Thursday, August 24, 2017

Iraq 0 South Korea 0: Stielike’s men stumble ahead of key World Cup qualifier

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 Jun 2017

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South Korea were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw by Iraq in Wednesday’s friendly match at Emirates Club Stadium in UAE.

Uli Stielike’s side could not find a way past goalkeeper Mohammed Gassid despite boasting a strong side that included Tottenham star Son Heung-min and Augsburg striker Ji Dong-won.

Iraq, who lost 2-0 to South Korea when the teams last met in the semi-final of the Asian Cup in 2015, were good value for the draw and mustered more efforts on target than their more illustrious opponents.

Chances were scarce in a tepid 90 minutes as Basim Qasim set his side out to frustrate the Koreans, who started with Son, Ji and Lee Chung-yong in a dangerous attacking trident.

Son carved out one of the better openings in the first half, driving towards the byline down the left before sending a low cross towards Ji, who could not connect properly from six yards out under pressure from a tight Iraq defence.

Hwang Hee-Chan wasted a good opportunity to set up fellow substitute Lee Keun-ho after the break as he dragged a shot wide of the right-hand post rather than squaring the ball, Kim Seung-gyu had to be alert soon afterwards to deny Ahmed Yasin’s free-kick from 25 yards out.

Stielike’s men, who were cheered on by South Korean special forces in Ras al-Khaimah, looked the more exciting going forward but managed little to threaten Iraq’s goal in the final half-hour as both sides rang the changes.

The result means they have now scored only once in their last three matches as they prepare for next week’s World Cup qualifying match against Qatar.

Failure to win that meeting would allow Uzbekistan to climb above them and into second place in Group A of the Asian qualifying section if they beat group leaders Iran.

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