Two-time champions South Korea secured a 1-0 win over tournament debutants the Philippines as Group C action begun today at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
Hwang Ui-jo's 67th minute strike proved to be the difference at the Al-Maktoum Stadium in Dubai.
The 26-year-old scored from close range for the 1956 and 1960 winners having been set-up by a pull-back from Hwang Hee-chan.
South Korea quickly gained control of the tie but found the their opponents difficult to break down in the opening minutes.
The Philippines, whose head coach is former England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson, defended resolutely and played mainly on the counter-attack with Patrick Reichelt and Javier Patino leading their forays forward.
They caused a scare 10 minutes into the second-half, when a lapse in concentration in the South Korean defence allowed Patino to shoot, but goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu was in excellent form.
In the other Group C match at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain, China beat Kyrgyzstan - another nation making their first appearance at the tournament - 2-1.
Akhlidin Israilov had given Kyrgyzstan the lead three minutes before the break but an unfortunate own goal by goalkeeper Pavel Matiash and a fine finish from substitute Yu Dabao earned China all three points.
The Philippines will next play China on Friday (January 11) in Abu Dhabi, while South Korea face Kyrgyzstan in Al Ain in the day’s later match.
In Group D, a superb display from start to finish saw Iran beat Yemen 5-0 to begin their campaign in style.
Mehdi Taremi scored twice as the three-time champions, who reached the quarter-finals last time out in Australia in 2015, shone throughout and underlined their title credentials in what is their 14th consecutive appearance at Asia’s premier competition.
An own goal from Yemen stopper Saoud Al-Sowadi was sandwiched between Taremi's brace and the rout was completed thanks to second-half goals for Sardar Azmoun and substitute Saman Ghoddos.
Iran’s victory sees them go top of the Group D standings prior to tomorrow's encounter between fellow group hopefuls Iraq and Vietnam.
They will seek to build on their win when they meet Vietnam in Abu Dhabi on Saturday (January 12).
Yemen are set to go up against Iraq in Sharjah on the same day.
The first game in Group E is scheduled for tomorrow and will see Saudi Arabia do battle with North Korea.
Qatar will then play Lebanon on Wednesday (January 9).
The 2019 AFC Asian Cup is the 17th edition of the event.