INCHEON, South Korea (AFP) - Hosts South Korea beat North Korea 1-0 with virtually the last kick of extra time to win a cliff-hanging Asian Games men’s football final on Thursday.
Defender Rim Chang Woo smashed home a last-gasp winner from close range to deliver the knockout blow in an emotionally charged final, giving South Korea their fourth title and a first since 1986.
When the final whistle blew just moments later the crowd of 47,000 rain-soaked fans erupted with joy, while both sets of players slumped to the wet turf sobbing, having battled each other to a standstill.
As a reward for their dramatic and symbolic victory in Incheon, South Korea’s players will be excused two years of mandatory military service.
The home side were fortunate to survive a major scare in normal time when Pak Kwang Ryong thundered a header against the bar after 75 minutes for the North, who dished out some rough stuff throughout a game played 195km from the world’s most fortified border.
South Korea largely dominated but missed many chances. The scrappy winning goal came from a corner, which Lee Yong Jae nudged goal-wards and appeared to have crossed the line before Rim made sure with a fierce volley after it dropped to him.
North Korea coach Yun Jong Su remonstrated furiously with the officials as his players wept uncontrollably and the South celebrated wildly.
The countries remain technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.