|Neymar da Silva and Lee Chung-yong (right) fight for the ball in a friendly football match held at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Sunday. (Yonhap News)|
Brazil blanked South Korea 2-0 in their football friendly here on Saturday, as its brightest stars came through with goals worthy of highlight reels.
Before a record crowd at Seoul World Cup Stadium, FC Barcelona star Neymar and Chelsea sensation Oscar scored a goal apiece, as the visitors outclassed aggressive South Koreans all game.
Brazil, currently No. 8 in the world, has beaten the 58th-ranked South Korea in four of their five meetings.
Following a relatively quiet early stretch, Neymar lived up to his billing with a picture-perfect free kick score in the 43rd minute. After getting fouled several meters right of the arc, Neymar stepped up to curl one over the South Korean wall and past the diving goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong.
Neymar faced tough challenges from South Koreans almost from start to finish. The winger was pursued by multiple South Korean players nearly every time he had the ball, which often led to hard fouls that visibly frustrated him.
Neymar frequently threw his hands up as he mouthed his displeasure with referees and even found himself in the center of a shoving match with several South Koreans late in the first half.
Brazil went up by two just three minutes into the second half.
Paulinho threaded a pass in between two South Korean defenders to find the charging Oscar on a breakaway, and the midfielder zipped past the prone Jung and fired one into the empty net.
South Koreans tried to rally in the second half, but their efforts were often foiled by speedy and skilled Brazilian defenders.
In the 68th, Lee Chung-yong tried to head in a corner but redirected it wide of the left post.
South Korea never came closer to scoring the rest of the match, as Brazil remained in complete control.
The match drew a record crowd of 65,308. The previous high for a match at Seoul World Cup Stadium was 65,256 that watched South Korea face Germany in the semifinals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
Despite the loss, South Korean head coach Hong Myung-bo praised his players for their hard work, saying the game will serve as a good learning experience for his young players.
"I don't think we played that poorly, and we executed things that we had prepared to do," he said at the post-match press conference. "I am sure our players gained more confidence after this, and that really is an important part for the team. I think this alone is a huge plus for us."
Asked about some testy moments during the game between his players and Neymar, Hong said he didn't think South Koreans lost their cool.
"I think we played it fair," he said. "Our players played tough and did their best."
Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said his team exceeded his expectations.
"I think we overcame a lot of difficulties," he said through an interpreter. "South Korea is a talented team, but I think they only showed their quality over the final 20 minutes and surprised us with their speed."
Scolari said he felt South Koreans committed too many fouls in the first half but appeared to run out of gas later on after spending much of the match trying to stop the Brazilians.
"We simply played football," he said. "I think South Koreans were trying too hard to do well."
South Korea will next host Mali in Cheonan, about 90 kilometers south of Seoul, on Tuesday. Brazil travels to Beijing to face Zambia, also on Tuesday.
In Hong's seven matches since taking the helm of the national team, South Korea has just one victory, with three losses and three draws. (Yonhap News)