Hwang Hee-chan celebrates after scoring | AP
Doha: South Korea scored in the stoppage time to beat Portugal 2-1 and qualify for the World Cup round of 16 at the Education City Stadium on Friday. Hwang Hee-chan's goal in stoppage time was enough to put the Koreans through to the knockout phase on goals scored, even though Uruguay beat Ghana 2-0 in the other match in Group H.
The Wolverhampton Wanderers' forward slipped in the winner in the 91st minute at Education City Stadium in Qatar to spark delirium and tears among the Korean fans. Talisman Son Heung-min, who set up the winner, collapsed to the floor and lay on his back on the turf at the final whistle. He had tears in his eyes.
The Korean players then stood in a huddle on the pitch watching the Ghana v Uruguay match on a mobile phone as they awaited their place in the last 16 to be confirmed.
It was Portugal who went ahead in the 6th minute after Ricardo Horta fired home a fine volley from close range. However, South Korea equalised through Kim Young-Gwon from a corner in the 27th minute. In the 90th minute, Substitute Hwang Hee-chan found the winner for Korea from a brilliant counterattack.
Elsewhere, Giorgian de Arrascaeta struck twice in the first half for Uruguay in their must-win match against Ghana at Al Wakrah. Both were assisted by Luis Suarez. Giorgian de Arrascaeta scored the opener in the 26th minute, followed by a second one in the 32nd minute.
Portugal started their final group stage campaign superbly after finding an opening goal within 7 minutes. Ricardo Horta picked up a cutback from Dalot near the byline and comfortably volleyed home the opener. Portugal looked to be a better side early on as South Korea struggled to bring their star player Son Heung-Min into the game. In the 15th minute, Portugal nearly scored their second goal from a dangerous cross from the left flank from Cancelo to the middle, but the effort was parried away by Kim Seung-Gyu.
However, South Korea equalised in the 27th minute through a corner by Kim Young-Gwon. Minutes later Korean keeper Kim Seung-Gyu was called into action again as he rushed out and made a brilliant save to deny Ronaldo. In the 34th minute, the Korean goalkeeper denied Diogo Dalot's ambitious shot from a distance. Portugal missed another opportunity to take the lead after Kim Seung-Gyu made a diving save to deny Vitinha in the 42nd minute and Ronaldo's header from the rebound went wide of the goal.
Korea started the second half with a plan to defeat Portugal and earn a spot in the round of 16. However, it was Portugal who looked more likely to score with the majority of possession in the early stages of the second half. In the 63rd minute, star defender Kim Min-Jae went down injured and get replaced by Kwon Kyung-won. Korea nearly booked their ticket to the knock-out stage after Son's powerful shot from outside the box gets a deflection and went straight to the keeper Diogo Costa. However, the Portuguese keeper denied Son his first goal of the World Cup. In the 70th minute, the referee refused to entertain Korea's call for a penalty from a handball from Cancelo. In the 91st minute, Korea found the decisive goal after Son broke free for a counterattack and passed the ball perfectly for Hee-chan to seal the match in favour of Korea.
Ronaldo, who scored against Ghana in Portugal's opening game to become the only player to have netted in five World Cups, had missed training
Portugal needs just a point against South Korea to clinch the top spot, while the Asian side has to win and hope for the result in Ghana's clash
with Uruguay going their way too.