|Title||(Olympics) S. Korea defeat Sweden 3-2 in final football tune-up|
SAO PAULO, July 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea defeated Sweden 3-2 on Friday in the final men's football tune-up match ahead of the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics.
Midfielder Moon Chang-jin scored twice at Pacaembu Stadium in Sao Paulo, as South Korea enter the Olympics on a high note.
The Olympics opening ceremony is next Friday, but the men's football tournament will begin early with group play. South Korea, making their eighth consecutive Summer Games appearance, will face Fiji on Thursday in Salvador to open Group C action, followed by Germany in Salvador on Aug. 7 and Mexico on Aug. 10.
South Korea had lost to Iraq 1-0 in the first pre-Olympic contest last weekend in Sao Paulo.
Sweden, paired with Colombia, Nigeria and Japan in Group B, are potential semifinals opponents for South Korea should both nations go that deep at the Olympics.
South Korean midfielder Moon Chang-jin (second from R) dribbles the ball against Sweden in their Olympic football tune-up match at Pacaembu Stadium in Sao Paulo on July 29, 2016. (Yonhap) South Korean midfielder Moon Chang-jin (second from R) dribbles the ball against Sweden in their Olympic football tune-up match at Pacaembu Stadium in Sao Paulo on July 29, 2016. (Yonhap)
Ken Sema opened the scoring on Friday in the 26th minute, before Moon single-handedly turned the tide.
Midfielder Jang Hyun-soo drew a foul in the box in the 35th, and stepped up to take his own penalty. Goalkeeper Andreas Linde denied Jang, but Moon pounced on the rebound to level the score.
In the 41st, Hwang Hee-chan drove down the right flank and set up Moon for his second goal of the match.
Midfielder Ryu Seung-woo gave South Korea a two-goal cushion nine minutes into the second half, with Hwang again setting up the opportunity.
Sweden got one back three minutes later as Jacob Une Larsson sneaked in behind the defense to volley home a free kick but it was as close as they would get.
South Korean head coach Shin Tae-yong said he felt the offense was "almost perfect" but the defense left much to be desired.
"We could have lost our confidence after giving up the first goal, but the players never lost their focus and played a strong match," Shin said. "By winning our last match (before the Olympics), we'll be riding this momentum into the tournament."
Shin said Hwang, despite not scoring a goal, was a key player because he wreaked havoc on the Swedish defense and created opportunities for his teammates.
On the other hand, Shin said the defense will need better organization, and blamed the subpar performance on the players' lack of big-game experience.
"We will need to work on our cohesion with Jang Hyun-soo in the thick of things," the coach said of his captain. "We have to have better pass coverage."
South Korea played the match without Tottenham Hotspur attacker Son Heung-min, who is scheduled to join the team on Sunday due to his club commitments. Shin said Son's addition will add even more firepower to the offense, adding, "His speed and nose for the goal will be huge assets for us."
Son, a mainstay on the senior national team, has netted 16 goals in 48 international matches.
Son is one of three overage players selected as "wild cards." The Olympic football competition is restricted to players under 23, but teams can each name up to three players over that limit.
FC Porto striker Suk Hyun-jun, another wild card, entered the Sweden match in the 88th minute to test his injured ribs. He sustained the injury early in the match against Iraq, but he walked off the field on his own and was later cleared to play in the Olympics.
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