NYON, Switzerland (AP)—A late penalty converted by Roque Santa Cruz gave Paraguay a 1-0 win against North Korea in the teams’ first warmup match for the World Cup on Saturday.
Santa Cruz struck his spot kick high to the left of goalkeeper Ri Myong Guk in the 86th minute, after substitute Nam Song Chol was harshly adjudged to have handled the ball.
Paraguay hit a post twice in a seven-minute spell midway through the second half after the Koreans impressed in the first period.
Choe Kum Chol had North Korea’s best chance in the 35th but lifted his shot over the bar.
North Korea lined up with a five-man defensive line but soon showed it could break quickly by passing neatly.
Mun In Guk’s cross created confusion in the Paraguay penalty area in the eight minute, but Ji Yun Nam took too long to shoot and his effort was charged down.
Paraguay came close in the 25th minute with a 30-meter (yard) shot by Aureliano Torres that tall Korean ‘keeper Ri tipped over.
North Korea had a clear chance 10 minutes later, created by a deft pass by captain Hong Yong Jo, its only Europe-based player, with Russian club Rostov.
Choe Kum Chol chipped his shot over onrushing goalkeeeper Diego Barreto but also cleared the bar.
Paraguay played a more expansive game after the break and twice struck the post.
In the 60th minute, Marcelo Estigarribia’s left-foot drive struck the outside of the post after he was played in by Enrique Vera.
Seven minutes later, Eduardo Ledesma beat Ri’s dive with a crossshot on the run but the ball clipped the frame of goal.
Paraguay got the goal it deserved after Swiss referee Carlo Bertolini pointed to the spot, penalizing Chol for handball with no attacker nearby and no apparent appeal from the South Americans.
North Korea was without its Japan-based pair An Yong Hak and Jong Tae Se, who were not with the squad.