Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min scored an 89th-minute winner to give South Korea a nervy 2-1 home win over Syria in World Cup qualifying on Thursday.
The talisman forward saved the Koreans from what would have been a deeply disappointing draw and means they top Asian qualifying Group A after two wins and a draw in three matches.
The match in Ansan, south of Seoul, was held without spectators because of coronavirus restrictions.
The home team dominated the first half but the two sides went to the break goalless after Syria goalkeeper Ibrahim Alma made several smart stops.
The tide shifted in favour of the home team in the 48th minute when Hwang In-beom shot with his left foot from outside the box, sending the ball into the opposite corner to open the scoring.
It looked as though the match would end in a 1-0 win for Son and his side, but then Syria’s Omar Khrbin scored an equaliser in the 84th minute to stun South Korea.
Premier League star Son stepped forward when his side needed him most, striking the winner from close range.
“I knew it was the last chance,” Son, 29, said after the game.
Also in Group A later Thursday, Iran will be looking to leap-frog South Korea back to the top when they face the United Arab Emirates.
Lebanon play Iraq in the other group match, while the six teams in Asian qualifying Group B are also in action.
The top two teams from each group are guaranteed a spot at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
South Korea play Iran on Tuesday in what is shaping up to be a blockbuster.