Aleksandr Kerzhakov saves Russia from defeat as they equalize the score in the nick of time against South Korea 1 – 1 Tuesday at Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba.
Russia was almost on the brink of defeat after substitute Lee Keun-Ho shoots at about 25 yards away, heading straight at goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev. The keeper was stunned after he allowed Keun-Ho’s strike to slip through his fingers during the 68 – minute mark of the game.
Nevertheless, it was an early victory for the South Koreans as Russia makes a counterattack.
Substitute Aleksandr Kerzhakov, who was just in three minutes in to the game, saves the Russian team from despair as he manages to score a goal with a right-footed strike during the 74 – minute mark, equalizing the game to a 1 – 1 just before the match comes to a halt.
South Korea held a higher possession rate (52%) and had more chances on securing points during the first half of the match, but Son Heung-min and striker Park Chu-Young fails to do so.
Fabio Capello of Russia tells BBC Sports: “It was a good game, they ran a lot in the first half and then felt tired. You saw the goal they scored, it was not easy to react.”
“I know Kerzhakov did well, he’s a fantastic player. He always offers us a way to score goals,” Capello says as he commends on the substitute’s last-minute play.
25-year old South Korean captain Koo Ja-cheol tells Steve Douglas in Yahoo! News: “We had a lot of video meetings, looked at how they play, and of course they are a lot taller than we are. So it’s something we are taking into consideration,”
He further adds, “I think the (build-up) has not been easy. We have experienced difficulties. But we are confident we know what to do in the World Cup.”
Russia will meet Algeria, who lost 2 – 1 against Belgium, at Arena da Baixada in Curitiba while South Korea matches up against Belgium at Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo. Both games will be played on Thursday, June 26.