Hwang scores late winner, S. Korea beat Portugal and join last 16

Sports Saturday 03/December/2022 05:34 AM
By: xinhua
Hwang scores late winner, S. Korea beat Portugal and join last 16

DOHA: Hwang Hee-chan came off the bench to score a late winner as South Korea came from behind to beat Portugal 2-1 in the final round of Group H here on Friday and entered the World Cup last 16 as the group runners-up.

In the first minute of stoppage time, Son Heung-min dribbled all the way from box to box and made a direct pass, and Hwang penetrated into the penalty area to send the ball into the far corner.

"As a South Korean, I am extremely proud and want to thank all fans in South Korea," said 26-year-old Hwang. "This is a present for them. More than anything I want to say I am very, very proud."

"Before the match Son said I would do something today: 'We trust you'," he added. "It was an excellent pass and made my job much easier."

The result at Education City Stadium means South Korea's qualification for the knockout stage for scoring more goals over third-placed Uruguay. Despite a shocking defeat, Portugal still top the group with six points.

Fernando Santos' squad went into the match having already secured a place in the knockout stage, and the 68-year-old chose to rest most of regular starters including Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva while keeping Cristiano Ronaldo in the starting lineup.

The Portugese side took an early lead in the fifth minute, when Ricardo Horta slotted in Diogo Dalot's cross from the right flank, after a precise long pass delivered by Pepe in the back.

South Korea, who must beat Portugal to have any chance of qualifying for the last 16, netted home in the 17th minute, but Cho Gue-sung's goal was disallowed due to offside.

The South Korean finally found the equalizer in the 27th minute as Son's corner kick deflected off Ronaldo's back, giving Kim Young-gwon an open opportunity to score.

In the second half, Portugal stayed in low defense for counterattack and substituted Ronaldo off the pitch, while South Korea had eight shots but few of them hit the target, before Hwang finally found the net.

After the match, Son took off his protective mask and burst into tears. "We never gave up. Our players were trying to run one more step and sacrificing themselves, and that allowed us to achieve a good result," he said.

In the post-match conference, Santos said the loss is "a warning" to Portugal. "We lost our organization and South Korea controlled the game, we lost focus. We are somewhat upset. We are first [in the group] but wanted to win to increase the morale of the players."

South Korea join Japan and Australia to become the third AFC team to secure a spot in the last 16. They will play against Group G winners next Monday, while Portugal will face the second-placed team from Group G next Tuesday.