Monday, November 29, 1999

Higuan hat-trick seals Argentina``s 4-1 win over South Korea

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Johannesburg, June 17 (PTI) Gonzalo Higuain struck the first hat-trick of the FIFA World Cup as Argentina spanked South Korea 4-1 in a Group B match to seal a berth in the knock-out round here today. Two-time champions Argentina produced another dominating performance after their 1-0 victory over Nigeria in their campaign opener to book a place in the round of 16 though Lionel Messi was still in search of his first goal in the mega event. Real Madrid striker Higuain struck in the 33rd, 76th and 80th minutes after South Korean Park Chu-Young gave the South Americans the lead with an own goal in the 17th minute. Lee Chung-Yong took advantage of a mistake in the Argentine defence to score for South Korea in the one minute added time in the first half. With the win, Argentina topped Group B with two wins while South Korea will have to beat Nigeria in their last group match on June 26 in Durban if they have to qualify for the knockout phase. Argentina made one change from their squad which beat Nigeria 1-0 by drafting in Liverpool midfielder Maxi Rodrigues in place of Juan Sebastian Veron and they dictated terms on the South Koreans with overwhelming ball possession. Diego Maradona''s boys kept the ball in the South Korean half for most part of the match with strikers Carlos Tevez and Higuain, and Messi playing behind the duo creating havoc at the South Korean defence time and again. To the credit of the ''Taegeuk Warriors'' under former World Cupper Huh Jung-moo, they did not concede too many openings to the ''La Albiceleste'' in the first 45 minutes at the packed Soccer City Stadium. .

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