South Korea defeats Greece

LONDON (Combined reports) – Lee Chun-soo scored a late goal Tuesday night to help South Korea beat Greece 1-0 in an international friendly. Lee sent a hard free kick past the diving Antonis Nikopolidis in the 78th minute in front of a boisterous, pro-South Korea crowd at Craven Cottage, the home of Premier League team Fulham. Both teams created solid second-half chances, with Seol Ki-hyeon just missing a minute after Lee’s goal, and Greece substitute Stelios Giannakopoulos hitting the crossbar with a header in the 59th. It was the European champions, however, who dominated a first half which slowly came to life. Manchester City striker Giorgos Samaras was Greece’s most potent threat, firing just wide on two occasions. Both teams, however, created credible chances in the first half of play, with Park Ji-sung coming closest for South Korea in the 38th off a cross from the right corner. Greece’s best chance of the half came two minutes earlier when a slew of players in front of the goal tried to knock the ball past goalkeeper Kim Young-dae. Giorgos Karagounis had a shot from close range in the 90th that went wide, and Giannakopoulos of Bolton Wanderers had a goal disallowed for offsides deep into injury time. Yet his side could hardly bemoan the assistant referee’s flag as five minutes earlier Feyenoord’s Angelos Charisteas had somehow contrived to miss from 6 meters out. Park Ji-sung, arguably South Korea’s biggest star, made several dangerous runs in both halves but the Manchester United forward was unable to find the net. Greece was playing with most of the team that helped it win the European Championship in 2004. In qualifying for Euro 2008, Greece is tied with Turkey for first place in Group C with a nine points from three games. Greece hosts Turkey in its next qualifier on March 24. South Korea, which reached the semifinals at the 2002 World Cup, was eliminated in the group stage last time. But the two-time Asian Cup champions have qualified for this year’s continental finals once again. (AP/Reuters)