Korea Republic fall to disappointing defeat at hands of Russia

Korea Republic have plenty of work to do ahead of next summer’s 2018 FIFA World Cup after beginning their build-up with a 4-2 loss to Russia on Saturday.

Fyodor Smolov got the Russians on their way a minute before the break at the VEB Arena in Moscow, as he was left completely unmarked to meet an Aleksandr Samedov corner with a firm header past Kim Seung-gyu.

Ten minutes after the restart, another set-piece led to a second for the hosts; Aleksandr Kokorin’s near-post flick-on header ricocheting off Kim Ju-young and nestling into the back of the net.

Things got from bad to worse for the luckless Kim Ju-young two minutes later as netted his second own-goal of the game.

In an attempt to intercept and halt Aleksandr Yerokhin from breaking through, the Hebei China Fortune defender stuck out a foot and somehow diverted the ball past his own keeper and into the bottom corner from outside the area.

The result was put beyond doubt in the 83rd minute when Aleksei Miranchuk added a fourth for Russia, calmly finishing on the rebound after Anton Zabolotny’s initial effort had been saved by Kim Seung-gyu.

Kwon Kyung-won managed to pull one back three minutes from time with a thumping header into the back of the net, after being picked out by Lee Chung-yong’s right-wing cross.

And, deep into injury-time, the South Koreans grabbed another consolation effort, this time through Ji Dong-won as he made an excellent run in behind the opposition defence before clinically finishing past Igor Akinfeev.

Nonetheless, the two late goals did little to mask what had ultimately been a disappointing display from the Taegeuk Warriors, and coach Shin Tae-yong already has plenty to fix if his side are to produce an improved showing in their next visit to Russia in eight months’ time.