South Korea's hopes of winning the East Asian Cup on home soil took a major blow on Wednesday, as they were held 0-0 by China.
The Taeguk Warriors were desperately unlucky not to score in their goalless opening match against Australia last Saturday, and they suffered the same fate at the Hwaseong Sports Complex four days later, despite mounting wave after wave of promising attacks.
The result leaves both holders China and South Korea on two points from two matches played in the 2013 edition of the EAFF competition, with Japan and Australia set to meet at the same venue on Thursday.
Watched by 23,675 fans at the modern, multi-purpose arena south of Seoul, a cagey start to the game saw the hosts control possession but struggle to find a route to China's goal.
When chances did arrive, just as in the match against Australia, they were spectacular. On 13 minutes Han Kook-Young fired a shot from distance, forcing China's goalkeeper Zeng Cheng into a fingertip save at full stretch.
Shortly before the half-hour mark, it was Yun Illok's turn to threaten, as he smashed Seo Dong-Hyeon's chipped lay-off to the far corner, with Zeng again equal to the task.
As the half wore on, South Korea stepped up their efforts, Seo twice going close. He first sent a header straight at the goalkeeper before narrowly failing to connect with a back-post cross.
In between those two attempts, Cho Young-Cheol cut inside from the right and unleashed a powerful strike, which flew just wide of the upright.
All those opportunities arrived in a three-minute spell just before half-time.
After a tame opening to the second period, the final proof that it was not to be Seo's night arrived on 65 minutes, when the Jeju United man found himself clean through on goal, but he could only shoot straight at Zeng.
Seo was promptly substitued for Kim Shin-Wook.
The change did little to alter the pattern of proceedings, as China - seemingly with no interest in venturing near opposition territory - kept their shape and proved adept at frustrating South Korea's increasingly desperate attempts to break the deadlock.
A good chance arrived on 77 minutes, when Yeom dispatched a low free-kick that Zeng did well to get behind and save.
The final say went to substitute Go Mooyul, who headed over the crossbar unmarked from six yards out in the 84th minute.
That summed up South Korea's performance and their tournament so far under new manager Hong Myung-Bo, who knows his players will have to beat fierce regional rivals Japan in the final match on Sunday if they are to have any chance of winning the trophy.
|Macedonia 0 Australia 0: Stalemate in Skopje|
|Del Bosque not out for Netherlands revenge|
|Burton Albion 1 Stevenage 1: Both teams score at wrong end in draw|
|Pekerman: I have no say on Falcao´s Manchester United future|
|Buffon has studied England new boy Kane|
|Conte urges patience from Italy fans|
|Johnson tasked with keeping Cheltenham up|
|Rooney not keen on Serie A switch|
|Kane to make first England start|
|Colombia 3 Kuwait 1: Spot-on Falcao equals Iguaran record|
|Goal-shy Barkley eyes striker´s role|
|UEFA opens disciplinary proceedings against Montenegro and Russia|
|Draxler and Choupo-Moting back in training|
|Ghana v Mali: Last chance to impress before Giresse return|
|Wilson: Gibraltar getting stronger|
|Mata confident of Spain future|
|Armenia coach Challandes resigns|
|Hiddink rubbishes talk of Dutch negativity|
|Portugal v Cape Verde: Santos set to rotate|
|Loren hails Moyes for Sociedad surge|
|Cruyff brands Netherlands ´a disgrace´|
|Kick It Out backs Barnes over race comments|
|Argentina v Ecuador: Messi remains doubtful for friendly|
|Coates backs Hughes ambition at Stoke|
|Atletico able to call on Saul again|
|Italy v England Preview: Kane set to start after dream debut|
|Zidane would accept Real job|
|Hernandez frustrated by lack of Real opportunities|
|Spartak donate money to 102-year-old fan after robbery|
|Clasie pulls out of Netherlands squad|
|Italy´s Bertolacci out of England friendly|
|Newcastle post record profit as Ashley debt stays the same|
|Al Sadd: We want Xavi to bring tiki-taka|
|Lacazette expected frosty Saint-Etienne reception|
|Barnes: I can´t get back into management because I´m black|
|Rooney praises England aggression|
|Southgate tips Kane for return to U21s|
|Mexico v Paraguay: Goals in order for Copa America aspirants|
|Netherlands - Spain Preview: Wijnaldum rallies behind under-fire Hiddink|
|Peru v Venezuela: Sanvicente wants Venezuelan response|
|Carvalho confident of playing Juventus|
|Neymar demands protection after Medel stamp|
|MLS Review: RSL, Fire secure breakthrough wins|
|Firmino firmly on radar - Dunga|
|O´Neill delighted with second-half display|
|First-half dominance pleases Deschamps|
|Muller criticises Germany profligacy|
|Euro 2016 Qualifying Review: Portugal go top, Gibraltar make history in defeat|
|Liverpool the only English club I could play for - Suarez|
|France 2 Denmark 0: Lacazette off the mark in routine victory|
|Republic of Ireland 1 Poland 1: Long rescues vital point|
|Portugal 2 Serbia 1: Coentrao puts hosts top of Group I|
|Strachan hails ´terrific´ Gibraltar|
|Lafferty back playing with a smile on his face - O´Neill|
|Toure to reveal Ivory Coast future over coming days|
|Georgia 0 Germany 2: Reus and Muller on target for world champions|
|Northern Ireland 2 Finland 1: Lafferty inspires fourth qualifying success|
|Scotland 6 Gibraltar 1: Casciaro´s historic moment outshone by Fletcher´s hat-trick|
|France 2-0 Denmark: Lacazette and Giroud on target|
|Firmino hopeful of Copa America spot|
|Hummels considering options at Dortmund|
|Suarez goalless on Anfield return, but Balotelli nets stunner|
|Casciaro scores first competitive goal for Gibraltar|
|Fleetwood Town 1 Preston North End 1: Ball stunner claims share of derby spoils|
|Italy v England: Judge me on results, says Conte|
|Colombia v Kuwait: Falcao seeking another strong showing|
|Brazil 1 Chile 0: Firmino settles scrappy affair|
|Luxembourg v Turkey: Let´s kick on, urges Terim|
|South Africa 1 Nigeria 1: Zungu strikes late to earn draw|
|Smalling wants long-term United stay|
|South Africa 1-1 Nigeria: Last-gasp Zungu goal cancels out Musa strike|
|Italy call up Santon and Abate for England friendly|
|Switzerland v United States: Klinsmann eyes learning curve|
|Netherlands v Spain: Hiddink has players´ support, says Wijnaldum|
|A-League Review: Sydney end Wellington run, Adelaide suffer injury blows in Jets win|
|Henderson eyes long-term Liverpool future|
|I have nothing to prove - Bale|
|Brazil 1-0 Chile: Firmino gives Selecao battling victory|
|South Korea v New Zealand: All Whites looking to future|
|Japan v Uzbekistan: Hosts eye another win under Halilhodzic|
|MLS Review: Kaka nets in Orlando draw|
|Mexico 1 Ecuador 0: Hernandez, Corona help Herrera´s men to victory|
|Deschamps calls for France response|
|Dunga unfazed by pressure|
|Montenegro fan turns himself in after flare incident|
|Injured Messi not ready - Martino|
|Hodgson: Rooney not close to Charlton|
|Terim proud of Turkey|
|Hiddink happy with point|
|Euro 2016 Qualifying Review: Netherlands and Italy stage late escapes|
|Debutant Eder delighted with Azzurri bow|