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Colombia football coach impressed with S. Korea's speed in friendly

2017/11/10 23:22

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By Joo Kyung-don

SUWON, South Korea, Nov. 10 (Yonhap) -- Colombia football coach Jose Pekerman said Friday his side played a difficult friendly match because of South Korea's quick speed.

Colombia, No. 13 in the latest FIFA rankings, suffered a stunning 2-1 loss to 62nd-ranked South Korea at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, 46 kilometers south of Seoul.

Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min scored twice against the Colombians. Pekerman's side's only goal was by Cristian Zapata, who headed down James Rodriguez's free kick in the 76th minute.

Pekerman, who has been leading the Tricolors since 2012, said it was a difficult match, as he'd expected.

"Both teams will play at the 2018 World Cup, and it was really a difficult match," Pekerman said. "We really had a difficult time because South Koreans were fast."

   Pekerman said his side was able to catch up to South Korea's speed in the second half, but still it was challenging.

"South Korea also had a well-organized defense, and their defenders were also quick," he said. "We had issues of jetlag after a long trip."

   Pekerman, who previously led Argentina at the 2006 World Cup, said the absence of key players like AS Monaco striker Radamel Falcao and Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina also affected his team.

"When the key players are not with us, it also affects the team atmosphere," he said. "In some ways, it's good because new players get their opportunities, but it makes it hard to play well without core players."

   When asked about an apparent racist gesture by Edwin Cardona during a heated exchange between the two teams in the second half, Pekerman said he had no knowledge of such behavior.

"This was a physical and rough game," he said. "But I didn't see him (Cardona) making such a gesture."

   Pekerman's side will fly to Chongqing to face China next Tuesday.

Colombia football coach Jose Pekerman watches the friendly match against South Korea at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, on Nov. 10, 2017. (Yonhap) Colombia football coach Jose Pekerman watches the friendly match against South Korea at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, on Nov. 10, 2017. (Yonhap)

kdon@yna.co.kr

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