Thursday, February 16, 2006

South Korea down Mexico 1-0

With 64,128 fans looking on at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Wednesday night, South Korea used a little bit of luck and smart play to bring down El Tri.

The lone goal of the match was the direct result of poor judgment by Mexico's goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez in the 15th minute.

The Koreans were awarded a free kick some 23 yards out to the left of the penalty area. Lee Chun-Soo fired the ball right to Sanchez. That's when the normally dependable Sanchez gave the Koreans a gift. As players began retreating towards the middle of the field, Sanchez tossed the ball about six yards in front of him and walked without hurry to the ball; it appeared that Sanchez thought the play was dead. But Lee Dong-Gook (pictured) ran to the ball and slammed it into an empty goal.

The goal was such a surprise that the Korean players did not even celebrate until the ref indicated that it was indeed legitimate. Sanchez protested to the ref, claiming that the play should have been ruled dead, but all he got for his troubles was a yellow card.

Mexico seemed lost after the goal was scored, but they did have some great attempts later in the match as the South Korean backline found it difficult to contain their opponent. However, the excellent work by Korea's 'keeper Lee Woon-Jae lead his side to the surprise victory.

Just like any friendly, one should not read too much into it, but this has got to be a little disconcerting for Mexico. Sure attackers Cuauhtemoc Blanco and Jared Borgetti were absent, but South Korea was also missing some good players.

These matches are supposed to test players and build moral. I'm going to guess that last night's dance did not boast the ego of many Mexican players or fans. Still, it's a long time till Germany so don't count Mexico out just yet.



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