Korea nips Mexico in 1-0 thrillerSouth Korea’s soccer team took a major step in its quest for Olympic honor in Athens yesterday with a 1-0 triumph over Mexico. With a tie or victory in its next match, the Korean side will advance to the quarterfinals.
Kim Jung-woo, 22-year-old midfielder, struck the only goal of the match in the 15th minute, taking a pass about 25 meters from goal.
The ball, nearly brushing a Mexican defender, sailed into the top left corner of the net, while Mexico’s goalkeeper Jose Corona stood motionless.
South Korea’s goalkeeper Kim Young-kwang staved off repeated attempts by Mexico to score an equalizer during the second half.
“We knew from the beginning of the tournament that scoring goals was a major problem for our team,” Mexico’s assistant coach, Francisco Ramirez, said after the game.
“We kept on playing well, circulating the ball, but it was very difficult to penetrate the solid Korean defense,” Ramirez said.
About 800 Korean fans gathered at the stadium to cheer their team.
South Korea’s coach Kim Ho-kon thanked his players. “It was a really long time to fight in a match in such hot weather,” he said. “We are a team with very good speed, but the hot weather slowed our players down a bit. But we still won because our players did not give up.”
The victory puts South Korea second in Group A, trailing Mali, which defeated Greece 2-0. Korea now needs a draw with Mali on Tuesday evening (early Wednesday morning in Korea) to reach the quarterfinals. Even if Korea loses the encounter with Mali, the team could still advance if the match between Greece and Mexico finishes in a draw.
by Ser Myo-ja
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