South Korea played China to a scoreless draw to open an East Asian women's football tournament at home on Tuesday, unable to deliver a win in Englishman Colin Bell's coaching debut with the Taeguk Ladies.
The two Asian sides had few serious chances to kick off with a win at the women's competition of the East Asian Football Federation E-1 Football Championship at Busan Gudeok Stadium in Busan, 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul.
Hong hye-ji, a defender of the South Korea women's football team, heads the ball in a match with China on Dec. 10 at the Gudeok Stadium, Busan. (Yonhap)
South Korea, world No. 20, now have four wins, six draws and 27 losses against the 16th-ranked China. Tuesday's tie snapped a string of four consecutive losses to China.
In the four-nation tournament, South Korea will next face Chinese Taipei at 4:15 p.m. on Sunday at Busan Asiad Main Stadium.
The final match will be against Japan at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 17 at Gudeok. South Korea's only EAFF title came at the inaugural event in 2005.
China nearly opened the scoring just three minutes into the contest, with defender Liu Shanshan jumping in on offense and curling a shot just wide of the left post.
South Korea's best chance in the first half came on a free kick in the 28th minute. From just outside the box, midfielder Jang Chang drove a shot over the Chinese wall and toward the top right-hand corner, with goalkeeper Peng Shimeng punching out the ball at the last second to keep it a 0-0 affair.
In the opening moments of the second half, Chinese substitute Yang Li rattled a shot off the left post. South Korea dodged another bullet in the 55th minute, when Li Ying, another sub for China, nearly stripped South Korean keeper Yoon Young-geul of the ball right in front of the net.
In the 68th, Son Hwa-yeon's header off a Kim Hye-ri cross sailed over the bar for South Korea. Son had another good look at the net the next minute, as she got behind the defense for a one-on-one chance against Peng. But the Korean forward only managed a weak shot that rolled straight to the Chinese goalkeeper.
Bell, who took the South Korean job in October, made some late substitutions on offense, but those moves ultimately failed to produce a goal. (Yonhap)