SEOUL (AP) — Kim Shin-wook scored the first goal for South Korea on Wednesday in a World Cup qualifying match, and then the whole team celebrated the memory of a former national team great.
Kim and his teammates held aloft a shirt bearing the name of Yoo Sang-chul, who represented South Korea 124 times and died on Monday at the age of 49 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
South Korea went on to beat Sri Lanka 5-0 and close in on a place in the third round of Asian qualifying.
Kim scored another goal later in the first half, after Lee Dong-gyeong had made it 2-0. Hwang Hee-chan and Jung Sang-bin scored in the second half.
“It was a fair result,” South Korea coach Paulo Bento said. “The players stayed focused and worked for the win.”
Son Heung-min was rested for the match following a busy season with Tottenham.
The 2002 World Cup semifinalists are three points ahead of Lebanon in Group H. Lebanon lost to Turkmenistan 3-2.
South Korea and Lebanon will play each other on Sunday in the final game of the group.
The eight group winners qualify automatically for the third round, which is scheduled to start in September, along with the four best runners-up.
Australia can become the third team to advance on Friday if it beats Nepal in Kuwait City. Australia coach Graham Arnold rested a number of players for Monday’s 5-1 victory over Taiwan in Group B.
China, which made its only World Cup appearance at the 2002 tournament, can no longer win Group A but still has a chance to advance as one of the best second-place teams. The Chinese next play the Maldives in Sharjah.
“There is still a lot of football to be played,” China coach Li Tie said. “We are just focused on getting the result we need on Friday.”
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports