ASHGABAT, June 14 (World Cup Qualifying) - A hat-trick from Kim Do-heon sunk Turkmenistan as Korea Republic returned to the top of Group Three in the Asian World Cup qualifiers on Saturday.
Kim opened his account in the 14th minute and, after Guvanch Ovekov scored a penalty for the hosts, he struck twice in the final five minutes, the second also a penalty, to give Korea Republic all three points.
Korea Republic did not appear to miss rested midfielder Park Ji-sung as they took control of the early stages.
A superb strike from Kim gave them the lead as he made full use of an advantage played by referee Hiroyoshi Takayama to smash the ball home from the edge of the area.
Oh Beom-seok and Park Chu-young then fired over the crossbar as the visitors sought a second.
Turkmenistan were struggling to keep up and had to wait until the 39th minute for their first decent chance, coming when Mamedaly Karadanov attempted an ambitious bicycle kick from Vyacheslav Krendelev free-kick, but sent the ball over the crossbar.
The Turkmen fared better in the early part of the second half and had another chance to equalise on the hour mark, but Karadanov headed over from Ovekov's free-kick.
They would eventual draw level from the penalty spot in the 81st minute when Ovekov was felled in the area by Korean goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong before dusting himself off to fire into the corner of the goal.
The Koreans were soon back in front though as Kim Chi-woo picked out Kim Do-heon who made no mistake with the finished.
Kim Chi-woo was involved again in injury time as he was brought down in the area by Berdiyev, allowing Kim Do-heon to step up and seal his hat-trick with the penalty.
Korea Republic now have 11 points from five games, and move above DPR Korea on goal difference. Both countries have already secured their place in the next round.