Russia’s top marksman Aleksandr Kerzhakov rescued Russia in their first World Cup finals match since 2002 scoring two minutes after coming on as a substitute to salvage a 1-1 draw against South Korea in Group H. Belgium beat Algeria earlier to go on top of the group, so both sides knew they had to edge out a win to join them, but that wasn’t the case.
The first half saw both sides battle it out as the game was mostly end-to-end stuff. Korea Republic impressed going forward but failed to really test Igor Akinfeev who was guarding Russia’s goal. Fabio Capello’s men rarely tested Korea’s keeper Jung Sung-Ryong either but had more clear-cut chances and were wasteful in their finishing as they had Aleksandr Kokorin playing instead of Kerzhakov.
The second-half saw better football being played and Korea managed to go ahead through a Lee Keun-Ho long-ranger almost 30 metres out which Akinfeev disastrously parried over his head into the net. Kerzhakov was brought on in the 72nd minute and only two minutes later scored the equalizer to save Capello the blushes.