South Korea scores late to beat Qatar 2-1

JOHN DUERDEN Associated Press Published:

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Son Heung-min scored in the sixth minute of injury time for South Korea to beat Qatar 2-1 in the final round of Asian World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.

South Korea's third win in five games kept it in contention to win Group A with three games to go.

Lee Keun-ho, the 2012 Asian player of the year, headed in the first goal in the 60th but Khalfan Ibrahim equalized for Qatar with a low shot from the edge of the area three minutes later.

In a first half that Korea controlled, there was little hint of the drama to follow. Chances were at a premium in a match in which frustrations spilled over into a late brawl on the pitch.

Korea continued to push forward for the win and was rewarded with virtually the last kick of the game as Son, who has nine goals for Hamburg in the Bundesliga, tapped home from close range.

"The goal was set on a plate for me by Lee Dong-guk," Son said. "All I had to do was finish ... but it was great to get such an important goal."

The attacker had been on the pitch for just 15 minutes.

"I didn't give Son Heung-min much time but he only needed a short time to show we he can do," a relieved Korea coach Choi Kang-hee said.

"It was a dramatic victory. Our players kept going right until the end and were rewarded with victory. We know what we have to do to get to the World Cup and our desire to get there is strong."

Qatar coach Fahad Thani questioned the amount of injury time allowed by the Japanese referee.

"There were five minutes of extra time but they gave six and it was a mistake. We showed enough ability and talent to take us through qualification and to the World Cup ... but you never know what the result will be in football."

South Korea has 10 points from five games, while Qatar has seven points from six matches.