Stoppage-time winner sends South Korea into Round of 16

Stoppage-time winner sends South Korea into Round of 16

The 2022 FIFA World Cup continued to throw up surprises as South Korea stunned Portugal with a 2-1 victory at the Education City Stadium to reach the knockout stages for the first time since 2010. Ricardo Horta put the European side ahead just five minutes into the game, but Kim Young-gwon equalised via a set-piece before Hwang Hee-Chan added a 91st-minute winner in injury time to produce another magical upset in Qatar on Friday.

Having won their opening two games, Fernandos Santos fielded a heavily rotated side for this fixture, with the likes of Bruno Fernades, Ruben Dias, and Bernando Silva dropping to the bench. Ricardo Horta led the line for the Portuguese, and it took the Braga striker just five minutes into his World Cup debut to find the net. 

39-year-old centre-back Pepe played an inch-perfect long pass to release Diogo Dalot on the wing, and the Manchester United man’s cutback was redirected into the back of the net by Horta to make it 1-0 to Portugal.

South Korea looked to have produced an instant response in the 17th minute, but Kim Jin-su’s header was deemed to be off-side after an excellent save from Diogo Costa. However, the Asian team found a deserved equaliser before the half-hour mark after the ball invertedly bounced off Cristiano Ronaldo from a corner towards his own goal, allowing Kim Young-gwon to pounce on the rebound and level the scores with a simple tap-in.

Portugal had chances to re-take the lead, but Vitinha’s long-range effort was well-saved by Kim Seung-gyu, while Ronaldo’s follow-up header drifted wide. The game seemed to be drifting to a 1-1 draw in the closing stages to knock South Korea out, but Son-Heung Min produced a moment of magic in the dying moments to take his side into the next round. The Tottenham forward single-handedly led a Korea counter from a Portugal corner before playing a perfectly weighted pass for Hwang Hee-chan, who slotted past Diogo Costa to fire in the winner.

This result meant that despite Uruguay’s 2-0 victory over Ghana it was South Korea who qualified for the knockout stages. The two sides were on equal goal difference, but the Taeguk Warriors edged La Celeste on goals scored to make the round of 16 at a World Cup for just the third time in their history. South Korea will go on to face five-time champions Brazil in the next round of the competition, while Portugal will have to bounce back from this surprise defeat against a buoyant Switzerland side in the last 16.