The West Asians were resolute in defence for most of the match against a Korea side lacking penetration before some late heroics decided the encounterSouth Korea took a step towards progressing to the fourth round of World Cup qualifying in Asia after two late goals clinched a hard-fought 2-0 win over struggling UAE in Dubai on Friday.
The Koreans, who came into the match topping Group B with seven points from three games, failed to penetrate the UAE defence for most of the contest before substitute Lee Keun-Ho broke the deadlock with two minutes to play.
The goal was a major blow for the UAE, who came into the game without a point and had shown commitment for the cause throughout. Soon after, Park Chu-Young doubled Korea's advantage, scoring his eighth goal in five internationals to seal their opponents' fate, with elimination all but assured.
Korea were without Celtic midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng following illness, meaning defender Hong Jeong-Ho deputised in the centre of the park, but the game started slowly with no clear-cut opportunities in the opening half hour.
The visitors had the first decent chance on 35 minutes when UAE keeper Majed Nasser failed to claim Cha Du-Ri's cross, allowing Ji Dong-Win to tee up Hong Chul from the edge of the box, but his shot was wild and wide.
However, that was the only chance of note in the first half with Korea boss Cho Kwang-Rae substituting the underwhelming Ji for Hamburg's Son Heung-Min at the break.
Straight after the interval, Park Chu-Young had an angled shot headed away when goalbound, while the lively Ismaeel Al Hammadi fired a snapshot high and wide as the game began to open up.
Ismael Matar fired into the side netting on 67 minutes before Korea responded with substitute Lee Seung-Ki heading back for Koo Ja-Cheol who narrowly missed.
The Taeguk Warriors continued to dictate the game although Abdullah Mousa missed a great chance for the hosts on 75 minutes when he headed over from close range.
Moments later Park Chu-Young set up Lee Keun-Ho for Korea's best chance to date, but he was denied by Nasser.
Eventually the goal came, when Lee Seung-Ki picked out Lee Yong-Rae on the left side of the box and his cutback found Lee Keun-Ho who tapped home from close range.
The strike broke UAE's resistance, with Koo Ja-Cheol seeing a long-range effort brush the post before Park Chu-Young added the second.
The Arsenal striker cleverly slid in to divert home Son Heung-Min's weak effort in the third minute of stoppage time to complete the victory.