Last Updated: Tue Nov 15, 2011 19:51 pm (KSA) 16:51 pm (GMT)

Lebanon shock South Korea to keep World Cup dream alive

Lebanon’s Bilal al-Sheikh Najjarine celebrates after his team won the 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match against South Korea in Beirut Nov. 15, 2011. (Reuters)
Lebanon’s Bilal al-Sheikh Najjarine celebrates after his team won the 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match against South Korea in Beirut Nov. 15, 2011. (Reuters)

Lowly Lebanon stunned Asian heavyweights South Korea 2-1 in Beirut on Tuesday to leave them on the brink of advancing to the fourth round of World Cup qualifying.

A 31st minute penalty by forward Abas Atwi proved the difference as the 146th FIFA-ranked side produced a resolute defensive display to hold off their more illustrious opponents.

Fans ran on to the pitch at the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium at the sound of the final whistle with some Lebanese players in tears after recording their first win over the former Asian champions.

The two sides are locked on 10 points from five matches in Group B of the third round of Asian World Cup qualifiers and both will take one of the 10 places available in the fourth round should Kuwait fail to beat United Arab Emirates in the other pool match later on Tuesday.

South Korea had beaten Lebanon 6-0 at home in September but they struggled to establish their normal high-tempo slick passing on the bumpy, hard pitch with the blustery wind also proving a factor.

Without their suspended captain and leading striker Park Chu-young, the Koreans fell behind after five minutes when Ali Al Saadi lashed home an unstoppable drive from six yards after he had blocked his team mate Roda Antar's shot.

The creative Koo Ja-cheol soon brought the Koreans level from the spot but his clumsy waist-high challenge on Mahmoud El Ali gave away the penalty that resulted in the winning goal.

Comments »

Post Your Comment »