Uruguay beat South Korea 2-1, through to World Cup quarterfinals and will now face Ghana in the quarter-finals. Luis Suarez struck twice as Uruguay beat Korea Republic 2-1 in Port Elizabeth to reach the FIFA World Cup™ quarter-finals for the first time since 1970. The South Koreans pushed hard but Lee Chung-Yong’s header in the second half was not enough with Suarez scoring both early and late on for the South Americans.
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez made one change to the team that defeated Mexico 1-0 in their final group match, with Diego Godin replacing Mauricio Victorino at the back. Back at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, where his side beat Greece 2-0 in their opening game, Korea Republic coach Huh Jung-Moo made a notable change to his midfield, with winger Kim Jae-Sung making his first start in place of Yeom Ki-Hun.
The South Koreans got off to a bright start, with their captain Park Ji-Sung running through the middle of the park to the edge of the area only for Diego Lugano to cut out his attempted through-pass. Minutes later, they came desperately close to taking the lead, Park Chu-Young’s curling free-kick from 20 yards smashing the left post as Fernando Muslera stood watching helplessly. Instead it was La Celeste who drew first blood in the eighth minute, when an unmarked Suarez, lurking on the right side of the area, turned the loose ball into an empty net after Jung Sung-Ryong had failed to deal with Diego Forlan’s low cross from the left.
The Taeguk Warriors probed away, looking for holes in the stubborn Uruguay defence that had not conceded a goal in the first round. Park Ji-Sung surged down the left but saw his low cross blocked by a timely intervention, then Park Chu-Young tried his luck with an effort from 25 yards that went just wide of the left post. It was Cha Du-Ri’s turn next but he saw his audacious shot from 30 yards sail just over the crossbar.
With the rain pouring down in the second half, Kim Jung-Woo almost paid for a sloppy pass across the back, with Suarez intercepting but failing to trouble Jung with a tame shot. At the other end, Lugano’s attempted clearance from a Lee Jung-Soo cross fell into the path of Park Chu-Young, who fired a powerful volley over the bar. Park Ji-Sung then managed to connect with a Cha cross from the right, but Muslera did well to hold on to his header, jumping to his left.
South Korean coach Huh had no other option but to reinforce the attack, and brought striker Lee Dong-Gook on for Kim Jae-Sung on the hour mark. The Asian side finally broke through after 68 minutes, when Lugano’s headed clearance from Ki Sung-Yueng’s free-kick fell to an unmarked Lee Chung-Yong, who headed home the equaliser from close range to finally end Muslera’s lengthy unbeaten run. However, the Uruguayans fought back. Suarez saw his shot from an acute angle parried over by Jung, before the Ajax forward then miscued his header with only the keeper to beat. But the Uruguay No9 made no mistake when the ball came to his way on the edge of the box following a Forlan corner, sidestepping a white shirt and curling a spectacular shot in off the far post to make it 2-1.
The Koreans responded by bringing on another forward, Yeom Ki-Hun, for midfielder Ki, and within two minutes, Lee Dong-Gook spurned a glorious chance to equalise as the Jeonbuk Motors marksman saw his low shot half-stopped by Muslera before Lugano cleared the ball as it trickled slowly towards the net. With that, the South Koreans’ final opportunity had passed as La Celeste held on to book their place in the last eight.
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