made changes to the side attack.
The new trio worked diligently up front and troubled the opposing defense, but their final shots, crosses, and passes were inaccurate.
In the final minutes of the game, South Korea’s defense, led by Kim Min-jae and Kim Seung-kyu, kept their opponents at bay and held on for a narrow one-goal victory. 온라인바카라
Meanwhile, the national team will be recalled today after a six-match win. The overseas players will head back to their respective leagues, while the K-Leaguers will board a flight to South Korea together.
The players will play their respective club schedules and prepare for the October A matches. South Korea will play Tunisia at Seoul World Cup Stadium on October 13 and Vietnam at Suwon World Cup Stadium on October 17.