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South Korea Defeat Chile in Daejeon

South Korea saw off Chile by a final score of 2-0 in Daejeon on Monday night, regaining some composure following a difficult performance in Seoul last Thursday night.  Goals in either half from Hwang Hee-chan and Son Heung-min were enough to see off the South Americans, who were reduced to ten men when Alex Ibacache was sent off for a second bookable offense less than ten minutes into the second half.  KLU's Branko Belan looks back at the performance. 

Son Heung-min Celebrates 100th Appearance For South Korea

South Korea's match against Chile was the 100th appearance for Son Heung-min for the South Korean national team.  He scored from a well-placed free kick that found the top corner in the first minute of second half injury time.  It was his thirty-second goal for his country.  He scored his first international goal against India in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, where the Taeguk Warriors finished third, defeating Uzbekistan 3-2 in the third place playoff.

Dating back to last June, Son has now scored six goals in his past ten appearances for his national side and has finally started to relish the captain's role he officially inherited ahead of the group stage match against Germany at the World Cup in Russia, a match that Korea won 2-0, sending the defending champions home.  He is highly likely to feature in both of the team's remaining international friendlies in June, with Paraguay as the next opponent on June 10th in Suwon, and Egypt on the 14th in Seoul, where he will match wits with fellow EPL Golden Boot winner Mohamed Salah.

Son was grateful on the occasion of his 100th match that he could get a win.

"More so than my goal, I want to thank my teammates for competing in this match with such a great attitude.  It's always difficult to bounce back so quickly after the kind of loss we had against Brazil.  But everyone showed a lot of mental toughness. I am so happy to have won my 100th match," he said at a press conference after the match.

He went on to thank numerous teammates and stressed the need for everyone to play to their capabilities in the upcoming matches.

He now ranks 14th among South Korean players with regard to the number of appearances for the national team.  Cha Bum-kun and Hong Myung-bo are the joint all-time leaders with 136.


 A Better Performance From Bento's Men

South Korea gave a much better account of themselves against Chile, following an absolute shocker against Brazil, but they showed the capability to rebound well.  While Chile enjoyed much of the possession in the first half, Hwang Hee-chan's 11th minute strike was the difference as the team's headed for the interval.  His well-placed shot sizzled into the top of the net after he had turned Nayel Mehssatou, and created space for a shot on his favored right foot.

Things would go from bad to worse for Chile when Alex Ibacache was sent off on 52 minutes for a second bookable offense when he clattered into Jeong Woo-young with a clumsy challenge.  The South Americans did not let up, however, as Kim Seung-gyu had to make a critical save with his foot in the 73rd minute to preserve the slim advantage.  Son had several chances to score during the match, and finally found the net from a free kick with virtually the last kick of the match, a deserved victory for South Korea, and a career moment for the captain.


Bento Mostly Satisfied With the Result

Paulo Bento was mostly satisfied with the final outcome of the match.

"In the second half, I think we could have closed the game a little bit earlier because we had enough opportunities to score the second goal earlier.  We had some problems (on defense) as well, due to some unnecessary risks we took in some moments of the game," he assessed.

He also felt the attack could have been more concise.

"Opportunities we conceded aren't linked with just the defensive process. Many, many times, they're linked with the offensive one.  Today, I think that defensively, we had good behavior. We made some mistakes, and we need to keep working to improve in that area," he concluded.

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