Hwang Ui-jo scored a brace as South Korea walloped Turkmenistan 5-0 on Saturday to regain first place in Group H in the second phase of Asian World Cup qualifying.
It was South Korea’s third win in four matches, the only blip being a goalless draw against Lebanon in November 2019 before COVID-19 played havoc with the competition.
The Lebanese had taken first place by beating Sri Lanka 3-2 in the first part of a double-header in Goyang, South Korea.
Victory in the second match allowed the hosts to retake top spot with a far superior goal difference.
The Turkmens spent the game chasing shadows as they crashed to their third defeat in five group matches to stay third, four points behind the top two.
Paulo Bento’s South Korea took the lead when Hwang headed home from a long cross from Hong Chul in the 10th minute.
The floodgates didn’t open immediately, as Turkmenistan kept South Korea at bay for more than 35 minutes with goalkeeper Rasul Charyyev playing a key role.
In first-half stoppage time, however, Charyyev could only parry an effort from Kwon Chang-hoon into the path of the Qatar-based Nam Tae-hee who tapped in.
When Kim Young-gwon found the net in the 57th minute from a corner by Son Heung-min which was headed down by Jung Woo-young, the outcome was more or less sealed.
Kwon Chang-hoon increased the tally in the 63rd minute and Hwang added his second in the 73rd to complete an impressive display for the Taegug Warriors.
Earlier, Lebanon bounced back from a goal down to beat spirited Sri Lanka with Joan Oumari finding the net twice.