Lee Jeong-hyeop's first-half goal gave South Korea a 1-0 win over hosts Australia in Brisbane on Saturday and top spot in Group A heading into the 2015 AFC Asian Cup quarterfinals.
Both teams went into the game with six points and two-time champions South Korea continued a sequence with their third straight 1-0 win. The Australians created opportunities but were held scoreless for the first time in the tournament after posting eight goals and conceding one in their two opening games.
Lee scored in the 33rd minute after a slide rule pass from Korean captain Ki Sung-Yeung, the Swansea City midfielder.
Veteran forward Tim Cahill started the match on the bench while Socceroos' captain Mile Jedinak, who suffered an ankle injury in the opening game against Kuwait on Jan. 9, wasn't risked.
Bayer Leverkusen winger Robbie Kruse had a golden chance to equalise for Australia with two minutes remaining but goalkeeper Kim Jin-hyeon made a brilliant, point-blank save.
The result means Australia will play their quarterfinal against Group B leaders China in Brisbane on Thursday, while South Korea will meet the winners of Sunday's Group B match between 2011 semifinalists Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia on the same day, in Melbourne.