‘Enthusiastic’ team falls to Colombia in friendlyThe enthusiasm was there, but decisive moves were not enough to produce goals as the Korean national team played like a car with a new engine running on a gravel road ― it was more powerful and faster, but lacked stability.
The national team failed to maintain an early lead and lost to Colombia 1-2 in a friendly match held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Sunday. The team consisted of members who play in the domestic league, and it is in the middle of overseas training in the city.
The game was Korea’s first loss to the South American country, after one victory and two draws in the past. Korean teams have played 11 friendly matches in Los Angeles and have not won since 1990, with six draws and five losses.
National team coach Johannes Bonfrere sent young players to the front as he promised.
Bonfrere used the 3-4-3 formation, with Namkung Do, Kim Dong-hyun and Chung Kyung-ho on offense. The game was the second “A” FIFA-registered international match for Namkung, Kim, and defender You Kyoung-youl. It was the first A-match for midfielder Oh Beom-seok and defender Kim Jin-kyu, who is about to turn 20.
Although Korea lost the game, it was an opportunity to measure the potential of newcomers like Oh, You, Namkung and Kim.
Bonfrere was positive about the results and said the players performed well for the first five minutes, although they later became too nervous. But he added that they all have great potential. “They made mistakes, but it was better to make mistakes now than one month later,” he added.
Three minutes into the game, Chung Kyung-ho caught Kim Dong-jin’s corner and sent a powerful header that left Colombian goalkeeper David Gonzalez with no chance.
The Korean team put strong pressure on their opponents in the midfield and on offense, but to no avail.
About 30 minutes into the first half, however, they relinquished control of the game and despite being enthusiastic, failed to take it back.
Three minutes before the break, Kim Dong-jin’s sloppy tackle resulted in a penalty kick, and Korean goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae could not stop the ball. The spot kick by a calm Jaime Castrillon found the net in the top corner and tied the score.
In the second half, Bonfrere put Lee Dong-gook, Kim Nam-il and Kim Do-heon onto the field. But the team kept missing crucial chances. Five minutes into the second half, Namkung’s header bounced off the Colombian goal post and a few minutes later, his turning shot was sent right at the Colombian goalkeeper.
Thirty minutes into the second half, Edixon Perea intercepted a defensive pass by Kim Jin-kyu and curled his shot into the goal to give the Colombians the decisive goal and win.
Korea will have a friendly match with Paraguay on Thursday.
by Jeong Young-jae, Limb Jae-un
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