South Africa’s Under-20 coach Thabo Senong. Picture credit: safa.net

TYCHY – Korea Republic picked up their first points of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019 courtesy of a hard-fought 1-0 win against a resilient South Africa in Tychy, Poland, on Tuesday evening.

Kim Hyunwoo's second-half header was the difference in the Group F clash, the result of which left the Amajita (SA Under-20) with a slim chance of reaching the last 16.

Even though torrential rain significantly affected the flow of the match in the opening period, it was South Africa who were in the ascendancy in the first half. A good stop by Lee Gwangyeon in the Korea goal kept out a deflected effort by Siphesihle Mkhize, but the downpour inhibited the quality of play in general - meaning few opportunities.

With conditions clearing after the break, and some harsh words from Chung Jungyong likely ringing in the Taeguk Warriors' ears, the Koreans returned to the field a different side.

The Asian outfit fired a couple of warning shots across the South African bow, with Cho Youngwook blazing over having been teed up by Oh Sehun, and Jeong Hojin later rattling the Amajita crossbar.

Thabo Senong's side did not heed these warnings, and the deadlock was broken with just over 20 minutes remaining. A deflected cross into the South African penalty area looped high into the Tychy sky, and it was Hyunwoo who found the corner of the net with a clinically accurate header.

The Koreans comfortably saw out the game, and head into their final Group F clash with already-qualified Argentina level on points with their opening day conquerors Portugal. South Africa face a must-win clash against the two-time U-20 World Cup winners in Bielsko-Biala on Friday.  

African News Agency (ANA)