Korea beat Mali 3-1 on Tuesday in their friendly match in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province, giving the 26,100 fans that showed up good reason to cheer in the wake of a spate of disappointing results in previous matches.
Koo Ja-cheol of Wolfsburg, Son Heung-min of Leverkusen and Kim Bo-kyung of Cardiff City all scored for the hosts.
Korea, ranked world No. 58, had struggled to score in previous games. But the team kept to Hong Myung-bo's game plan on Tuesday to hand the manager his second victory since taking over the reins this summer.
Since 2010, Korea has five wins, one draw and one loss against African teams.