Midfielder Lee Kang-in grabbed a brace for his first two senior international goals, as South Korea defeated Tunisia 4-0 in their friendly match in Seoul on Friday.
Lee, a skilled playmaker for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), netted twice in a span of under three minutes in the second half at Seoul World Cup Stadium, whipping the crowd into a frenzy after a listless opening 45 minutes.
South Korea then opened up a 3-0 lead on an own goal by Tunisian defender Yassine Meriah on 67 minutes. Sub Hwang Ui-jo rounded out the scoring during additional time.
South Korea never scored more than twice in any of the previous six matches under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
South Korea have now played three straight matches without conceding a goal, the longest such streak since the period of last September-November.
"Obviously very pleased for the team. They played tonight the way they trained the last three days," Klinsmann said. "They were enjoying themselves. There were movements off the ball. They were feisty one against one. They were aggressive. So we're very, very pleased for the team to see now how good they can be."
Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min, who had been dealing with a groin injury, missed the match. Another national team mainstay, Hwang In-beom of FK Crvena zvezda, was pulled out of the starting lineup only minutes before kickoff, after suffering a left adductor injury during warmup.
The teams were scoreless in a lethargic first half that featured few scoring chances at either end. For South Korea, Cho Gue-sung and Lee Ki-je took mid-range shots that didn't come particularly close to the target midway through the first half. On 39 minutes, Aissa Laidouni fired a shot from just outside the box that sailed high and right.
Lee Kang-in then singlehandedly changed the complexion of the match early in the second half. He was tripped up by Ellyes Skhiri outside the right edge of the box and took the free kick himself on 55 minutes. He curled the shot into the right corner, and goalkeeper Aymen Dahmen only got a piece of the ball in a desperate diving attempt.
Lee, 22, had been held goalless in his first 14 matches for the senior national team.
Just a couple of minutes later, Lee picked up his second goal of the night, after pouncing on the loose ball in a scramble inside the box. Lee secured the ball with his back to the net, and then turned and fired the shot in one motion, with Dahmen frozen at his spot.
On 67 minutes, Lee was involved in South Korea's third goal. His corner found Kim Min-jae's head for the initial shot, and the ball went off the leg of defender Yassine Meriah and into Tunisia's own net.
Hwang Ui-jo then got behind the defense to slot home South Korea's fourth goal that completed the rout.
South Korea took eight shots and put four on target, while none of Tunisia's four shot attempts hit the net. South Korea finished with a 55-45 edge in ball possession.
This was South Korea's first win over Tunisia in their third meeting. The Taegeuk Warriors will next host Vietnam at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, just south of Seoul.
Source: Yonhap News Agency