Last-gasp goal sends South Korea into last 16

Hwang ran onto Son Heung-min’s pass in the 91st minute to round off a rapid break and start wild celebrations from his side’s fans in the stands.
South Korea’s players celebrate after qualifying for knockout stages
South Korea’s players celebrate after qualifying for knockout stages

DOHA: Hwang Hee-chan gave South Korea a sensational injury-time victory over Portugal that meant it beat Uruguay to a last-16 place on goals scored.

Hwang ran onto Son Heung-min’s pass in the 91st minute to round off a rapid break and start wild celebrations from his side’s fans in the stands.

South Korea had needed to win to stand any chance of joining Portugal in the knockout stage, but even following the final whistle, its progress was not secured.

On the pitch and in the stands, players and supporters watched the final moments of Uruguay’s game with Ghana, knowing another goal for the South American side would send it out.

When that 2-0 win was confirmed, a huge roar went around Education City Stadium, and South Korea was able to start the party for real.

Any hope of a happy ending for South Korea had seemed unlikely when it fell behind after only five minutes, with Portugal scoring with its first meaningful attack.

Diogo Dalot surged into the box from the right and from his cutback, Ricardo Horta was in the right place to sweep a first-time shot past Kim Seung-gyu and mark his World Cup debut with a goal.

That made South Korea’s task even harder but falling behind failed to silence its thousands of noisy fans and the team soon responded.

Paulo Bento’s side thought it had replied instantly when Kim Jin-su turned home the rebound after Diogo Costa saved Cho Gue-sung’s flicked header, but the celebrations were cut short by a flag for offside.

An equaliser was not long in coming, however, and it followed another cross. This time a corner wasn’t cleared and the ball hit Cristiano Ronaldo’s back and rolled into the path of Kim Young-gwon, who could hardly miss from close range.

With Uruguay winning against Ghana, South Korea’s route out of Group H was open again, but the goals it needed did not look like materialising.

Portugal, now safe as group winner, looked more likely to score, with Vitinha and Horta going close.

Tottenham star Son, so often his nation’s hero, seemed to be trying to do too much himself and although he got plenty of power behind two long-range efforts, both were blocked.

At the start of stoppage time, it seemed South Korea was heading out, but it mounted one last attack after clearing a corner and this time Son played the pass instead of shooting himself.

He slipped Wolves forward Hwang clear to run into the area and deliver a cool finish to give this eventful World Cup group stage yet another twist.

Result: South Korea 2 (Kim Young-Gwon 27, Hwang Hee-Chan 90+1) bt Portugal 1 (Horta 5)

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