South Korea silence Kallang Roar with 7-0 sweep, Latest Singapore Football News - The New Paper
Singapore Football

South Korea silence Kallang Roar with 7-0 sweep

In the lead up to Singapore’s Fifa World Cup qualifier against South Korea, Lions head coach Tsutomu Ogura said his charges were “up for the challenge”.

On June 6, in front of 49,097 eager fans inside a sold-out National Stadium, the visitors showed that both teams were several classes apart as Singapore were taught a footballing lesson in a 7-0 thumping at the hands of the South Koreans.

It sent the Lions fans home deflated despite them packing the stands for what is the biggest turnout for a match at the National Stadium involving the Singapore national team.

The previous record was during Singapore’s 3-1 loss to Malaysia in the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup where 48,183 spectators were in attendance.

Perhaps Ogura and the Lions fans’ confidence ahead of the Korea tie stemmed from Singapore’s last home outing here, when the Lions showed heart, grit and intelligence to fight back from two goals down to draw 2-2 against China on March 21.

This time, while there was effort, there was also plenty of haphazard defending and an overall performance that displayed the vast gap that exists between the sides who are 132 places apart in the Fifa world rankings.

The scoring here started in the ninth minute. Hassan Sunny was forced into his first save of the match when he had to palm away Son Heung-min’s shot from outside the box. But Joo Min-kyu picked up the loose ball and found Paris Saint-Germain wizard Lee Kang-in, who weaved his way past Hariss Harun in the box before he unleashed a ferocious shot with his weaker right foot that flew past Hassan.

For the first time in the match, there was a flat atmosphere among the Singapore faithful.

The decibels however would rise back up just three minutes later when Hami Syahin rose in the box for a header that would force South Korean goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo into a save.

It was unfortunately as good as it got for the Lions and their fans. This time there would be no comeback.

In the 20th minute, after a corner was initially cleared, Kim Jin-su was left with the space and time on the left flank to whip in a cross which Joo met with an emphatic header after the forward ghosted in between the static defensive pair of Safuwan Baharudin and Lionel Tan.

If the first half was a show of South Korea’s class, then the second half was when the 23rd ranked visitors put the No. 155 Lions to the sword with five goals, three of which arrived in a space of four minutes.

In the 53rd minute, Son showed why he is not just one of Asia’s best but one of world football’s standouts, when he dribbled into the box despite the best attempts of Harhys Stewart to stop the Spurs forward, before he placed a driven effort into the bottom right post.

Just a minute later, Lee was put through by Kim before applying an easy finish past Hassan. Captain Son then got his second in the 56th minute in what was a carbon copy of his first as he cut in on his favourite right foot before slamming a shot in from outside the box.

Hwang Hee-chan, from English Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Bae Jun-ho from Stoke City, came off the bench to round off the scoring with Korea’s sixth and seventh goal in the 79th and 82nd minute respectively.

Bidding for an 11th straight appearance at the World Cup, South Korea who needed only a point from their final two games, have now advanced to the final round of qualification.

They are guaranteed top spot in Group C. With only China to face on June 11 in Seoul, they have amassed 13 points from five matches.

Thailand drew 1-1 with China at the Shenyang Olympic Sports Centre Stadium in the Group’s other match. China are second with eight points, while the War Elephants are third with five points.

Singapore will finish last in Group C regardless of the result in the final match against Thailand on June 11 in Bangkok.

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