AFC Asian Cup 2019: Hwang winner gets stuttering South Korea off the mark

South Korea got its 2019 Asian Cup campaign off to a winning - if underwhelming - start, beating Philippines 1-0 in Group C.

Hwang Ui-jo scored the solitary goal for South Korea.   -  AP

Hwang Ui-jo scored the decisive goal as an underwhelming South Korea just managed to defeat Sven-Goran Eriksson's Philippines 1-0 in its AFC Asian Cup 2019 Group C opener on Monday.

Paulo Bento's side was without Tottenham star Son Heung-min and it clearly missed its talisman against a well-organised Philippines, but South Korea's higher class eventually told in the second period.

South Korea vs Philippines: Live Score and Minute-by-minute commentary

Unfancied Philippines – playing its first ever game in the competition – certainly held its own in the first half, but after half-time it came unstuck, as Hwang ensured South Korea avoided a shock of any sort.

The first period was generally devoid of excitement before bursting into life in the final five minutes. South Korea went close first, when Hwang turned just inside the area and saw a low drive saved by Michael Falkesgaard, before Javier Patino's sweetly struck volley on the break forced Kim Seung-gyu into action at the other end.

Hwang tested Falkesgaard again soon after, and although the ball squirmed through the goalkeeper's legs, the contact was enough to divert it away from goal.

Bento's men remained in the ascendancy after the break, but Philippines' threat on the counter was obvious and it nearly took a shock lead in the 53rd minute, only for Patino to produce a feeble finish at the end of a swift move.

South Korea's dominance paid off in the 67th minute – Hwang slotting home from close-range following Hwang Hee-chan's cut-back.