Lee Dong-gook's fine volley set South Korea on their way to victory over managerless Ivory Coast in an international friendly at Loftus Road yesterday.
The Asian side are placed 31 places below the Africans in the latest Fifa rankings but were lively throughout and deserved the win, which was sealed by Kwak Tae-hwi's late header. Didier Drogba came close on several occasions for Ivory Coast, whose attentions will now turn to securing the temporary services of the Russia coach, Guus Hiddink.
The Elephants were being coached by Kouadio Georges after the sacking of Vahid Halihodzic last month and he handed starts to the Chelsea striker Drogba, Arsenal defender Emmanuel Eboué and Portsmouth forward Aruna Dindane. South Korea were captained by the Manchester United winger Park Ji-sung, who was joined in the starting line-up by the Bolton forward Lee Chung-yong and Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-yong.
Both sides were hoping to learn something ahead of this summer's World Cup finals, with South Korea due to come up against Nigeria and Ivory Coast drawn in the same group as North Korea.
If Hiddink does make Ivory Coast his fourth different charges in the last four World Cups he will have to insert a clinical streak into their play as, despite dominating possession throughout, they rarely threatened the Korean goal. Hiddink took South Korea to the last four in 2002 and the present side showed enough to suggest they could cause an upset or two themselves this summer.
The Koreans went ahead in the fourth minute when a free-kick from Cha Du-ri on the right wing was not headed clear by Cheik Tiote and the ball dropped invitingly for Lee Dong-gook at the far post. The Joenbuk Hyundai forward still had work to do but demonstrated fabulous technique as he allowed the ball to drop before volleying it powerfully into the top corner past a helpless Ivory Coast golkeeper Boubacar Barry.
Barry had to be at full stretch to claw out a cross as the Koreans counter-attacked well at the start of the second half before Park came within inches of a second on the hour mark.
Substitute Ahn Jung-hwan and Ki Sung-yong combined well as they stretched the Ivorian defence to play in Park on the left and the United man saw his curler drift a yard wide of the far post with Barry beaten.
Both sides made changes as the friendly petered out before Kwak headed in Kim Jae-sung's free-kick in stoppage time.
Ivory Coast Boubacar Barry, Eboué, Tiote, Bamba, Meite, Tiene, Keita, Romaric, Dindane, Drogba, Bakari Kone.
Substitutes: Angban, Angoua, Zoro, Touré, Sanogo, Fae, Kalou, Cissé, Doumbia, Coulibaly, Demel.
South Korea Lee Woon-jae, Cho, Lee Jung-soo, Cha, Lee Young-pyo, Park, Jung-Woo Kim, Ki, Chung-Yong Lee, Lee Keun-ho, Lee Dong-gook.
Substitutes: Jung, Oh, Hyung-il, Kim Nam-il, Shin, Ahn, Lee Seung-youl, Kim Jae-sung, Kim Dong-jin, Kim Bo-kyung, Kwak, Kim Young-kwang.
Referee: A Marriner (West Midlands).Reuse content