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Uruguay and South Korea played out a scrappy goalless draw to share the points in this Group H World Cup match at Education City Stadium.
La Celeste had the best chances early on, with Federico Valverde controlling well and volleying just over after Jose Gimenez’s delightful long ball. While a desperate situation for South Korea on a counter-attack saw Mathias Olivera overhit the ball with Darwin Nunez in on goal.
But Uruguay should have been behind moments later when an unmarked Hwang Ui-Jo leaned back and blazed over from 10 yards out. Verteran centre-back Diego Godin was then agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock, outjumping Lee Jae-Sung and driving a powerful header against the post with Kim Seung-Gyu well beaten.
Nunez raced clear after Kim Min-Jae’s slip but Kim Seung-Gyu was able to narrowly intercept his cut-back as Uruguay flooded the box in hope of a tap-in. Valverde rattled the post with a fine strike late on and Son Heung-min, wearing a mask to protect his fractured face, saw a shot zip wide of the post after Sergio Rochet’s poor pass. But it was not to be enough with both sides forced to settle for a point in what promises to be a tight group fought to the end.
Here are the player ratings from Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan:
Rochet - 5: Commanding presence to start the game with a few high claims, but an awful pass almost gifted South Korea a late winner.
Caceres - 5: Struggled when Son ran at him.
Gimenez - 7: Lovely pass over the top to Valverde in behind.
Godin - 6: Not tight to Hwang, unmarked 10 yards out in front of penalty spot. Hit the post with a powerful header.
Olivera - 6: Beaten early by Na early on and a terrible pass to ruin a very dangerous counter-attack, but hard in the challenge in the second half to step out from the back.
Vecino - 5: Slow on the ball with little protection in behind as Lee pinched the ball.
Bentancur - 7: Gorgeous skill to pirouette over the ball and get himself out of trouble, got Uruguay ticking over nicely in second half.
Valverde - 8: Great run deep, touch and strike at goal. A rocket in the 90th minute that rattled the woodwork and a warrior out of possession, putting his body on the line.
Pellistri - 6: Excellent run in behind and cut-back to Nunez, who is just short of a tap-in, but his crossing was poor.
Suarez - 5: Isolated and failed to impact the game.
Nunez - 6: Missed a chance lunging as ball came across goal. Brilliant industry to work back and counter and then surged clear in second half to set up a big chance.
Cavani - 6: Positive impact on for Suarez. Alive in the box and good vision to pick out Nunez for a curler that drifted just wide.
Kim Seung-Gyu - 6: A smart intervention at the near post to cut out Nunez’s cross.
Kim Moon-Hwan - 6: Solid enough but was fortunate that most of Uruguay’s attacks down his side came inside.
Kim Min-Jae - 6: Slipped as Nunez surged in behind for a dangerous counter.
Kim Young-Gwon - 6: Nunez drifted past him to set up a dangerous opportunity.
Kim Jin-Su - 5: Not tight enough to Valverde running in behind from deep. Misses Pellistri who squares for a dangerous chance.
Hwang In-Beom - 6: Disciplined and able to block any route through th emiddle for Uruguay.
Jung - 6: Powerful to dispossess Pellistri, but struggled to contain Valverde at times.
Na - 6: Good touch and speed to go past Olivera.
Lee Jae-Sung - 5: Gets outmuscled by Godin and only saved by the post.
Son - 7: Brilliant feet to sit Caceres down, was on the periphery of the game for long spells, but made a stunning long ball in behind to try catch Uruguay out after sitting in a low block. Almost found the bottom corner with a crisp strike that curled wide.
Hwang Ui-Jo - 5: Missed a sitter from 10 yards out between the sticks.
Cho - 6: Lively coming on, excellent touch and crisp hit in a tight space that sailed over.
Lee Kang-in - 6: Broke the Uruguay midfield line for a dangerous counter late on.