MOSCOW (AFP) - Kim Joo-Young scored two own goals in two minutes as Russia beat South Korea 4-2 in Moscow on Saturday (Oct 7) in their first game since the Confederations Cup.
Krasnodar forward Fedor Smolov and Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder Alexei Miranchuk also scored for the 2018 World Cup hosts, who put in a much-improved display after their group-stage exit from the Confederations Cup in June.
Kwon Kyung-Won and Ji Dong-Won struck late consolation goals for the visitors.
It was Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov’s fifth win in 13 matches since taking over in August, 2016 – the other four coming against Ghana, Romania, Hungary and New Zealand.
However, Cherchesov’s team have also suffered five defeats and were facing questions about their ability to compete among the elite at the World Cup – for which they qualified automatically as hosts.
“We looked physically well today. And of course I’m pleased with the result,” said Cherchesov.
“But I’m worried as we played too unevenly, alternating the periods of good play and the slumps. We made too many mistakes today. But in general I feel that we’ve made a step ahead.”
Alexander Kokorin had a chance to put the home side ahead 25 minutes in, but his low shot flew inches past the post.
Tottenham forward Son Heung-Min beat the Russia defence on a breakaway and forced keeper Igor Akinfeev into a diving save with an angled shot in the 33rd minute.
The first half looked to be heading to a goalless conclusion when Smolov broke the deadlock with a header from an Alexander Samedov corner.
After the break the visitors upped the tempo but Russia defended well, before defender Kim Joo-Young became the villain of the match by scoring two own goals in as many minutes.
Alexei Miranchuk came off the bench to score Russia’s fourth, before Kwon and Ji reduced the arrears.
“Though we have been beaten I’m pleased that my men fought up to the very end today,” South Korea coach Shin Tae-Young said.
“We need to keep on working on our play... Hopefully, in the future we will be able to perform as good as the Russian team.”
Russia will take on Iran in another friendly on Tuesday in Kazan.