The UAE's World Cup campaign received a boost even before they kicked off against Saudi Arabia last night with North and South Korea drawing in Shanghai. North Korea had shocked the UAE with a 2-1 win in Abu Dhabi on Saturday in their Group Two opener, while Iran and Saudi Arabia shared a 1-1 draw in the other match in the section. So seeing the two Koreas take points off of each other was a bonus for the UAE.
The teenage midfielder Ki Sung-yung salvaged a point for South Korea in a dour game, the fourth draw between the teams in four 2008 meetings. Ki volleyed an equaliser after 68 minutes, four minutes after Hong Yong Jo had given North Korea the lead with a penalty. It was a tight game on a neutral ground, although South Korea, missing Manchester United star, Park Ji-sung, were on top for most of the 90 minutes.
Hong scored from the spot after South Korea captain Kim Nam-il fouled him, but the South Koreans responded quickly to secure a point via Ki's volley from the edge of the penalty area. North Korea now have four points from two matches and lead the Asian qualifying group while South Korea have two points from their opening two games. The last 10 Asian teams have been divided into two qualifying groups with four automatic spots at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa on the line. Fifa, football's governing body, moved the match from the North Korean capital Pyongyang to Shanghai after North Korea refused to play the anthem and fly the flag of their southern neighbours.