South Korea fell to Uruguay 2-1 on Tuesday in a rematch of a group stage showdown at last year's FIFA World Cup, leaving new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann still searching for his first win.
Sebastian Coates and Matias Vecino had a goal in each half for Uruguay, while Hwang In-beom had the only South Korean goal at Seoul World Cup Stadium. The home team lost what would have been a late equalizer to an offside.
The two countries had a goalless draw in Qatar in November, and Uruguay, under caretaker boss Marcelo Broli, got the upper hand this time.
Uruguay scored first in the 10th minute, when Sebasitan Coates headed in a corner taken by Federico Valverde. Coates snuck in from behind the napping defense untouched and soared to meet the ball with authority.
The Uruguayans put the South Koreans back on their heels with their effective forays into the attacking zone. At the other end, South Korea failed to find much room to maneuver against high Uruguayan pressing.
Lee Kang-in had South Korea's shot on target in the 25th minute, firing a left-footed shot from the right side of the box into the body of goalkeeper Santiago Mele.
Uruguay looked ready for everything that South Korea threw at them. And when South Korea tried to get forechecking going, the South Americans consistently evaded pressure with quick passes through tight space.
South Korea found some energy in the late portions of the first half and had their best chance in the 38th minute, with Lee Ki-je rolling a left-footed shot just wide of the right post, following a cross from Lee Kang-in.
Hwang In-beom leveled the score six minutes into the second half. An initial cross by Lee Kang-in deflected off a defender and landed at Lee Ki-je's feet. Rather than firing at the net from close range with multiple bodies closing in on him, Lee calmly crossed the ball toward the middle. Hwang then sprinted into the shot and fired it into the gaping net for his fifth international goal.
Uruguay went ahead in the 63rd minute, thanks to a fortuitous break.
Goalkeeper Jo made a fine diving save on Joaquin Piquerez's free kick from just outside the box, but Jo ended up punching the ball right back to unmarked Matias Vecino, who made no mistake in slotting home the go-ahead marker.
South Korea lost Oh Hyeon-gyu's would-be equalizer in the 84th minute to an offside call following a video review.
South Korea now have one win, two draws and seven losses against Uruguay
Source: Yonhap News Agency