10-man Iran downs South Korea 1-0 in qualifier

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -Captain Javad Nekounam's late goal allowed 10-man Iran to beat South Korea 1-0 in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup on Tuesday, moving his team level on points with its opponent at the top of Group A.

Nekounam received the ball following a deflection from a free kick and slotted it into the net in the 75th minute, sending the 100,000-strong crowd into raptures.

His goal came 20 minutes after Iran midfielder Masoud Shojaei was sent off after picking up his second yellow card.

The match started promisingly for the Iranians, with Reza Ghoochannejhad hitting a low drive from the edge of the box that forced goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong into a good save in the 20th minute.

But South Korea began to take charge of the match after a dead-ball delivery from Ki Sung-yueng caused huge problems for the Iranian defense. The midfielder swung in a free kick from the left which was headed over the crossbar in the 26th by an unmarked Kim Shin-wook.

Shortly afterward, Ki delivered a free kick from the other flank that caused confusion in the defense, ending with Kim Bo-kyung's header being touched onto the crossbar by goalkeeper Mehdi Rahmati in the 29th.

After taking the lead, the Iranians weathered a flurry of shots from the South Koreans. The Koreans' best chance for an equalizer fell to Yun Suk-young, who curled the ball from outside the area just over the crossbar with five minutes remaining.

South Korea and Iran each have seven points in Group A, though the Koreans are ahead on goal difference. Uzbekistan is next with five points, followed by Qatar and Lebanon with four.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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