Korea manages a draw with short China teamThe Korean national team ended its opening match in the East Asian Football Federation Championship tied with an undermanned Chinese team 1-1 in Daejeon on Sunday.
During the game in the Daejeon World Cup Stadium, Korea allowed a goal from a scramble in the box among 10 players in the seventh minute of the second half. Defender Sun Xiang scored from the left of the goal box off a long diagonal pass which he volleyed past goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae.
In the 28th minute of the second half, defender Kim Jin-kyu scored an equalizer with a free kick that traveled 30 meters and curved over Chinese keeper Li Jian’s left hand.
When the judge blew the final whistle, the eight players from China celebrated as if they had won the game. Chinese team manager Zhu Guanghu came in for an interview and was greeted with applause from Chinese journalists.
Mr. Zhu complimented his players for doing their best: Only eight players continued to play until the end as three players were red-carded for fouls and sent off.
The manager also thanked Korean spectators for cheering for the Chinese players as well. Mr. Zhu said he fully respected the referee’s decision in awarding the Korean team a penalty kick, which was saved.
China was shorthanded from the beginning. In the sixth minute of the first half, as a Chinese player was about to take a free kick, his team’s captain, defender Li Weifeng, pushed Korean defender You Kyoung-youl in the face with his right hand. You fell to the ground, but Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura mistakenly gave a red card to forward Gao Lin.
With one man short, China began tightening its defense. The Korean team kept applying pressure in the first half but to no avail. Right-wing forward Kim Jin-ryong and right midfielder Park Kyu-seon often overlapped each other, while left-wing forward Lee Chun-soo was unable to show any decisive moves.
In the 36th minute of the second half, forward Lee Dong-gook’s shot hit the goal post, and two minutes later midfielder Kim Dong-jin bumped into a Chinese defender and won a penalty kick.
Two Chinese players were red-carded after protesting the decision, but Lee’s penalty shot went straight to the Chinese goalkeeper.
Since 1978, Korea has never lost to China in A-level international matches, recording 15 wins and 11 draws.
In the match between North Korea and Japan, North Korea prevailed 1-0, with midfielder Kim Yong-jun’s right-footed shot off a pass from midfielder Kim Chol-ho in the 26th minute of the first half.
The North Korean team lost to Japan twice in the Asian final qualifying rounds for the 2006 World Cup. After the game, North Korean players ran toward the stand and thanked the cheering spectators. This is the first time since the Dynasty Cup in 1990 in Beijing, China that North Korea has beaten Japan.
by Jeong Young-jae, Limb Jae-un