South Korea strolls past Lebanon in WCup qualifier
Kim Bo-kyoung scored the opening two goals as South Korea defeated Lebanon 3-0 on Tuesday to make it two wins from two in the final round of Asian qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup.
The Japan-based winger fired home from the edge of the area for the opener in the 29th minute, and then broke through the Lebanese backline early in the second half for his second. Koo Ja-cheol added a late goal to seal the win.
The result kept Korea at the top of Group A with six points while Lebanon has one from three and has dropped to last. The top two teams from the group qualify directly for Brazil 2014 while the third-placed team goes into a playoff with the third team from Group B.
Korea's coach Choi Kang-hee was enthused by a second convincing win in four days after the team won 4-1 in Qatar on Friday.
''We were on top from the beginning and managed to get ahead at a good time,'' Choi said after the game. ''What we have to do know is to continue the form we have shown in the last two games in the rest of the qualification.
''It was a difficult game for us. I want to thank the players for their hard work. The players are aware of the importance of these games in the final round of qualification but this is a good start and nothing more.''
Korea dominated its opponent from the start despite losing Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-yeung to injury early in the game.
Kim, who plays for Cerezo Osaka in Japan, opened the scoring when his shot from the edge of the area went in off the crossbar.
Lebanon attacks were few and far between and just two minutes after the restart, Kim collected the ball on the halfway line and outran the surrounding defenders to score his second.
''Kim put in a good performance tonight and he can play anywhere behind the strikers,'' said Choi. ''He took his goals very well and kept going right until the end, like the rest of his team.''
Koo capped the scoring as regulation time expired, stripping the ball from a too-casual Lebanon defender on the edge of the area and lashing in a fierce shot.
''Korea deserved to win. We were 50 percent better than last time,'' said Lebanon's German coach Theo Bucker, referring to the 6-0 loss at the same Goyang Stadium in the previous round of qualification last September.
''At the present time, we are not able to compare ourselves with Korea. They are far ahead of us in many aspects. It is sad we are missing three players who are very important to the way we play.''
''We are happy to reach the final round. We have to dream but we had to be realistic as we were not going to win here.''