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New Chapter for Korean Soccer Begins With Win over Iran

Posted October. 14, 2005 07:36,   


The Korean national soccer team led by head coach Dick Advocaat is off to a strong start after a decisive victory over powerful rival Iran.

In the A match against Iran held Wednesday at Seoul World Cup Stadium, Korea came out on top, 2-0 thanks to a goal scored by Cho Won-hee just 59 seconds after the first half began, and an additional goal by Kim Jin-kyu 45 minutes into the second half.

On the first goal, Park Chu-young broke through Iran’s left flank and passed the ball, which got away after glancing off the head of one of Iran’s defensive players. Cho Won-hee, waiting to their right, caught up with the ball and sent a powerful shot off two other defense players and into the right-hand corner of the goal.

Cho was named the game’s MVP for his play.

Cho set the national team record for the shortest time elapsed before scoring since 1979. The official all-time record is held by former youth team coach Park Sung-hwa on September 14, 1979, when he scored against Bahrain just 20 seconds into the game, said a member of the Korea Football Association.

The Korean team was in danger of giving up a goal 43 minutes into the second half when Iran won a free kick from the right side of the goal. But Lee Woon-jae punched the ball out of the way to avert the potential crisis. Launching a counterattack, Ahn Jung-hwan dribbled the ball over a stretch of some 30m and relayed it to Kim Jin-kyu, who scored the second goal by lobbing the ball over the head of the opposing goal keeper.

The national team’s victory over Iran on Wednesday was its first in four years and six months since the team played in a four-team tournament in Egypt in April 2001. In July of last year, Korea lost to Iran, 3-4 in the quarterfinal round of the Asian Cup.

Korea has now moved ahead of Iran in their record over the years, with eight wins, three draws, and seven losses.

Coach Advocaat deployed his three top attackers for Wednesday’s match by positioning Lee Dong-gook in the center, Park Chu-young in left field, and Park Ji-sung in right. Of particular note was his bold experiment of using Cho Won-hee and Lee Ho, both first-timers in an A match, in the starting lineup.