RUSSIA 1, SOUTH KOREA 1 (WORLD CUP GROUP H)
WET BALL SLIPS OUT OF IGOR AKINFEEV’S GRASP
Brazil’s draw with Mexico earlier will be remember for goalkeeping heroics from Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa in what was a very entertaining goal-less draw. In contrast, the World Cup’s third draw of the tournament will probably only be remembered for ridiculous heat and an embarrassing goalkeeping blunder by Igor Akinfeev.
In oppressively humid conditions at Estadio Pantanal in Cuiaba, both sides were struggling with the heat before the game had even started with all players soaked in sweat before the first quarter of the game was over.
Fabio Capello’s team had the conservative look and style of the England side of South Africa 2010 and the heat contributed to a slow paced game with long shots and little in the way of close quarters excitement.
Inevitably, the mistakes started to come as legs tired in the final quarter of the game.
Crucially, the humid conditions had meant a wet surface and inevitably a wet ball which was difficult to keep a hold of by the ‘keepers. This was more evident with experienced Russian ‘keeper Akinfeev who couldn’t hold on to any of South Korea’s long range efforts. He had already spilled a trio of South Korean shots before he committed a Robert Green-esque howler to concede.
It’s just a pity that South Korea couldn’t follow up their shots sooner or they might have profited more from their pot shots but they eventually celebrated a bizarre 69th minute goal when Lee Keunho’s shot was spilled out of his gloves by Akinfeev and looped into his own goal by the Russian who desperately tried to retrieve the loose ball before collapsing in a heap in his goal.
The Russian equaliser five minutes later had a very scrappy look about it after a goal mouth scramble. Alan Dzagoev’s shot was parried away by Jung Sung-ryong but the clearance by Kim Young-gwon fell to substitute Alexsandr Kerzhakov who made no mistake to score his 26th goal for Russia.
Alexander Kokorin spurned the chance of a winner for Russia who finished strongly as he headed a chance over the top.