Tottenham star Son Heung-min scores vital late winner for South Korea in 2-1 victory over Syria to strengthen their chances of qualifying for next year’s World Cup
- South Korea went top of their World Cup qualifying group with a win over Syria
- Syria had looked to take a share of the points with an equaliser after 84 minutes
- Son Heung-min scored from close range to hand South Korea a vital victory
The 29-year-old’s goal ensures Paulo Bento’s side maintain their unbeaten start in Group A in the final phase of Asia’s World Cup qualifiers.
He swept the ball home from close range in the 89th minute, five minutes after Omar Khribin looked to have secured a share of the points for the Syrians in a game dominated by the hosts.
Son Heung-min scored a vital late winner for South Korea in their World Cup qualifier
The win moves South Korea onto seven points from their first three games and Bento’s side could have had the result sealed long before Hwang In-beom put his side in front three minutes into the second half.
The Koreans hit the woodwork as early as the 10th minute when Song Min-kyu’s header clipped the frame of the goal in front of the empty stands of the Ansan Wa Stadium.
Hwang Hee-chan struggled to show his early season Wolverhampton Wanderers form, shinning the ball high over the crossbar from close range midway through the half.
The Tottenham star scored an 89th minute goal to put South Korea top of their group
Hwang Hee-chan competes for the ball during South Korea’s match with Syria
The striker fired off target again when he thumped Song’s cushioned header well over the bar and, with the first half in injury time, he steered another effort over the bar after deftly controlling In-beom’s ball over the defence.
Despite ceding the majority of possession, Syria were a threat on the break with Omar Al Somah forcing a full-stretch save out of Kim Seung-gyu in the first half while Khribin tested the keeper in the 53rd minute.
By then, though, the Koreans had taken the lead through In-beom, who twisted onto his left foot before shooting across Ibrahim Alma from outside the area.
South Korea need to finish top of their group to automatically qualify for next year’s World Cup
Alma twice denied Son the opportunity to double the lead as the second half wore on and Khribin’s spectacular finish looked like it would punish the Koreans.
But Son struck from close range following Kim Min-jae’s knockdown to earn Korea a dramatic win.
Iran, Group A leaders at the start of the day, will take on the United Arab Emirates later on Thursday while Iraq will meet Lebanon in Doha.
In Group B, table toppers Australia will take on Oman while Saudi Arabia host Japan and China play Vietnam.
The top two finishers in each group are guaranteed a place at next year’s World Cup finals while the nations finishing in third will enter into a series of playoffs.