2:2 South Korea vs. Georgia International Friendly Review 9.5.2019

Quick Recap

Georgia came into this game ranked 94th in the world according to FIFA, but they looked much better than what their ranking might suggest. Georgia dominated early and controlled the pace pretty much throughout the whole match. Korea made a few adjustments in the 2nd half and was able to get back into the game.

This game was an experimental friendly that holds very little importance in the long run. So Bento being Bento decides to try out some new tactics and personnel. South Korea came out with a 3-5-2 formation with Hwang Hee Chan and Kim Jinsu as the wing backs. That’s not all the surprises. He starts a K league 2 forward, Lee Jeonghyeop. He starts a brand new goal keeper, Gu Sungyun. Lee Kang In starts in his first senior level debut! And oh yeah, Bento made 6 total subsitutes!

It is always good to see a head coach giving different players chances and trying out new tactics to improve the team, but the team’s performance today was very lackluster. The players were unable to complete simple passes, lost possession way too easily, and did not look to go forward. In a new formation with new personnel it is inevitable that the team will be disorganized, but today was a little tough to watch. I think the Korean National team does need to implement some type of a 3 back system that looks to counter in order to compete against stronger opposition so I understand that there will be some growing pains.

The defense was probably by far the worst I’ve seen out of the Korean National Team in a long time. Big gaping holes in the middle of pitch allowed Georgia to control the game. The centrebacks were struggling to figure out their defensive responsibilities which led to wide open areas all over the place. Paik Seung Ho was tasked to manage the midfield just as he did against Iran back in June, but he could not emulate that performance due to Georgia overwhelming the middle.

Around the 40th minute Kwon Chang Hoon lost possession from the middle which led to a quick Georgia counterattack and Jano Ananidze scored from a possible offside position. Georgia continued to dominate in the first half.

Hwang Ui Jo and Jung Woo Yeong subbed in to start the 2nd Half. Those two players immediately changed the game. One minute into the half, Hwang Ui-Jo scored and Jung Woo Yeong provided the stability in the midfield. Korea continued to build momentum and started to push Georgia back.

In the 85th minute, Hwang Ui Jo scored a header that was set up by Kim Jinsu and Lee Donggyeon. Finally, Korea looked to stablize and take control of the game, but 6 minutes later Georgia wins the ball once again in our half of the field and scores an equalizer. Georgia’s first goal was probably offsides, but their second goal was 100% offsides, but the line judge somehow missed it. Game ends with two goal a piece.

If I’m being optimistic, I wouldn’t put too much stock into this friendly, because it was truly a warm up game. World Cup Qualifiers starts next Tuesday for us and our boys will be ready!

Player Ratings:

Goal Keepers

Gu Sungyun #12- 6.5: Today was his senior side debut and unfortunately it wasn’t a clean sheet. I know he is a monster between the sticks in the J League, but he honestly didn’t show much today. He had one crucial save with his foot in the 68th minute. His timing and position on Georgia’s first goal was pretty good, just couldn’t get a hand on the ball. Build up play was good enough. Nice to see that the goal keeper rotation is competitive.


Park Jisoo #23- 6.0: Park is another young CB that Bento has in his arsenal. He is currently playing in CSL for Guangzhou Evergrande and getting a good amount of playing time. He made a few mistakes in the first half, but was able to settle into the game and was much more reliable as the game went on. He would come out for Kim Younggwon in the middle of the 2nd half.

Kim Minjae #4- 6.0: He was definitely the rock of a shaky defense today, but even Kim Minjae had his fair share of mistakes. He lost his man in box a few times and unusually struggled against the long ball. His usual long and precises passes up field wasn’t available today, but defensively he closed down on defenders early and made runs down the field.

Kwon Kyungwon #20- 6.0: I would give him pretty much the same evaluation as the other CBs, defensively, but he did have two dangerous headers off corners. One of them forcing the Georgian keeper to make a brilliant save. I think if Bento wants to use a back 3, it should be Kim Minjae, Kim Younggwon, and Kwon Kyungwon. Kwon Kyungwon is here to stay.

Kim Young Gwon- N/A: He didn’t play enough for me to give him a fair rating, but he was on the pitch for Georgia’s 2nd goal and that was a total breakdown on the Korean defense. And as the vice captain of the team, I really hoped he would have tighten the team up to finish the match.


Hwang Hee Chan #11- 7.0: Played out of position as the RWB and it showed. A lot of times he was out position defensively, because he would make deep runs into the opposition’s final third. I’m going to give him a 7/10, because he was the one of the few players who created chances. Making speedy and dangerous runs in behind the opposition defense and nutmegging defenders was awesome. Let’s hope he keeps it up for club and country.

Lee Kang In #13- 7.0: Solid debut for Lee Kang In. He got banged around a bit in the first half, but I think he settled in pretty fast. He got out of some hairy situations in the midfield to make cross field passes. He looked confident and took some shots of his own. In the 2nd half, he froze the opposition’s keeper with a beautifully curving free kick, but only to hit the post. His link up play with Son Heung Min obviously isn’t there yet, but when it comes, it will be fantastic.

Kwon Chang Hoon #22- 6.0: Kwon played the whole match. I thought he should have been subbed out earlier. He played a more central role today, but he is definitely more comfortable on the wings. In the 40th minute he lost the ball right above Korea’s box which led to a swift Georgia counterattack to help them gain the lead. He struggled to help Paik Seung Ho and Lee Kang In control the middle of the field. Offensively, he was mediocre and had some weak shots on goal.

Paik Seung Ho #8- 6.0: He was unable to emulate his performance against Iran during the June friendlies. He lost the ball too often, had a very low amount of forward passes, couldn’t create anything going forward, and constantly found himself all alone in the midfield getting pushed around by Georgia. (not his fault, I guess?) Got subbed out for Jung Woo Yeong

Kim Jin Su #3- 7.0: Solid play going forward, he was always up field linking up with Son or Kwon Chang Hoon. His crosses were really accurate too. I wish he would have seen Lee JeongHyup a little earlier at times, but overall good performance. Got the assist for Hwang Ui Jo’s 2nd goal.

Jung Woo Yeong- 6.5: He did a little better than Paik Seung Ho did, but not much better. Honestly though, today’s formation set both of them for failure. Georgia’s midfielders and attackers constantly swarmed the single man in the midfield. Like always, he looked pretty calm and poised for the most part.

Lee Dong gyeong- 7.0: He came on around the 70th minute and all his touches were positive. Maybe it was the Ulsan connection, but Kim Bo Kyung and Lee Dong gyeong took charge on the right side. He created Hwang Ui-jo’s 2nd goal with a beautiful cross to Kim Jinsu who put it on a platter for Hwang Ui Jo.

Kim Bo Kyung- 6.5: He had some really good link up play and looked to get forward, but with only 15 minutes of total play time, I don’t think he was able to show much of his abilities. I hope Bento plays him more against Turkmenistan.


Lee Jeonghyup #18- 5.5: He was invisible for 45 minutes. I saw him trying to make runs, but no one was able to get him the ball so he tried coming down the pitch to contribute. He was unable to hold the ball at all as he got overpowered by the bigger Georgian defenders.

Son Heung Min #7- 7.5: Had some good moments, such as in 38th minute where he brought down a long ball with his right foot in the opposition’s box and as the ball was still in the air he was able to spin pretty much 360 degrees to kick the ball with his left just before the ball hit the ground. He ran at defenders to create something, but timing of his passes were just a tad off. I think the lack of chemistry was the issue there.

Na Sang Ho #15- 6.5: Overall performance of his 20 minutes was fair. He always gives 100% and runs so hard, but I don’t think he is ready for the senior side yet.

Hwang Ui Jo #16- 8.5: I think Hwang Ui Jo had less than 20 touches in 45 minutes, but his movement and timing was amazing. He is 100% the talisman of South Korea as of right now. His presence immediately changed everything. His first touch of the game was a goal…unreal.

PAULO BENTO8.5: I give Bento 8.5, only because he was so willing to try new things and personnel. I honestly believe Korea needs to implement some type of a back 3 formation to compete against stronger oppositions. And I believe Bento recognizes that as well.

About Gordon Kim 4 Articles
Korean Football Fanatic since 2002!


  1. Random Thought:

    I think the idea of a 3-1-4-2 was really interesting. But clearly Paik Seungho was not ready for the role in terms of the fact that he didn’t get the midfield/defensive help needed. Does this lineup of players work better? Let me know your thoughts.

    Sonny-Kwon CH

    Kim JS-Kangin-Kim Bokyung-Hwang Heechan


    Kim MJ-KimYG-Kwon KW

    Gu SY

    • By Kim JS, did you mean Lee JS? And I’d hope Jeong WY was in there somewhere.

      P.S. Hwang UJ continues to baffle me, in the best way lol. I dunno how he does it, I’m still not completely sold, but as long as he continues doing it I’m ok with it going over my head.

      • So I meant Kim Jinsu as LWB. I don’t think Lee JS is necessarily good as a defensive player so he shouldn’t play a WB position. This system isn’t good for him and he would probably be best subbing in for Kangin or Kim Bokyung instead of trying to pigeonhole himself in the LWB role. I think that Hwang Heechan, while a winger or striker at club level, has plenty of work rate to play WB. Lee Jaesung? Not as much.

  2. Glad to see Bento experimenting and starting the young players. Just want to fast forward a couple years and see what this time with Lee KI, Jeong WY, Paik SH, Lee SW, and Hwang HC with Sonny, Kwon, Hwang IB, Lee JS, Kim MJ, et al can accomplish.

    Thoughts on Korea just reverting back to the 4-4-2? I think Son and Hwang UJ starting up top gives us our best chances of scoring with some combination of Hwang HC, Hwang IB, Kwon CH, Lee KI/Lee JS/Paik to support, and then Kim MJ + Kim YG as the CBs and Kim JS as left back. Don’t have a strong preference for RB or GK for now.

    Here’s to another successful WCQ campaign!

    • I don’t necessarily want to go back to the 4-4-2 just because the first half today was so bad. The second half improved with the introduction of subs so what if it was just that the lineup was bad? Let’s not rush to a change just because the formation experiment didn’t work for the full 90 minutes. The players were still learning the new tactics and they had a much improved second 45.

      • Was just gonna ask if they should revert to 4-4-2, cuz my bias is yes. Personally, it was kind of heartening to see Bento take the opportunity to try out so many things at once; new formation, new faces, six subs! Up to now, he’s seemed so inflexible, bit frustrating, so this was perfectly cool for a friendly. See what works/doesn’t, and what a difference certain players can make as soon as they come on.

        Gonna need a bit of convincing that 3-5-2 is the way to go for games that count tho :/ Would it be for when we need oomph offensively? Seems to expose the defense so much, and not sure we have enough individual quality in the back to pull it off.

    • Against stronger oppositions, I think a deep lying 4-4-2 is best at the moment. Have either son heung min, hwang hee chan, or hwang ui jo up top. Everyone else fall back in a deep tight defense and look to counter. Son and hee chan can out run/finesse most defenders out there.


      Honestly defensively, Ju se jong for LJS wouldnt be a bad idea either.

      This is kind of the formation we beat colombia and tied chile with.
      It allows the team to quickly transition into other formations and tactics.

  3. I’m just gonna say, I did kinda call it with Hwang UJ on this site last year. Lol. Hopefully he stays this good against tougher opponents.

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