Kim Chi Woo scored in the final minutes of injury time to earn a 1-1 draw for overwhelming favourites Korea Republic. His goal denies Lebanon a famous win in Beirut in their 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ Asian zone Group A qualifier on Tuesday.
Hassan Maatouk had put Lebanon ahead in the 12th minute, and it looked like after missing a host of chances the Koreans would return home pointless. Woo saved the White Tigers' blushes with a well-delivered freekick in the seventh minute of time added on. The draw helped Korea Republic go top of group A with 11 points from six matches, the same as Uzbekistan, but ahead with a better goal difference.
Iran are on their heels after they beat Qatar 1-0 on Tuesday taking them just one point behind with two matches to play. With just the top two teams qualifying from the group, and the third advancing to a playoff, Lebanon have no chance of travelling to Brazil as they have just five points from seven matches.
Goalkeeper Abbas Hassan was the star for Lebanon as he saved one Korean attempt after another. Kim got past him with his free kick just outside the box. But even that was possible only after a slight deflection off the Lebanese wall left Hassan out of position.
Having won five of their previous seven matches against Lebanon, Korea were expected to win. But once Maatouk put the home side ahead when he latched on to a Mohamad Haidar cross and slammed the ball past Jung Sungryong in a crowded Korean box, it was an uphill battle for the visitors.
Hassan made two stunning saves in the space of three minutes in the 32nd and 34th minutes when he dived to his right to stop a perfect downward header from Lee Chung Yong, and then leapt high to tip over Kim's curling free kick.
Korea's best chance in the first half was in time added on of the first half when Lee Dong Gook found himself right in front of goal. However, the prolific Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC striker smashed it over the bar following a superb cross from Kim Bokyung.
The game continued in the same fashion following the break. Hassan's outstretched leg denied substitute Kim Shinwook in the 55th minute, and four minutes later the same player headed a well-measured pass from Kim Chi Woo over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Abbas then had to show his magic repeatedly as the Koreans made one move after the other. A last gasp, deflected freekick would eventually evade the keeper and officially send Lebanon out of contention for the tournament next summer.