Mathis makes mark
Korea misses penalty kick but draws with U.S. 1-1Posted: Monday June 10, 2002 2:09 AM
Updated: Monday June 10, 2002 7:29 PM
TAEGU, South Korea (Reuters) -- South Korea, riding a wave of patriotic support, failed to convert a penalty but equalized 11 minutes from time through substitute Ahn Jung-hwan to draw 1-1 with the United States in the World Cup on Monday. (Koreans treat U.S. draw as victory.)
Ahn, a heartthrob among Korean fans, glanced home a header from a free kick on the left to save the blushes of Lee Eul-yong, whose 40th-minute spot kick was brilliantly saved by in-form U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who dived to his right to block. (Inspired guess helps Friedel save PK.)
Lee Eul-yong became the first player at this World Cup to fail to score from a penalty chance after the other 10 were converted.
Clint Mathis, brought into the American team to add striking power, had put the U.S. ahead in the 24th minute after a superb John O'Brien pass sliced through the Korean defense.
But the World Cup co-hosts deserved their point after dominating the second half, forcing Friedel to make several fine saves. In the dying seconds, substitute Choi Yong-soo blazed over the top with an open goal at his mercy.
South Korea lead group D on goal difference from the United States with both on four points. Poland and Portugal, both without points, meet later on Monday.
South Korea coach Guus Hiddink praised the way his team played, but was disappointed to only get a point.
"A draw is not really enough but it's a tournament so we have to stick to that. I am happy with the way the players performed."
"I think we deserved to win 3-1 or 4-1 because we created such beautiful chances. But we were unlucky in [not] making the 100 percent chances," he said.
"The goalie [Friedel] was tremendous but from five to six open chances we must score at least one."
U.S. coach Bruce Arena agreed with Hiddink's praise for Friedel but also paid tribute to Korea's fitness.
"Clearly, Friedel was the man of the match. There was a penalty, a call that we didn't quite see, but he came up with a big save. And he made lots of others."
"This was a big day for the people in Korea. In front of 68,000 people, under those [stifling] conditions that was a good result for our team. I'm going to take it and get out of town.
"To have four points is a good feeling. I think if you asked most people months ago if the U.S. would have four points from the first two matches they would say no.
It was the first time the U.S. had played two consecutive games at a World Cup finals without defeat since 1930, when they reached the semifinals in Uruguay and lost 6-1 to Argentina.
"It was a difficult game and we are happy with the point. Korea's fitness was outstanding. They used their physical prowess and put a lot of balls in the box and put us under pressure," said Arena.
Friedel added: "You have to give them a little bit of credit for the way they played."
Mathis, the striker with the mohican hairstyle who missed almost the entire 2001 season with a knee injury and sat out the game against Portugal, had fired the U.S ahead against the run of play with a well-struck low drive from O'Brien's perfectly lofted pass. (Sports Illustrated: Goal Digger)
Korea, again roared on by their raucous support, wasted a great chance to level just before the break when Friedel saved Lee Eul-Yong's penalty, awarded by referee Urs Meier for Jeff Agoos' push on Hwang Sun-hong. Friedel dived to his right to block and Kim Nam-il put his follow-up wide.
"I felt that he was going to go that way for some reason," Friedel said. "Who knows why?"
The U.S. had earlier weathered a strong start from Korea, who went close to taking an early lead in the sixth minute.
Park Ji-sung dispossessed Frankie Hejduk on the right. He fed the ball inside to Hwang who sent over a teasing cross but Seol Ki-hyeon volleyed high and wide from just six meters out.
Seol found himself in acres of space again 12 minutes later running on to Yoo Sang-chui's pass, but this time the striker shot weakly at Friedel from a tight angle and the goalkeeper was able to block with his legs.
Friedel again came to his side's rescue two minutes after the break, denying Seol with another smart low block and then followed up to beat away Choi Yong-soo's shot from the left of the area.
The U.S. were forced to defend for long periods in the second half and their resistance was finally broken on 79 minutes when Ahn rose above the U.S. defense to glance a header past Friedel.
"That was a ball between Agoos and myself," Friedel said. "You have to give them a little bit of credit, too. They put us under a lot of pressure in the second half and it's hard to withstand that pressure."
The Koreans celebrated by forming a line near the corner flag and aped the movements of speedskaters in a pointed reference to the short track controversy at this year's Winter Olympics.
The disqualification of speed skater Kim Dong-sung and award of a gold medal instead to American Apolo Anton Ohno in the 1,500 meters final in Salt Lake City had sparked anger in South Korea. (Korean players display anti-U.S. gestures.)
The equalizer was also a relief to the hapless Lee Eul-yong, who was the first player to fail from the penalty spot, excluding shootouts, since France 1998 when Predrag Mijatovic rattled the bar in Yugoslavia's second round match against the Netherlands.
Since then the World Cup had gone 39 matches and 13 successful penalties before Lee Eul-yong stepped up for Korea.
One point away
Both teams can secure a place in the second round with a draw in their final group matches Friday. The U.S., which last reached the second round in 1994 at home, plays Poland and South Korea faces Portugal.
Ahn, a second-half substitute, outjumped defender Jeff Agoos to head in a pass from Lee Eul-yong.
Mathis got the goal when he took a pass from John O'Brien, who had run the ball up from midfield, trapped it with his right foot and kicked it with his left, slotting it past goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae from about 12 meters (yards).
Friedel, starting his second straight game over Kasey Keller, made a brilliant stop in the 40th minute after Agoos was called for dumping Hwang Sun-hong in the penalty area when U.S. defender Eddie Pope tumbled into the players.
Mathis and U.S. captain Claudio Reyna rejoined the lineup while Pablo Mastroeni -- Reyna's replacement -- and injured midfielder Earnie Stewart came out. Reyna, however, was not much of a factor.
South Korea's supporters, overwhelmingly clad in red, started chanting and banging drums more than 2 1/2 hours before the start. Signs hanging from the upper deck included "Hiddink! Make our dream come true!" "God Bless Corea" and "We have a dream." (U.S. fans outnumbered.)
Fans on one end of the lower held up white cards that former the giant letters "GO KOR 16!" signifying South Korea's quest to be among the 16 teams in the second round. Then they switched to raising white South Korean flags aloft.
Fans of the Red Devils flocked south from Seoul all morning on planes, trains, buses and cars, chanting "Go Korea!" and "Dae-han-min-guk" (Republic of Korea). (Koreans set new trend with extraordinary scenes. )
Because of the tension surrounding the game, organizers heightened security. When the U.S. charter flight from Seoul arrived at Daegu Airport on Sunday, two tanks were on the runway and the Americans were greeted by the usual SWAT teams and police.
While high heat and humidity had been forecast, clouds and a light pregame drizzle kept down the temperature, although the sun started peaking through during warmups.
Arena pays tribute to magnificent Friedel
U.S. coach Bruce Arena paid tribute to his team's fighting qualities and a magnificent performance from his keeper Brad Friedel after his team earned a 1-1 draw against World Cup co-hosts South Korea on Monday.
Friedel saved a first half penalty from Lee Eul-yong and pulled off a string of superb stops in both halves to earn his side their fourth point in group D in front of a partisan crowd desperate to see a home victory.
Arena said: "Clearly, Friedel was the man of the match. There was a penalty, a call that we didn't quite see, but he came up with a big save. And he made lots of others."
He continued: "This was a big day for the people in Korea. In front of 60,000 people, under those [stifling] conditions that was a good result for our team. I'm going to take it and get out of town.
"They used their physical prowess and put a lot of balls in the box and put us under pressure. It was a completely different game to when we beat Portugal [3-2]."
The U.S. now need a win in their final match to be sure of reaching the second round.
"I need to look at tonight's game [Portugal vs. Poland] and form our strategy. But I think we can do it."
Note: The match was to be replayed in the United States on ESPN at 3 p.m. ET and on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. ET.
South Korea 1 United States 1 - result
World Cup, group D
South Korea - Ahn Jung-hwan 79
United States - Clint Mathis 24
South Korea - Hong Myung-bo 80
United States - Frankie Hejduk 30, Jeff Agoos 39
Halftime: 0-1; Attendance: 60,778
South Korea (3-5-2): 1-Lee Woon-jae; 4-Choi Jin-cheul, 20-Hong Myung-bo, 7-Kim Tae-young; 22-Song Chong-gug, 5-Kim Nam-il, 6-Yoo Sang-chul (11-Choi Yong-soo 70), 21-Park Ji-sung (14-Lee Chun-soo 38), 13-Lee Eul-yong; 18-Hwang Sun-hong (19-Ahn Jung-hwan 56), 9-Seol Ki-hyeon
United States (4-4-2): 1-Brad Friedel; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 12-Jeff Agoos, 22-Tony Sanneh, 23-Eddie Pope; 5-John O'Brien, 10-Claudio Reyna, 17-DaMarcus Beasley (7-Eddie Lewis 75), 21-Landon Donovan; 11-Clint Mathis (15-Josh Wolff 82), 20-Brian McBride.
Match Referee: Urs Meier (Switzerland)
Linesmen: Egon Bereuter (Austria), Ali Tomusange (Uganda)
The Associated Press contributed to this report.