After their 3-2 loss to Ghana, South Korea’s head coach Paulo Bento was dismissed for his furious response to his team being denied the opportunity to take a last-minute corner, leaving the team to lament a “lack of fairness” in the match.
Ghana found themselves 3-2 ahead after Mohammed Kudus’ second goal of the match stopped South Korea’s momentum during an exciting match at Education City Stadium.
The Taeguk Warriors, who had previously rallied from a 2-0 deficit thanks to a brace from Cho Gue-sung, applied more pressure in the closing stages and earned themselves a corner.
However, referee Anthony Taylor called time out before they could take the corner, which angered Bento, whose team was left bottom of Group H with just one point going into their final match.
Due to his red card, Bento was unable to participate in the post-game press conference, but his assistant Sergio Costa was more than happy to defend him.
Costa referred to the circumstance as “totally unfair.” “They allowed a similar scenario to play out in the first half.
“The referee took that opportunity away, Paulo reacted. He said nothing that was inappropriate to the referee, but he does what he knows. I think it’s a lack of fairness.
“I think the reaction is one of a person and group who feel lack of fairness at the end of the match.
“[Bento] is emotional and defends his own until the last. We are all able to understand his reaction.
“That sometimes leads to reactions that are part of what a human being is made of. It was normal of someone who did everything for the win.
“I believe we should feel sad, feel a lack of justice at the end, but also be proud. We gave our souls and that’s something we’ll try to repeat.”
Although Bento’s absence from South Korea’s final group match, which they must win, against Portugal, is not ideal, Costa claimed it will strengthen the team’s cohesion.
“We shall continue to prepare in same way as other matches – our strategy will not fail,” Costa added. “He won’t be present on the matchday, which is a loss because Paulo is obviously a great manager, but I think it will bring us together.”