World Cup: South Korea impressive in 2-0 win over Greece
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South Korea eased to a 2-0 win over a lackluster Greece side at Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in Saturday’s first Group B match of the World Cup.
Lee Jung-soo tapped in unmarked to open the scoring in the seventh minute at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and captain Park Ji-sung doubled the lead in the 52nd minute with a slick unassisted goal.
The Manchester United midfielder collected a misplaced pass from Vassilis Torosidis and skipped past two defenders before slipping a shot across goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas and in at the far post.
Striker Park Chu-young had another three chances to score for South Korea and Fanis Gekas had a shot saved with 10 minutes left for what was Greece’s first clear effort.
Greece Coach Otto Rehhagel stood on the touchline at the end of the match, his hands on his hips and a fierce scowl on his face.
Nigeria and Argentina play later Saturday in the other Group B match.
South Korea spent much of the opening minutes giving the ball away to the former European champions and defending desperately, but it scored from its first real chance.
Ki Sung-yong curled in a free kick with his right foot from near the left corner flag and the ball brushed the top of Konstantinos Katsouranis’ head before reaching Lee at the far post. The central defender easily tapped into an unguarded net. Park Chu-young also had two chances before halftime.
Rehhagel took off captain Giorgos Karagounis at halftime but South Korea continued to dominate despite Greece’s adventurous three-man attack and Park Ji-sung made it 2-0.
Torosidis gave the ball away to Park midway inside his own half. Park surged forward and beat two sliding tackles before coolly scoring with a low shot.
Greece mustered only a couple of blocked shots and appealed desperately for a late penalty when Gekas’ shot hit a defender. The South Korean had his arms raised but replays showed the ball hit his body.
Gekas then unleashed a shot from about 12 meters (yards) but goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong punched it over the bar.
South Korea faces Argentina on Thursday and must now try to improve on its 2006 showing.
After reaching the 2002 semifinals as co-host with Japan in 2002, South Korea won its 2006 opener against Togo but was still eliminated from the first round after drawing with France and losing to Switzerland.