May 12, 2017
Forward Lee Seung-woo (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Uruguay in a friendly at Cheongju Stadium in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, on May 11, 2017. (Yonhap)
beat Uruguay 2-0 on Thursday in a friendly match ahead of the FIFA U-20 World Cup at home.
FC Barcelona Juvenil A forward Lee Seung-woo and second half-substitute Kang Ji-hun scored a goal apiece to lift the U-20 World Cup host past the South American qualifying champions at Cheongju Stadium in Cheongju, some 140 kilometers south of Seoul.
South Korea, led by head coach Shin Tae-yong, allowed Uruguay's first shot on target in the fifth minute, but they answered back with Cho Young-wook's left footed strike four minutes later.
As the game was heating up, Uruguay tested South Korea's back three system with Agustin Rogel's header in the 23rd and Nicolas Schiappacasse's left foot strike in the 33rd. But both attempts couldn't get past South Korean goalkeeper Song Bum-keun.
South Korea finally broke the scoreless deadlock in the 39th. Cho's left footed shot following a through ball from Lee Seung-woo
was denied by Uruguay goalkeeper Santiago Mele in the box. But Lee was in the right spot for the rebound and finish it with a diving header.
Uruguay, led by head coach Fabian Coito, were rushing to level the score in the second half and ended up getting three yellow cards within the first seven minutes.
South Korea, starting the second half with three new players, had a chance to double the lead in the 53rd minute with Paik Seung-ho's free kick that deflected off the wall and over the net.
Uruguay tried to get an equalizer through 190-centimeter defender Rogel on set pieces. He delivered dangerous headers against South Koreans in the 70th and 77th, but couldn't beat Song for a goal.
, who replaced Lee in the 84th, nearly quashed Uruguay's rally in the 86th with his left foot, only to see Mele's save.
Kang didn't miss his next chance in the 94th as he rounded off the scoring with a bicycle kick off Ha Seung-woon's cross -- much to the delight of some 15,100 fans at the stadium. This is the first time since 2004 that a South Korean player has scored a goal with a bicycle kick in an international match.
Midfielder Kang Ji-hun (2nd from R) scores a bicycle kick goal against Uruguay in a friendly at Cheongju Stadium in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, on May 11, 2017. (Yonhap)
In the U-20 World Cup, the young Taeguk Warriors
are in Group A with Argentina, England and Guinea, while Uruguay are in Group D with Japan, Italy and South Africa. The 24-team tournament will be staged in six local cities from May 20 to June 11.
This was the second tune-up match since head coach Shin Tae-yong confirmed his 21-man squad for the World Cup last month. On Monday, South Korea beat Saudi Arabia 3-1 in a practice match in Paju, Gyeonggi Province.
Before the tournament, Shin's side will have one more friendly match against Senegal in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, on Sunday. Senegal are in Group F with the United States, Ecuador and Saudi Arabia.