- Play by
- Man of
Higuain Hammers Korea Republic
June 17, 2010
A hat-trick by Gonzalo Higuain saw Argentina run over the Korea Republic beating them 4-1 in their second Group B match at Soccer City on Thursday afternoon.
The opening ten minutes saw Argentina with the lion’s share of possession as they passed the ball around the park impeccable. Still, despite that fact they didn’t create any clear cut chances on goal.
South Korea, in retrospect, struggled to get hold of the ball and looked to be chasing shadows.
Nonetheless, they continued to work tirelessly in the midfield and put in some crunching tackles signalling their content: they would not go down without a fight.
Their task, however, of achieving something from the game was made even harder when the South Koreans went a goal behind in the 16th minute and under unfortunate circumstances.
Lionel Messi delivered a teasing free-kick into the six-yard area which narrowly missed the head of a Martin Demichelis at the front post before ricocheting off Park Chu Young and into the back of his own net, 1-0.
The Korea Republic tried to hit back right away and Ki Sung Yeung came within inches of doing that when he struck a powerful 25-yard shot goalwards. His effort, however, sailed just over the cross-bar.
From there Argentina again took control of the midfield and played some enterprising football which inevitably led to their second goal in the 33rd minute.
Maxi Rodriguez dinked in a cross from the right flank that Garbiel Heinze flicked on to find Gonzalo Higuain unmarked at the back post. The South American made no mistake from six yards out powerfully heading the ball home, 2-0.
Thereafter, Argentina continued to pile on the pressure and only a fantastic save by Jung Sung Ryong prevented South Korea from going a third goal down in the 40th minute.
Angel Di Maria fired a ferocious shot goalwards from just inside the 18-yard area which looked to be heading for the top right hand corner until Ryong made a diving, full stretch save to his right.
The South Koreans did, however, manage to pull a goal back seconds before the referee blew for the half time break.
A long ball from the back saw Argentina make a mistake at the back and Lee Chung Yong quickly pounced on the ball and drove forward.
With only the keeper to beat he made no mistake slipping the ball over the onrushing keeper and pulling a goal back for his side, 2-1.
The second 45 minutes started at a frantic pace and saw chances for both sides to add more goals to the scoreline.
In the 52nd minute Higuain met a cross from the right at the front post, slipping away from his marker, and tried to side foot the ball into the back of the net from only a couple of yards out, but Ryong produced a good reaction save from close range to deny the striker.
Then six minutes later Yeom Ki Hun squandered a golden opportunity to level matters when a quick break-out by the South Koreans saw Park Ji Sung play Hun through on and with just the keeper to beat. Hun went for goal and saw his shot hit the side netting.
A moment of magic by Messi in the 76th minute saw Argentina grab their third goal of the game.
Messi drove forward, beating a couple of players while making his way into the box, before seeing his shot saved by the feet of Ryong.
The ball then bounced straight back to Messi who fired in a second shot, this time beating the keeper but striking the post.
The ball rebounded off the post and into the path of Higuain, a couple of yards out and with an empty goal at his mercy. Higuain made not mistake side footing the ball home, 3-1.
Higuin confirmed victory for the South Americans four minutes later when he netted his third goal to round off his hat-trick, heading a powerful header past Ryong after getting on the end of a left-sided cross, 4-1.
That is how the match ended, but the shoreline does not reflect the fight the South Koreans put up. Nonetheless, Argentina now top Group B with six points after their second win in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Argentina (2) 4 (Chu Young 16’ o.g, Higuain 33’, 76’ + 80’) Korea Republic (1) 1 (Chung Yong 45+1’)
Argentina: Romero; Samuel (Burdisso 23’), Demichelis, Heinze; Di Maria, Mascherano, Gutierrez, Rodriguez; Higuain (Bolatti 81’), Messi, Tevez (Aguero 75’)
Korea Republic: Ryong; Seek, Hung, Pym, So; Jung Woo, Ji Sung, Yuen (Nam II 46’) Yong, Ki Hun; Young (Gook 81’)