Park goal rescues draw for South Korea

TEHRAN - Park Ji-Sung scored with nine minutes remaining to earn South Korea a 1-1 draw with Iran and ensure they stay top of Group Two in 2010 World Cup qualifying.

The Koreans, chasing a spot at their seventh-successive finals, went down on the hour mark to a Javad Nekounam goal before the talismanic Manchester United midfielder pulled the visitors back into the match with an 81st-minute header.

The draw pushed Iran down to third, with North Korea moving second, a point behind South Korea, after their 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia.

Iran had the best of the early action, with Masoud Shojaei and Nekounam going close inside the first seven minutes.

South Korea had their first chance after 35 minutes when Yeom Ki-hun's free kick was saved by Sayed Rahmati. He was denied again close to the break when his free kick was blocked by the keeper.

Nekounam put Iran ahead in the 59th minute with a powerful free kick from the edge of the area but that advantage was almost lost moments later when Lee Keun-ho's header struck the bar.

The Koreans piled on the pressure and finally got their leveller when Park netted after Yeom's free kick was parried by Rahmati.