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The Taeguk Warriors appeared to be heading out as they looked set to draw while Uruguay led Ghana elsewhere, but Hwang netted at the end to complete an incredible turnaround.
Ricardo Horta had put Portugal in front early on, but it failed to heed the warning posed by Kim Jin-su's disallowed goal soon after, with Kim Young-gwon deservedly getting South Korea back on level terms.
Portugal – which topped the group – coasted through the second half and Korea Republic took full advantage, with Hwang landing the decisive blow to spark bedlam and send Uruguay packing.