Missed opportunities cost both Uruguay and South Korea as the two sides played out the fourth goalless draw of the 2022 World Cup at the Education City Stadium on Thursday.
Hwang Ui-jo blazed over from close range before Diego Godin hit the post with a header as the two sides traded jabs in the first half.
Edinson Cavani came off the bench to replace Luis Suarez but no goal was forthcoming – Federico Valverde hitting the post from distance being the closest either side came – as Group H opened up with a point apiece.
A tight first half was mainly comprised of near-misses as South Korea’s quick attackers looked to unsettle Uruguay’s experienced defence, with Jose Gimenez on hand twice to clear promising attacks.
Possession was shared equally but it was Hwang who missed the first big chance, firing well over while leaning back eight yards out from goal. It was a criminal miss and South Korea were so nearly punished for it just moments later.
A whipped Uruguay corner was met brilliantly by Godin, but the former Atletico Madrid defender saw his header bounce off the bottom of the left upright before being cleared.
The first half ended with just one minute of added time, with Uruguay’s long-ball tactics cancelling out South Korea’s counter-attacking intent at the break.
The two teams continued to probe whenever play broke out of the intense midfield battle. A brilliant Godin ball from the back released Darwin Nunez, who took the ball to the byline but couldn’t find a teammate.
Valverde smacked the bar from distance before the quiet Son Heung-min curled wide, but for the most part the second half struggled to provide any drama.
Clear cut chances continued to elude the two sides and proceedings in Al Rayyan ended in stalemate ahead of Portugal’s clash with Ghana later on Thursday.