South Korea was held to a 1-1 draw by El Salvador after conceding a late equaliser on home turf on Tuesday.
Substitute Hwang Ui-jo scored in the 49th minute to put the host ahead at Daejeon World Cup Stadium but Alex Roldan levelled the score with a diving header in the 87th minute to give the visitors a hard-fought draw.
The teams were goalless at halftime despite South Korea’s substantial edge in possession.
The hosts dictated the match from early on, with midfielder Lee Jae-sung firing a shot from close range in the fifth minute and Cho Gue-sung trying to head home a cross from Kim Jin-su four minutes later.
Cho then took a right-footed shot that sailed over the target in the 13th minute.
El Salvador had its first chance in the 18th minute when Narciso Orellana stole the ball near the top of the South Korean box and shot it high and right.
South Korea ratcheted up the pressure, with RCD Mallorca’s Lee Kang-in peppering shots off both feet in the 20th and 28th minutes.
Christian Martinez tried to respond for El Salvador but his attempt from the right wing hit the leg of defender Kim Jin-su and bounced out of play.
Hwang In-beom’s stoppage-time shot was turned aside by a diving Tomas Romero.
Hwang Ui-jo had broken through soon after the restart when he span around in front of Bryan Tamacas in the box and sent a shot through the defender’s legs and into the net.
South Korea kept pushing for the next goal and Lee Kang-in’s corner found Cho’s head, but the forward pushed his attempt over the target.
Hwang Hee-chan’s 69th-minute header also floated over the bar and landed on the top of the netting.
South Korean talisman Son Heung-min came on for Hwang Hee-chan in the 70th minute after sitting out Friday’s 1-0 loss to Peru while recovering from hernia surgery.
Son failed to add to South Korea’s lead and Roldan made South Korea pay for wasting their scoring chances by heading home a Jairo Henriquez free kick in the 87th minute.
“Where I think we did a good job was compressing the middle a lot, especially in the second half,” El Salvador coach Hugo Perez said.
“Today, the difference was our mentality, how we came to play, how we bounced back after Korea scored the goal. We did not come down psychologically. The effort from everyone was excellent.”
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