SPORTS

S. Korea stuns Switzerland in football friendly

By 서지연
  • Published : Nov 15, 2013 - 22:17
  • Updated : Nov 15, 2013 - 22:17

South Korea stunned Switzerland with a 2-1 victory in their football friendly match here on Friday, erasing an earlier deficit in the spirited second half.

At Seoul World Cup Stadium, Bolton Wanderers winger Lee Chung-yong headed in the go-ahead goal in the 86th minute, as the 56th-ranked hosts upset the world No. 7.  

South Korea's record under head coach Hong Myung-bo improved to three wins, three losses and three draws.

It was the first clash between the two countries since Switzerland defeated South Korea 2-0 in the final Group G match at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. The loss knocked South Korea out of the tournament, while Switzerland advanced to the round of 16.

This was also South Korea's final friendly match at home this year. The country will next take on the 19th-ranked Russia in Dubai on Tuesday for its last international contest of 2013.

South Korea came out of the gate with more energy, but Switzerland struck first in the sixth minute. Pajtim Kasami stole Lee Yong's clearing attempt in midfield and sprinted toward the South Korean net, before firing one under the hands of the diving goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu.

South Korea had a goal disallowed on an offside call in the 13th minute. Kim Shin-wook, the 196-centimeter striker, headed in a lengthy free kick by Ki Sung-yueng from midfield, but was ruled to have been behind the Swiss defense on the play.

Switzerland nearly doubled the lead in the 22nd, when forward Haris Seferovic took a long outlet pass and broke in alone on Kim Seung-gyu. The South Korean netminder stood his ground this time and kept out Seferovic's shot from the top of the arc.

South Koreans controlled the pace to open the second half, and their efforts finally bore fruit in the 58th, when Hong Jeong-ho, the 188-centimeter defender, dashed toward the net and jumped over a crowd of Swiss players to head in Ki's corner from left.

It was Hong's first international goal in his 21st match.

Lee Chung-yong then sealed the deal for the hosts, jumping over Gokhan Inler to head in a picture-perfect cross by Lee Keun-ho from left wing. Goalkeeper Diego Benaglio stood froze on the ground and helplessly watched the ball get past him and into the net.   

Lee almost picked up his second goal in injury time, but Benaglio this time made a diving save on Lee's curling shot from the left corner of the box.   

Following Hong's equalizer, Lee had almost given South Korea a lead in the 71st. He intercepted a pass in midfield and penetrated deep into the Swiss zone, but his shot was deflected out of play by two opposing defenders.

Though he didn't score a goal, forward Kim Shin-wook was also the offensive spark plug for South Korea. In the 55th, Kim took a feed from midfield and deftly set up the charging Lee Chung-yong, whose shot from the top of the box was barely kept out by goalkeeper Benaglio.

Two minutes later, Kim sent a perfect cross for the head of Lee Keun-ho, but Benaglio was there to punch it out of play.   

The flustered Switzerland spent the majority of the second half fending off feisty South Koreans, and barely mounted any challenge against Kim Seung-gyu in the South Korean net.