SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea got their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign back on track with a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Qatar on Thursday as Son Heung Min maintained his red-hot club form by grabbing a winner in Suwon.
After being held to a surprise 0-0 draw with Syria in their last Group A game, the Koreans were determined to get on the board quickly and got off to a great start when Ki Sung Yueng fired home from outside the box with 11 minutes gone.
That lead lasted just five minutes however, as Korean defender Hong Jeong Ho impeded Andres Quintana in the box and Hasan Al Haydos equalised from the penalty spot.
Qatar stunned the home crowd by taking the lead on the stroke of half-time.
Quintana harried Hong out of possession on the right and after his first attempt at goal was blocked, Qatar worked the ball back to him and he flicked it over Korean goalkeeper Kim Seung Gyu.
Korea coach Uli Stielike brought on Kim Shin Wook and the towering hitman made an instant impact, nodding Hong Chul's cross back across goal and Ji Dong Won swooped to make it 2-2 in the 56th minute.
Two minutes later, Korean skipper Ki released Son into the box with a clever pass. The forward, who scored five goals in six games for Tottenham Hotspur this season, curled home into the far corner of the net.
Hong, who had been booked for hauling down Quintana for the penalty, picked up a second yellow card in the 66th minute for fouling the same player. But Qatar could not find an equaliser.
Korea, top of the group on seven points from three games, travel to Tehran for their next fixture on Oct 11. Iran are playing Uzbekistan later on Thursday.
In the day's other group game, Syria stunned hosts China 1-0.
Over in Saitama, Japan's Hotaru Yamaguchi scored five minutes into stoppage time to give his side a 2-1 win over Iraq in their 2018 World Cup qualifying.
Japan made a disappointing start to the final stage of Asian qualifying with a 2-1 home loss to the United Arab Emirates last month but victories over Thailand and the Iraqis have lifted them into second spot in Group B.
Group leaders Australia face third-placed Saudi Arabia in Jeddah later on Thursday.
The top two sides in Group A and B qualify for the World Cup in Russia while the third-placed teams meet to decide who goes into a Concacaf-Asian Zone play-off for a place at the finals.