Mohammed Kudus scored the winner in a 68-minute after finishing off a free-flowing move, but Ghana then had to stave off a furious South Korean onslaught as they piled forward in droves for the final parts of the game.
At points during the 10 minutes of added time, Ghana seemed certain to concede, but the Stars eventually held on to the crucial win to pick up their first win at the Mundial since 2010.
South Korea, led by Tottenham Hotspur forward Heung-min Son and anchored by their five-man Kim wall at the back, started the game very brightly with a majority of possession, yielding seven corners in the first 22 minutes but creating very little out of it.
That came to bite them later as Ghana scored against the run-of-play in the 24th minute.
Jordan Ayew swung in a dangerous cross from a freekick on the left side of Ghana’s attack, leading to pandemonium in the Korean box. After bouncing around a bit, Southampton’s Mohammed Salisu made contact with the ball and swung it into an empty net.
Video Assistant Referee (VAR) checked the goal for a handball on Ayew during the chaos but it was involuntary and the goal stood.
More misery was to follow for Korea, who conceded again in the 34th minute. Jordan Ayew was the creator once again, swinging in another dangerous ball from a similar position as the first cross which needed just the tiniest of touches from Mohammed Kudus to leave South Korean goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu stranded and hand Ghana a 2-0 lead.
After holding on for the rest of the half, Ghana switched off for a space of three minutes in the second half, allowing the Koreans back into the game.
Cho Gue-sung connected with two headers in the 58th and 61st minutes to quickly tie the game and leave the Black Stars stunned.
After Korea’s equaliser, Ghana grew back into the game and eventually struck the killer blow in the 68th minute through Ajax’s Mohammed Kudus.
Left-back Gideon Mensah’s cross into the box was miskicked by Inaki Williams, but the ball fell to Kudus who made no mistake with a sweet left-foot finish.
Ghana fell deeper into a defensive shape after the goal, particularly after coach Otto Addo took off Kudus for Alexander Djiku in the 83rd minute, switching to 3-at the back.
The move nearly backfired as Ghana sunk deeper into their defensive shape, allowing Korea to have the ball and create chances at will.
10-minutes of added time was all Korea, but somehow Ghana held on for an all-important victory to jump to 3-points and set up a do-or-die final game against 2010 nemesis Uruguay.
As it stands, Ghana needs a result against the South Americans on Friday to have a chance of progressing from the group, irrespective of the result of Uruguay’s game against Portugal later today.