SEOUL (Reuters) - Neymar and Oscar scored in each half as Brazil cruised to a 2-0 win over South Korea in Seoul on Saturday in a friendly dominated by the 2014 World Cup hosts.
Brazil fielded a strong side against the 2002 World Cup semi-finalists, with Neymar, Jo and Hulk pulling the Korean defense all across the field while Dante and David Luiz dealt comfortably with the few times Korea broke into the final third.
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari praised his team for dealing with a physical Korean side and overcoming jet-lag from their 30-hour trip to Seoul.
“The Brazil team did better than I expected ... despite the difficulties we were faced with,” he said in a news conference.
“In the first half, I felt South Korea was being excessively aggressive, making too many fouls. I felt the Korean players were more focused on marking our players, so it looks like they got tired early.
“Judging from the number of fouls made by the South Korean team, I think South Korea was playing a more aggressive game.”
Scolari said he thought Korea would tire in the latter stages but they kept up the pace until the 90th minute.
“Our players ... were so surprised at South Korea’s performance for the remaining 20 minutes. It looked like they got back on track,” he added.
Striker Hulk had the first clear chance in the 14th minute, slipped through on goal from Jo’s one touch pass, but Korean goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong rushed out to smother the danger.
Midfielder Ki Sung-yeung picked up the game’s first yellow card in the 17th minute after crashing into the back of Neymar, and while the Barcelona forward had to cope with some rough treatment throughout the first half he had the last laugh when he opened the scoring in the 44th minute.
After being fouled just outside the box, Neymar picked himself up then clipped the ball over the wall and past the flailing Korean keeper.
Roared on by a record 65,308 crowd at Seoul’s World Cup stadium, South Korea started the second half brightly but quickly found themselves 2-0 down.
Paulinho split the Korean defense wide open and Oscar raced onto the ball, calmly rounded Jung and clipped home with his left foot.
South Korea mounted some sustained pressure late in the second half, but despite the introduction of Bayer Leverkusen forward Son Heung-min the home side rarely threatened Brazilian goalkeeper Jefferson.
South Korea coach Hong Myung-bo, who skippered the 2002 side, said his team had progressed despite the defeat.
“What is clear about tonight’s game is that we have gained confidence,” he said. “It is a big gain for our team. “I think our team did a good job in pressing the Brazilians hard. I want to praise the man-to-man marking of our players today.”
Brazil now travel to Beijing to face Zambia in another friendly on October 15.
Reporting by Narae Kim, Writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Justin Palmer