DOHA: Son Heung-min’s South Korea avoided an Asian Cup upset by the skin of their teeth on Saturday (Jan 20) after an injury-time own goal gave them a 2-2 draw with Jordan.
One day after Iraq beat tournament favourites Japan, Jordan looked to be heading for a famous win in Doha after a Park Yong-woo own goal and a Yazan Al-Naimat strike in the first half cancelled out Son’s ninth-minute penalty.
But Yazan Al-Arab deflected the ball into his own net in the first minute of injury time at the end of the game to let Jurgen Klinsmann’s Koreans escape with a point in Group E.
A win for either team would have sent them through to the knockout rounds with a game to spare.
Klinsmann’s side beat Bahrain 3-1 in their opening match and face Malaysia in their final group game on Thursday. Qualification for the last 16 is still within their grasp.
As it is for Jordan, who beat Malaysia 4-0 and face Bahrain on the same day.
Klinsmann was forced into one change from the opening game, bringing in goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo for Kim Seung-gyu.
Kim suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a training session and has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament.
The Koreans also had five players on yellow cards from their game against Bahrain.
Son settled their nerves with the opening goal after they were awarded a penalty following a VAR check.
Ehsan Haddad was adjudged to have brought down Son and the Korean captain converted the spot-kick himself with a cheeky chip.
He celebrated by holding up a goalkeeper’s shirt with Kim’s name on it.
Son went close to scoring a second midway through the first half, only for the Jordan defence to make a crucial late block.
The Koreans had enjoyed almost total dominance up until then, but Jordan started to threaten and grabbed an equaliser in the 37th minute.
South Korea failed to deal with a corner and Park bundled the ball into his own net under pressure from Arab at the back post.
Naimat then lashed Jordan into a shock lead in the sixth minute of first-half injury time, drilling a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
South Korea struggled to find a response in the second half and Cho Gue-sung was guilty of a terrible miss when he screwed a shot over the bar on the hour mark.
The Koreans did not look like scoring, until Hwang In-beom sent in a shot one minute into injury time that Arab deflected into his own goal.