U-23 team earns first Asiad win

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U-23 team earns first Asiad win

Korea earned the confidence-boosting win over Jordan it was looking for in its second 2010 Asian Games Group C match yesterday. With the help of Koo Ja-cheol’s two goals in the first half, Korea cruised to a 4-0 win at Mount Yuexiu Stadium in Guangzhou, China yesterday evening.

Coming off a tough 1-0 loss against the North Koreans in which the U-23 national team lacked flare on offense and lapsed on defense, South Korea managed to pull off what could be a momentum-shifting match against the Jordanians.

Manager Hong Myung-bo tweaked his offense, deciding to use Ji Dong-won in place of Park Hee-sung up top and also went with Seo Jung-jin instead of Kim Min-woo at the right wing position. The minor shake up resulted in an offensive outburst as Korea made good use of attack routes up the sidelines.

It didn’t take long for Korea to score its opening goal. Captain Koo netted in the opener in the 21st minute to put Korea up 1-0. Koo padded Korea’s lead with his second goal of the game on a free-kick in the 44th minute.

Entering the second half nursing a two goal lead, Korea did not let up and continued to press. Kim Bo-kyung scored in the 47th minute and Cho Young-cheol added another in the 78th minute.

Koo, Kim and Cho were all key members of manager Hong’s U-20 squad that reached the quarterfinals of the 2009 U-20 World Cup in Egypt.

Koo of Jeju United scored five goals in K-League matches to help his Jeju team to a record of 17 wins, eight draws and three losses for a second-place finish. Kim is currently on loan with Oita Trinita in the J-League’s Division 2 after signing a three-year contract with Cerezo Osaka of the J-League last year. Cho is coming off an impressive season with the Albirex Niigata in which he netted 11 goals.

Hong managed to work star striker Park Chu-young into the lineup, substituting the forward for Kim in the 62nd minute. Park looked to be fully recovered from his jet lag, connecting on a shot in the penalty box soon after entering the match. He would go on to assist on Cho’s goal with a heel pass in the 78th minute.

Korea’s defense, which saw Hong Jeong-ho and Shin Kwang-hoon return to the starting lineup, looked much more stable in comparison to the opening match in which it struggled to adapt to the quick counter attack of the North Koreans. Korea limited Jordan to one shot on net in the game. Korea can secure a place in the round of 16 with a win over Palestine in its final Group C match on Saturday at 5 p.m.

By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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