April 01, 2015 12:25
Korea beat New Zealand 1-0 in Tuesday's friendly at Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul with substitute Lee Jae-sung scoring the lone goal. It was Korea's first win since beating Iraq 2-0 in the 2015 Asian Cup semifinals in Australia.
Korea managed one win and one draw from two friendlies in March. In June, it moves into the second round of regional preliminaries in preparation for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. These involve eight groups of five teams, playing home and away in a round-robin format. Twelve teams will advance to the next round -- the top team from each group, plus the four teams with the next-best results in the round.
Korea was less than impressive against a young New Zealand side ranked 134th in the world by FIFA. The Kiwis -- eight of whose starting players were born in or after 1990 -- pushed the Korean side hard, showing good strength and speed, and causing their opponents to struggle to find opportunities.
The hero for Korea emerged in the unlikely form of Lee, who only made his international debut against Uzbekistan on Friday last week. Coming on as a substitute, he put away the game winner in the 86th minute after Kim Bo-kyung's shot came off the goalkeeper.
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