Uruguay beat South Korea 2-1 to Reach Quarter-finals

Port Elizabeth, June 26 (DPA) Uruguay beat South Korea 2-1 Saturday to become the first team to reach the quarter-finals of the football World Cup.

Striker Luis Suarez scored in each half to set up a clash between the South Americans and the winners of the day's other Round of 16 game between the United States and Ghana.

Uruguay relied on counter-attacks to wear down the South Koreans, who managed only once to breach their well-organised defence at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez made one change from the team that beat Mexico 1-0 in their final group game, recalling Villarreal defender Diego Godin in place of Mauricio Victorino.

South Korea coach Huh Jung Moo also made one change, dropping Yeom Ki Hun in midfield in favour of the more defensive Kim Jae Sung.

Uruguay got off to a dream start when Suarez put them ahead after eight minutes, following good work by Atletico Madrid striker Diego Forlan near the far corner.

Forlan seized on a pass from Edinson Cavani and slotted the ball behind the backs of the South Korean defenders for Man of the match Suarez to stab home from close range for his second goal of the competition.

The goal came just minutes after South Korea almost took the lead through Park Chu Young, whose free kick thundered against the left post with Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera well beaten.

Park Chu Young, one of South Korea's best players along with captain Park Ji Sung, saw another long-distance shot flash narrowly wide in the 32nd minute. He was again in action six minutes later but fired his shot straight at Muslera.

The South Koreans were quick on the ball but their forwards had a tough time against a resolute Uruguay defence that did not concede a goal in their three group stage matches.

Uruguay relied mainly on counter-attacks and their strategy almost paid off shortly before half-time when Maxi Perreira had what appeared to be a justifiable claim for a penalty turned down.

The Benfica defender burst through the fragile South Korean defence and unleashed a shot that hit midfielder Ki Sung Yueng on the arm just inside the are. But German referee Wolfgang Stark ruled the handball was not intentional.

The South Koreans came out stronger after the break, with Manchester United's Park Ji Sung, Kim Jae Sung and Park Chu Young all going close.

The South Korean captain headed a cross from the right on in the 58th minute, but his effort was well saved by Muslera, who plays for Serie A team Lazio.

South Korea deservedly equalized in the 68th minute when Bolton's Lee Chung Yong nodded home a free kick that was headed on to him in the goal area by Victorino, who came on as a second-half substitute for Uruguay.

The goal woke up Uruguay, who began to play with more urgency. Pressing for the winner they forced a corner, which the South Korean defence failed to clear.

Suarez pounced on the ball on the edge of the area, rounded a defender and curled home a shot for 18 metres which went in off the inside of of the right post, leaving the South Korean goalkeeper without a chance.

South Korea almost grabbed a second equalizer three minutes before the end, when substitute Lee Dong Gook fired a weak shot that was parried by Muslera, allowing captain Diego Lugano to clear.

Uruguay, one of six Latin American teams still in the tournament, will meet the winner of Saturday evening's clash between the United States of Ghana in the quarter-final in Johannesburg July 2.

It is the first time Uruguay have reached the last eight since 1970, when they made it to the semi-finals.


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Title: Uruguay beat South Korea 2-1 to Reach Quarter-finals

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