(CNN) -- Two goals from Ji Dong-won ensured South Korea ended the Asian Cup in third place after they beat Uzbekistan 3-2 in Qatar.
Their victory also means they qualify automatically for the next installment of the competition, to be held in Australia in 2014.
It had looked like the result would not be in any doubt as South Korea raced into a three-goal lead inside 39 minutes but Uzbekistan hit back to ensure a nervy last half an hour.
Having been beaten by Japan on penalties in the semifinal, South Korea flew out of the traps and looked to put pressure on their opponents, who were thrashed 6-0 by Australia in the other final four clash.
It took just 17 minutes for South Korea to find the net as Koo Ja-cheol latched onto Lee Yong-rae's pass to finish emphatically past Uzbek goalkeeper Ignatiy Nesterov.
It was 2-0 ten minutes later when Ji Dong-won ended a neat passing move with a low finish into the bottom corner.
And when Ji's downward header crept past Nesterov after 39 minutes it looked like Uzbekistan were on course for another painful defeat.
But just before half time they were offered a glimmer of hope when Hwang Jae-won brought down Timur Kapadze in the penalty area.
Alexander Geynrikh successfully dispatched his first effort but it was ruled out because players from both sides had encroached into the area. The striker made no mistake with the retake.
Geynrikh then registered a superb second to put Uzbekistan right back in the game. He swiveled on a cross from the left and beat Lee Jung-soo before shooting into the net.
Ji hit the inside of the post with an effort on 61 minutes and as the game entered its final stages Uzbekistan piled on the pressure. But South Korea held firm.