June 10, 2021 10:54
Korea beat Sri Lanka 5-0 in a match held in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province on Wednesday. The match was part of the second round of Asian Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and with Wednesday's victory, Korea secured its place in the final round, regardless of whether it wins or loses in the remaining match against Lebanon this weekend.
Manager Paulo Bento this time fielded a team consisting mostly of players who did not take part in the previous match against Turkmenistan last week.
Bento benched Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur, Hwang Ui-jo of FC Girondins de Bordeaux and Lee Jae-sung of Holstein Kiel. Instead, Kim Shin-wook of Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, Hwang Hee-chan of RB Leipzig and Song Min-kyu of Pohang Steelers were deployed. Midfielder Nam Tae-hee of Al-Sadd was the only one who played in both matches.
Kim scored twice, including one penalty, and Lee Dong-gyeong of Ulsan Hyundai scored in the first half. In the second half, Hwang and Jung Sang-bin of Suwon Samsung Bluewings added more goals.
However, Bento's trial of his alternative squad left something to be desired. Korea was not efficient in penetrating Sri Lanka's solid defense, and unable to get many shot opportunities.
Sri Lanka's Asikumar Rahuman was taken out of the match after two yellow cards in the 57th minute, but Korea failed to add to its tally.
Nonetheless, Korea, which has earned 13 points from four wins and one draw, technically earned a berth to the next round regardless of the outcome of its match against Lebanon this Sunday.
Korea is likely to remain at the top of its group consisting of Lebanon, Sri Lanka and Turkmenistan.
Eight top finishers in each group and four second-place finishers with the most points will advance to the final round of Asian qualifiers.
Meanwhile, the footballers and fans observed a moment of silence for Yoo Sang-chul, former manager of Incheon United, who passed away on Monday after his nearly two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Pictures and retrospective video clips of Yoo were shown on the scoreboard just ahead of Wednesday's match, and the Korean footballers played wearing black armbands.
Yoo's funeral took place on Wednesday morning at Asan Medical Center in Seoul. He was cremated and his ashes were buried in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province, alongside those of his mother, who died last year of the same disease.
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