Kwon Chang-hoon was the star performer as South Korea kept up their 100 per cent record in World Cup 2018 qualifying with a 3-0 win over Lebanon.
Korea, without Thursday’s hat-trick hero Son Heung-min, overcame a difficult start to the match to take control through Jang Hyun-soo’s penalty and Koo Ja-cheol’s deflected close-range effort.
And Kwon completed his star turn with a clever finish in the second half to send Uli Stielike’s side back to the top of AFC qualifying Group G by making it three wins from three.
In a scrappy opening 10 minutes on a bumpy surface, captain Ki Sung-yueng was the first to test Abbas Hassan in the Lebanon goal with a low drive from 18 yards out, but it was comfortably held.
Jang had a tame appeal for a penalty waved away after he ran into Hassan Maatouk to the right of the six-yard box as Korean frustration mounted, but the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot a minute later.
Suk Hyun-jun, latching onto Ki’s pass, was bundled over by Youssef Mohamad, allowing Jang to steer home his spot-kick off the post.
Korea promptly doubled their lead after 25 minutes. A powerful burst from midfield from Kwon Chang-hoon saw him slip the ball through to Koo, who went to poke it beyond Hassan, only for the covering Joan Oumari to steer it past his own goalkeeper into the far corner.
Mohamad Haidar wasted Lebanon’s first real chance of the match as he blazed over from the edge of the area before he brought a smart punch out of Kim Seung-gyu from a free-kick after being scythed down by Koo.
Kwon almost made it three shortly before the break as his 30-yard drive was fumbled by Hassan, who recovered in time to grasp the ball before Suk could pounce.
But the impressive Suwon Bluewings midfielder finally got on the scoresheet just past the hour mark, turning sharply on the edge of the area before firing low right-footed past Hassan’s reach.
The third goal appeared to kill off Lebanon’s lingering resistance as Korea began to dictate possession with minimal fuss, and Kwon came close to a fourth as he curled a shot narrowly wide of the target.
Jung sent another effort from distance bouncing just past the post before some stout defending from Jang denied Maatouk a route to goal, and he then almost turned provider for Haidar, who was denied by Kim Seung-gyu at full stretch.
Another clever run from Maatouk almost paid off in the dying minutes as his shot clipped the heel of Youssef Mohamad, but the ball bounced kindly for Kim Seung-gyu to collect.
Ultimately, it proved a comfortable enough outing for Korea, who avenged their defeat in 2014 qualifying and moved back to the top of their group, one goal ahead of Kuwait.
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