Veteran Alexander Kerzhakov scored three minutes after coming on as a substitute to rescue a 1-1 draw for Russia in their World Cup Group H opener against South Korea on Tuesday.
Russia's Alexander Kerzhakov celebrates with teammate Alexander Samedov (19) after scoring his side's first goal during their World Cup group H match against South Korea at the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba. (AP Photo)
The 31-year-old, sole surviving member of Russia's last World Cup team in the 2002 finals in Asia, swivelled and struck from inside the six-yard box in the 74th minute after fellow substitute Alan Dzagoev's shot was parried by goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong.
The South Koreans had taken the lead six minutes earlier when a blunder by goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev handed substitute Lee Keun-ho a shock opening goal at the Pantanal arena.
The 2012 Asian Footballer of the Year unleashed a stinging shot from outside the box that the seasoned Akinfeev appeared to have under control but he let it slip from his grasp and over his shoulder into the net.
The match was lifted from its torpor by the goal after a chess-like first half of ebb and flow but little danger to the goalkeepers in which young South Korea striker Son Heung-min put two chances well over the bar.
In the 10th minute, Yun Suk-young hit a long high ball down the left wing and Koo Ja-cheol headed it into the middle where Son took off on a fast diagonal run into the right side of the box where he shot too high.
The 21-year-old striker had another chance in the 39th minute when he found space in the middle but his effort from the edge of the box sailed high over the bar.
Russia tried to stretch the Korean defence through Yuri Zhirkov on the left wing and Alexander Samedov on the right.
Samedov found the angle too tight in the 20th minute and shot wide but on the half hour when he was fouled 25 metres out by Ki Sung-yueng, who was booked, keeper Jung managed to beat away centre back Sergey Ignashevich's powerful free kick.
90+4 - That will be FULL TIME. Match ends 1-1.
90 + 1 - Koo picks up a YELLOW CARD.
83' - SUBSTITUTION. Kim comes in for Son.
74' - GOAL! The Super Sub strikes again! Kerzhakov scores within minuts after coming on for Russia, gets score to 1-1.
71' - SUBSTITUTION. Kerzhakov comes in for Zhirkov
68' - GOAL! Lee K shoots from a distance, 'keeper fumbles to leave Russia down 1-0.
66' - Wonderful cross from Komarov, the 'keeper does well to clear it away.
60' - FOUL! Korea get a free kick near the are but a tame header is easily collected by the 'keeper.
59' - SUBSTITUTION! Dzagoev comes in for Shatov.
56' - SUBSTITUTION! Lee Keun-ho comes in for Park Chu-young.
50' - Igor Akinfeev did not make a clean collect but the Korean attack was too far away to capitalise on the fumble.
49' - That's the first booking for Russia. Kombarov picks up a YELLOW CARD.
47' - Russia nearly converted that corner kick, hits the side of the net instead.
HALFTIME - Scores remian tied at 0-0.
45' - One minute of stoppage time added.
33' - Zhirkov shoots into the side of the net after a good run into the Korean defence.
30' - Another South Korean picks up a YELLOW CARD. Ki Sung-yueng is the one to get booked.
13' - Son Heung-min picks up a YELLOW CARD, first booking of the match.
10' - Son Heung-min shoot too high, no threst fot the Russian 'keeper.
7' - The first corner of the game, goes to the Russians.
4' - First free kick for Russia. Goes tamely.