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Friendly: Thailand 0-1 Korea Republic

Published on: 28 March 2016

Bangkok: Porto striker Suk Hyun-jun grabbed the only goal of the game at the Supachalasai Stadium on Sunday evening as Korea Republic beat Thailand 1-0 in an international friendly.

In an entertaining encounter between two of Asia's in-form teams, Suk proved to be the match-winner courtesy of his fine long-range effort early on in the contest, which ultimately proved enough to hand the South Koreans the win.

However, there were plenty of positives for both coaches to take, especially with the match providing them with a real opportunity to assess the depth of their respective squads with a busy year ahead.

Having done enough to seal top spot in Group F of the 2018 FIFA World Cup/2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers with Thursday’s 2-2 draw against Iraq, Thailand coach Kiatisuk Senamuang was eager to see what some of his other players were capable of and made seven changes to his starting XI, resting key players like Kawin Thamsatchanan, Chanathip Songkrasin and Sarach Yooyen.

Meanwhile, his Korea Republic counterpart Uli Stielike made a staggering ten changes from the side that beat Lebanon 1-0, with captain Ki Sung-yueng the only survivor.

Following his last-gasp winner against the Lebanese after coming on as a substitute, Ulsan Hyundai forward Lee Jeong-hyeop was one of the fresh faces given a chance to impress.

But instead, it was Suk who made an instant impact as, with just four minutes on the clock, he received possession 25 yards out from goal and sent a fantastic dipping strike over Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool and into the back of the net.

Both teams looked extremely eager to attack and a free-flowing clash was starting to develop, with South Korean keeper Kim Seung-gyu having to be alert to deny Adisak Kraisorn a shooting chance, while Nam Tae-hee was causing all sorts of problems for the hosts with his running and delivery down the left.

The start of the second half saw Kiatisuk introduce the likes of Chanathip and Sarach and the former immediately added much flair to the War Elephants attack, although it was the visitors who continued to create the more clear-cut chances.

Still, they were unable to add a second goal to kill the contest with Ki even blazing over an unguarded net from six yards out after Sinthaweechai had parried an initial shot, meaning they were always at danger of allowing their opponents to strike a late equaliser.

Nonetheless, the Thais were just unable to find a way through as Korea Republic held out for the victory, although both teams will undoubtedly head into the next round of World Cup qualifiers in very buoyant mood.

Source: the-afc.com

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