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By Yoo Jee-ho and Oh Seok-min
INCHEON, Oct. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea defeated North Korea 1-0 for the men's football gold medal in an eagerly anticipated showdown at the Asian Games on Thursday, ending a 28-year drought for the title in the regional competition.
Defensive back Rim Chang-woo scored the winner just moments from the whistle in the second extra period at Munhak Stadium, as South Korea captured its first Asiad gold in men's football since 1986.
South Korea went undefeated in three group matches and four knockout matches, scoring 13 goals and giving up none.
In a wild finish, Rim pounced on a bad clearing attempt by North Korea to save the match from going into what appeared to be an inevitable penalty shootout.
North Korean goalkeeper Ri Myong-guk was caught out of position after a South Korean corner went off a North Korean defender. Lee Yong-jae got a shot off and North Korean midfielder Ri Yong-jik deflected it to his right with his hand.
Ri's teammate So Hyon-uk then tried to kick the ball out of harm's way, only to deliver it to wide-open Rim in the point-blank range.
Rim struck the ball into the gaping net, and madness ensued both in the stands and on the South Korean bench, as players and coaches began to celebrate.
South Korea's Rim Chang-woo, far left, celebrates after scoring the winner against North Korea in men's football final at the Asian Games on Oct. 2, 2014. (Yonhap)
"I'd like to give kudos to our players for winning the country's first gold medal in 28 years," said South Korean head coach Lee Kwang-jong. "I think we played an entertaining match with North Korea."
North Korea had played Iraq to extra periods in the semifinals just two days earlier, and North Korean coach Yun Jong-su applauded his players for giving "everything" they had to the finish.
The two sides were even over the opening 45 minutes, though North Korea had more threatening opportunities. In the 17th, Ri Hyok-chol's header forced Kim Seung-gyu to make a tough save in the South Korean net.
In the 23rd, Sim Hyon-jin for North Korea faced a gaping net after a loose ball bounced off a South Korean defender and landed on his foot but struck it high over the crossbar.
Kim Young-uk missed the target for South Korea in the 21st, while Lee Jong-ho's header in the 40th was easily saved by Ri Myong-guk in net.
South Korea frequently controlled the ball in the North Korean zone without generating chances in the second half, as the North Koreans often outnumbered their opponents in the box and blocked one South Korean shot after another.
North Korea went on attack mode in the 83rd, as Pak Kwang-ryong headed one off the crossbar, the closest either team came to scoring in regulation.
Seven minutes into the first extra period, Lee Jong-ho shot high from point blank range after North Korea failed to clear a free kick.
With the North Koreans visibly tiring, the South Koreans ratcheted up pressure on offense with little to show for their efforts.
By late second half, North Korea appeared more than content to drag the match through the extra periods and into the penalties. The North would have gotten its wish had it held on for one more minute, but Rim ended the game with the perfectly-timed shot.