South Korea blow lead to give Klinsmann debut draw against Colombia
South Korea squandered a two-goal lead in Jurgen Klinsmann’s first game in charge on Friday, having to settle for a 2-2 draw against Colombia.
A brace for captain Son Heung-min gave the hosts a 2-0 lead at half time in Ulsan.
But two Colombia goals within five minutes of the restart restored parity, with neither side finding a winner.
Son opened the scoring 10 minutes in, with help from a Colombian gaffe.
Goalkeeper Camilo Vargas inexplicably left his net vacant while passing the ball to a teammate, leaving Son — who won possession high up the field — to easily curl the ball into the empty goal with his left.
The Spurs star picked up his second near the end of the first half with a free kick, this time using his right foot to beat Vargas at the bottom-left corner.
Colombia, who had barely had a sniff in the first half, turned the tables in the second with two quick goals.
James Rodriguez halved the deficit in the 46th minute, sneaking in behind multiple defenders to convert a Diego Valoyes cut-back.
Jorge Carrascal netted the equaliser three minutes later, set up by Daniel Munoz following a South Korean turnover.
Colombia almost took the lead in the 69th minute, with Rafael Santos Borre’s header hitting the crossbar.
With only a few minutes left, South Korea also came close to scoring as substitute Oh Hyeon-gyu rolled a left-footed shot past the diving Vargas — only for a defender to clear the ball out of harm’s way.
After the game, Klinsmann paid tribute to the 36,000 home fans who packed the Munsu Football Stadium, lauding the “amazing atmosphere”, as well as complimenting Colombia, “who gave us a real exciting game”.
“We gave two goals away right after half time, unfortunately,” the German lamented. “Maybe concentration was not there. The rest of the 84 minutes was a very good game. We keep learning and we keep trying things out.”
And the new coach was full of praise for two-goal hero Son.
“I’m obviously very happy every time Sonny scores,” he said.
“As a striker, this is what you’re looking for. He had a fantastic game, scored two beautiful goals… As long as he knows where the goal is, I am happy.”