Korea, Japan suffer defeats to S. American foes

  • Other Sport
  • Monday, 09 Jun 2003

SEOUL: Uruguay coach Juan Ramon Carrasco enjoyed his first win in charge yesterday, his side showing the greater guile in a 2-0 friendly victory against South Korea. 

The Koreans, who had lost both their previous encounters with the South American side, failed to convert a string of decent chances in the Seoul World Cup Stadium. 

“Despite South Korea playing their pressing game as they did in the World Cup, they couldn't defend against our speed,” Carrasco told a news conference. 

After a bright start by the home side, Uruguay began to impose themselves and Martin Liguera shot just over the bar after a clever free kick by Inter Milan midfielder Alvaro Recoba in the fifth minute. 

Uruguay took the lead seven minutes later after South Korea's defence failed to clear a hopeful pass from Alejandro Lembo and striker German Hornos picked up the loose ball to slot home comfortably. 

The second Uruguay goal came in the 53rd minute when striker Sebastian Abreu, who plays for Nacional, scored from close range after latching on to a misfired shot by Hornos. Abreu also scored twice when the two teams met in February. 

Failure to score goals has been South Korea's weakness under former Portugal coach Humberto Coelho – they have managed just one in their last four games. 

n OSAKA: Javier Saviola (pic) and Javier Zanetti scored superb first-half goals to set Argentina on the way to a comprehensive 4-1 victory over hosts Japan in the Kirin Cup yesterday. 

Playmaker Pablo Aimar skipped past two tackles to create the opener for Saviola in the 30th minute, the Barcelona striker firing a dipping right-foot shot past goalkeeper Seigo Narazaki from the edge of the box to silence the crowd of 43,000 in Osaka. 

Saviola, unlucky not to claim a hat-trick, played a part in the second goal, giving a return pass to the surging Zanetti, who crashed an unstoppable shot past Narazaki from 25 metres just before the interval. 

Japan pulled a goal back in the 55th minute when defender Yutaka Akita met a corner from Brazilian-born substitute Alex with a glancing header that crept just inside the far post. 

But Argentina, missing several first-team regulars, quickly re-established control and the twice World Cup winners added late goals through substitutes Bernardo Romeo and Maximiliano Rodriguez. 

Japan, who play Paraguay on Wednesday in their final match before the June 18-29 Confederations Cup in France, have now won just once in six games under Brazilian coach Zico. 

“We dug ourselves a big hole in the first half by letting them dictate the tempo like that,” shrugged the 50-year-old, who had been looking for a more positive response from his players after losing 1-0 to South Korea last weekend. 

“That was down to a lack of mental toughness,” he added. “We got a quick goal at the start of the second half but then they caught us as we pushed for the equaliser.” – Reuters  

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