South Korea 2
New Zealand 1
The Oly Whites came close to securing a second, lucky draw in the final phase of their Olympic preparations but it would have been a result they didn't deserve.
Three days ago New Zealand somehow escaped with a 1-1 draw against the Japan Olympic side after being totally dominated and tonight's match followed a similar pattern before they were finally beaten 2-1 by South Korea.
Shane Smeltz's cool 73rd minute finish cancelled out Korea's opening goal in the 18th minute when Chu Young Park scored with a clever backheal and they might have had visions of heading to London with two morale-boosting draws before TaeHee Nam took advantage of some sloppy defending to grab the winner 10 minutes from time.
It was the least Korea deserved. They played at a pace the Oly Whites struggled to cope with and exposed New Zealand behind their fullbacks.
It's the route that delivered their opening goal, when right-back Adam Thomas was let down by Marco Rojas who failed to track the overlapping runner, and it could have netted another couple of goals.
It was only a combination of decent goalkeeping from Jake Gleeson _ he played with considerably more surety than he did for the All Whites at the recent Oceania Nations Cup - and some profligate finishing which kept the game close. Korea were guilty of not killing off the game when they had the chance but, unlike Japan, found a second goal.
Thomas had a difficult night and left-back Ian Hogg was also lucky not to concede a penalty when he brought down his opposite but the referee adjudged the foul to occur outside the box.
Thomas, however, did well to provide the cross for Smeltz, who found himself alone on the penalty spot and guided the ball home between the legs of not only the goalkeeper but also a defender.
Tommy Smith is still to come into the side - he remained in the UK to nurse a hamstring strain - and will add considerable starch to the back four. But the last two matches have proved how difficult New Zealand's ambitions of getting out of their group at the Olympics will be.
They will also hope Gleeson, who limped off with what looked to be a troublesome groin injury after 58 minutes, will be fit in time because luck will get them only so far.
South Korea 2 (Chu-young Park 18, Tae-hee Nam 79) New Zealand 1 (Shane Smeltz 73). HT: 1-0.
- APNZBy Michael Brown Email Michael