World Cup jolt for Advocaat as Ghana bring sunshine to Leith
South Korea 1 - 3 Ghana
THE Last time Dick Advocaat visited Easter Road in April 2001 he watched Rangers drop two SPL points in a goal-less draw with Hibs.
This time around on his brief return to Scottish soil, Ghana literally overpowered his South Korean charges with a thoroughly deserved win against the 2002 World Cup semi-finalists. The Africans, inspired by Chelsea's 24 million midfielder Michael Essien, were well organised and physically stronger than their Asian counterparts.
And with Korea facing African opposition in the form of Togo on their opening match of the tournament on 13 June, alarm bells were ringing loudly in Advocaat's ears in the wake of this defeat.
"It was a well-deserved victory for Ghana, they were the better side and physically you could see they were good," said the Dutchman.
"They have some good players but hopefully we will learn from this.
"We could see they were much sharper. I am pleased with the game but not the result, we know what we need to do. Today, too many players from our team were not in the game and we could definitely see our players did not have the sharpness."
Advocaat will, nonetheless, try to lift his players as they prepare to lock horns with Togo, France and Switzerland in Group G in the hope of replicating their superb feat of four years ago.
Sadly for Scottish football supporters, yesterday's match was the closest they are likely to come to the World Cup - but the natives that did turn up at Easter Road were treated to a carnival atmosphere.
The colourful and vociferous Koreans, who massively outnumbered their African counterparts, squeezed into the East Stand and banged their drums from the first to last minute.
The Tartan Army may have won friends around the globe for their humorous drunken antics, but the red army which congregated at Easter Road will undoubtedly light up Germany in their own unique way.
The off-field events were just as interesting as the match itself, with dozens of Korean cameramen pacing the rows in the main stand with their hi-tech machinery.
And then there were the flamboyant Ghanaian commentators shouting at the top of their voices into their phones to relay events back to their homeland. They had good reason to shout as their side started the better against the Taeguk Warriors.
Essien showed great technique after 17 minutes to find a path through two South Korean's defenders in the box but his toe-poked effort was blocked.
Hearts target Jung Hwan Ahn was named in the starting line-up to lead the Korean attack but he was well marshalled by the burly Ghanian central defenders.
As the game went on, the Duisburg marksman looked to enforce his authority on the game from wide areas but was without luck, and was substituted by Advocaat at the interval.
Hearts Academy Director John Murray was an interested spectator in the directors box, running the rule over Korean pin-up player, but it was Ghana that look more dangerous.
Although the Africans made a better start to this World Cup warm-up clash, Korea grew in confidence in the first half.
But they were sent reeling in the 37th minute, when referee Dougie McDonald pointed to the spot for Jin Kyu Kim's handball from John Pantsil's cross. Asamoah Gyan stepped up to take the penalty and rifled the ball high into the net to open the scoring.
Essien almost restored parity just minutes before the break when his attempted headed clearance was brilliantly tipped over the bar by his own keeper Richard Kingson.
Six minutes into the second period, however, Korea levelled the score when Eul Young Lee powered a shot past unconvincing substitute goalkeeper Sammy Adjei from long range.
Advocaat's Korea, however, could not build on their equaliser and Sulley Muntari angled Essien's cross into the corner of the net past Woon Jae Lee just 11 minutes later.
Ghana had chances to add to their lead following Muntari's goal, most notably through Essien who blasted an effort over the cross bar after cleverly creating space in the box.
But the Chelsea playmaker redeemed himself with a third nine minutes from time, linking up well with Gyan before passing a low shot past Woon Jae.
Controversial Ghana coach Ratomir Dujkovic, who was accused in the German press of a racist remark last week, said: "Of course I am very happy with our build-up and especially because we have scored goals.
"We believe we can do a good job at the World Cup. We know Korea are very strong but I think they didn't push like they usually do."
South Korea: Woon Jae Lee, Young Chul Kim, Jin Kyu Kim, Ji Sung Park, Jung Hwan Ahn (Jae Jin Cho 46), Chu Young Park (Ki Hyeon Seol 81), Young Pyo Lee, Eul Yong Lee (Nam ll Kim 81), Chun Soo Lee, Ho Lee, Chong Gug Song. Subs not used: Dong Jin Kim, Jin Cheul Choi, Do Heon Kim, Ji Hoon Baek, Kyung Ho Chung, Sang Sik Kim, Yong Dae Kim, Young Kwang Kim, Won Hee Cho
Ghana: Richard Kingson (Sammy Adjei 46), Asamoah Gyan, John Mensah, Emmanuel Pappoe, IIiasu Alhassan, Michael Essien, Stephan Appiah, Sulley Muntari, Mathew Amoah (Razak Pimpong 81), John Pantsil, Eric Addo. Subs not used: Hans Adu Sarpei, Sammy Kuffor, Alex Tachie-Mensah, Habib Mohammed, Daniel Quaye, George Owu, Derek Boateng, Otto Addo, Issah Ahmed, Haminu Draman
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