S Korea beat Uzbekistan in qualifier

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> South Korea defeated Uzbekistan 2-1 in an Asian World Cup qualifier in Seoul on Wednesday.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:51 IST
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South Korea defeated Uzbekistan 2-1 in an Asian World Cup qualifier in Seoul on Wednesday. A boisterous crowd was hoping that South Korea would bounce back from their 2-0 loss against Saudi Arabia five days ago. The 2002 World Cup semi-finalists were noticeably short on confidence going into their latest Asian World Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan. It took the hosts 34 minutes to register their first clear cut chance. Free-kick A free kick by Yoo Sang-chul eventually dropped to the feet of Cha Du-ri, but his snap shot was saved on the goal line by Uzbek keeper Ignatiy Nesterov. Five minutes later, Yoo Sang-chul let fly from long range, but Nesterov once again proved equal to the task. South Korea showed a greater willingness to get forward in the second half. Cha Du-ri, son of Cha Bum-kun, arguably the greatest footballer to come out of Asia, was the focal point for most of South Korea's attacks. Fine block With the goal beckoning, the impressive Nesterov denied Cha with another fine block and the Korean lacked the necessary composure to score from the rebound. The Uzbeks were hanging on by a thread and South Korea's army of red fans was getting more and more nervous. The deadlock was finally broken in the 54th minute, a goal which owed more to piece of luck than individual skill. Nesterov was left helpless when Lee Young-pyo's shot deflected off defender Andrey Fyodorov and into the net. Getting into the rhythm South Korea had found their rhythm, and eight minutes later, they doubled their lead. Cha teed the ball up beautifully for Lee Dong-gook, who fired a memorable volley past Nesterov. Two-nil up and South Korea looked to be cruising, but Alexander Geynrikh gave the Uzbeks a lifeline when he pulled a goal back in the 78th minute. These were anxious moments for South Korea as Uzbekistan went in search of a late equaliser. Alexander Geynrikh made space, but his shot went well wide off the mark. South Korea held on for a deserved 2-1 win and they now have six points on three matches, while Uzbekistan sit bottom of the Group A with one point. (AP)