Sports

South Korea fall to Ghana 3-2 for first loss in Group H

November 28, 2022
The final whistle blew right after South Korea won a corner, drawing ire of the players and coaches. (@FIFAWorldCup)
The final whistle blew right after South Korea won a corner, drawing ire of the players and coaches. (@FIFAWorldCup)

DOHA — South Korea dropped to Ghana 3-2 in their second Group H match of the FIFA World Cup on Monday, as their furious comeback from an early deficit went for naught.

Mohammed Kudus had a brace for Ghana, including the game winner in the 68th minute, while Mohammed Salisu had the other Ghana goal at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan.

Forward Cho Gue-sung, in his first World Cup start, had both of South Korean goals in the losing cause.

South Korea, who had a goalless draw against Uruguay to start the tournament last Thursday, temporarily dropped to third place in Group H, Portugal, the 3-2 winners over Ghana last week, and Uruguay were scheduled to square off later Monday in Doha. Portugal and Ghana both have three points each.

South Korea will close out the group stage against Portugal at 6 p.m. Friday, back at Education City Stadium.

South Korea had three new players in the starting lineup compared to last Thursday's scoreless draw against Uruguay. Cho replaced Hwang Ui-jo up front, while Kwon Chang-hoon and Jeong Woo-yeong drew in as new attacking midfielders.

Center back Kim Min-jae was back in the starting lineup despite suffering a right calf muscle injury in the Uruguay match.

Ghana built a 2-0 lead in the first half, relying on their superior athleticism and speed to push back at their opponents after South Korea controlled the early run of play.

Following Hwang In-beom's foul on the left wing, Jordan Ayew sent a free kick into the box. From a mad goalmouth scramble, Mohamed Salisu emerged with the match's first goal in the 24th minute.

Though replays appeared to show the ball ricochet off the hand of Ghana captain Andre Ayew, the goal stood following a video assistant referee review.

The goal came on Ghana's first shot attempt, and the African side scored on their very next shot 10 minutes later, as Kudus sneaked behind the defense to head home a Jordan Ayew cross.

South Korea, who did not have a shot on target against Uruguay, had their first attempt on goal in the 53rd minute, when Cho Gue-sung's header forced a tough save by goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi.

In the 57th minutes, midfielder Lee Kang-in came off the bench for Kwon Chang-hoon, and made an immediate impact, setting up Cho's first goal with a perfectly-placed cross.

Lee stripped a Ghana player of the ball deep in the attacking zone and got himself free down the left wing. He then fired a cross into the box and Cho got behind Salisu to meet the ball with his head and cut the deficit in half.

Cho then leveled the score with another header three minutes later. This time, it was Kim Jin-su sending a cross from the left side, just before the ball rolled out of play, and Cho jumped over Salisu and Gideon Mensah for the equalizer.

Just when South Koreans thought the pendulum had swung fully in their favor, Ghana reclaimed the lead in the 68th minute with Kudus' second goal of the match.

Mensah sent a low cross from the left wing toward the middle of the box, and Inaki Williams fanned on a shot attempt and ended up fooling South Korean defenders. The ball ended up at the feet of wide-open Kudus, who slotted it home with his left foot for a 3-2 Ghana lead.

Lee Kang-in fired a threatening free kick from outside the box in the 75th minute, with Ati-Zigi making a diving stop to keep his team ahead.

Forward Hwang Ui-jo came on for midfielder Jung Woo-young in the 79th minute, as South Korea tried to ratchet up their offensive pressure.

South Korea spent almost the entire 10 minutes of additional time in the offensive zone, but Ghana held their ground, with Ati-Zigi denying Cho's hat trick bid from close range in one particularly dangerous opportunity.

The final whistle blew right after South Korea won a corner, drawing ire of the players and coaches. South Korea head coach Paulo Bento was shown a red card by referee Anthony Taylor after a heated exchange. — Yonhap


November 28, 2022
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