Saudi Arabia will need to win their final Group B match to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, after being held to a goalless draw in Korea Republic. The South Koreans, who booked their place at a seventh consecutive FIFA World Cup on Saturday, had the better of the opportunities at Seoul World Cup Stadium.
But they could not manage the breakthrough against the visitors, who played the final 11 minutes with ten men following the dismissal of Ahmed Ateef. The Saudis now require victory over Korea DPR in Riyadh next Wednesday.
The first half was largely uneventful but the visitors threatened in the 13th minute, when Nassir Al Shamrani's shot on the turn was well saved by Lee Woon-Jae. The home side went close to breaking the deadlock just before the break, as Saudi goalkeeper Waleed Ali was called into action to keep out a half-volley by Ki Sung-Yung and a low shot by Lee Keun-Ho.
Korea Republic almost took the lead ten minutes after the interval, when Kim Dong-Jin's first-time cross picked out Park Chu-Young, who headed just over.
While the hosts had the upper hand, Saudi Arabia almost opened the scoring on the hour when Mohammed Noor's pass released Al Shamrani, whose shot from just inside the area was turned over by Lee Woon-Jae.
Yasser Al Qahtani then turned Cho Yong-Hyong in box, before firing in a shot that flew just past the far post. Substitute Yang Dong-Hyun came off the bench and almost made an immediate impact in the 74th minute, when he headed a corner straight at the Saudi goalkeeper from close range.
With 11 minutes left, Ahmed Ateef chopped down Lee Keun-ho to pick up his second yellow card, but the home side failed to make the man advantage count. And they were almost caught out in the closing seconds when Saudi substitute Naif Hazazi headed just over from close range.