KASHIMA, Japan, July 22 (Yonhap) – South Korea lost 1-0 to New Zealand on Thursday in their first match of the men’s soccer tournament at the Tokyo Olympics.
Burnley striker Chris Wood scored the only goal of the match, in the second half, after an attempted shot hit the leg of a defender and fell to his feet long after South Korea took control of the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium in Kashima, about 110 kilometers northeast of Tokyo.
The defeat quickly put South Korea in trouble in its bid to win a second football medal. The next match for the national team will be against Romania on Sunday, in a match they must win. On Wednesday they will face Honduras. The first two teams in the group will go to the quarter-finals.
South Korea dominated the game in the first half and did everything but score, while New Zealand failed to achieve any shot on goal. Their defenders looked nervous at the initial pressure from South Korea and were having trouble getting the ball out of their area. The South Koreans made their way into the attacking area, although their greatest advantage in possession did not lead to a goal.
However, New Zealand’s first shot on target, in the 70th minute, ended up in the net. After Jo Pil’s shot rebounded from central defender Jeong Tae Wook’s leg, the ball fell to Wood, who was on his own and passed goalkeeper Song Bum-kyun.
South Korea kept pushing, but their 12 shot attempts were unsuccessful.
The match was attended by a few hundred students from a nearby public school. Kashima is not subject to the same emergency affecting Tokyo and can receive spectators on a limited basis, while events in the capital will be held without spectators.
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