If this sounds like a broken record, that's because it is. Take a bow, bench players — one more time.
Reserves accounted for both goals as South Korea and Russia, after a somnambulant opening half, settled for a 1-1 tie that extended a pattern at the World Cup of fresh legs exploiting tired ones.
South Korea's Lee Keun-Ho coaxed in a shot in the 68th minute following his entrance a dozen minutes earlier. Russia's Igor Denisov needed only two minutes to loudly announce his presence, answering during the 73rd minute.
Another Igor was especially grateful for the equalizer.
Forty-seven goals had been registered in the 16 preceding matches, not one with the goalkeeper fully at fault. Igor Akinfeev was solely to blame for Russia when he mishandled Lee's mildly challenging thumper from well outside the box. With an ill-timed jump, Akinkeev allowed the shoulder-high ball to slither through his hands and into the net.
Goal-rationing was becoming Wednesday's theme, with only three in the first two matches and this one headed inexorably toward a scoreless draw. A goalkeeper's goof and two crafty substitutions changed the course.
What sounds like a broken record by another definition might not be. It could not immediately be determined if FIFA maintains records of scoring by subs.
Look for coaches increasingly to use their full complement of backups, who are becoming front-and-center in the tournament.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun