ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Son Heung-min was just the player South Korea needed to really get its Asian Cup campaign going.
In his first game since arriving from Tottenham, Son earned a penalty and then assisted on his team’s second goal to help South Korea beat China 2-0 in Group C on Wednesday.
With both teams already qualified, South Korea dominated possession and bombarded China’s goal in a more confident performance than its dour 1-0 wins over the Philippines and Kyrgyzstan.
Son won the penalty in the 12th minute, his fleet footwork proving too much for Shi Ke to keep up with as the Chinese defender tripped him. Hwang Ui-jo took the penalty, shooting hard into the lower-left corner just past goalkeeper Yan Junling’s outstretched hand.FEATURED STORIES
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South Korea scored again in the 51st when Son’s corner was headed in by Kim Min-jae. It was the defender’s second goal in as many games.
Son is playing in his third international tournament in less than a year. After playing at the World Cup, Son missed the first part of the English season while playing for South Korea at the Asian Games. He led the team to the title, securing exemption from military service.
Son could be away for up to five of Tottenham’s matches in all competitions if South Korea reaches the Asian Cup final on Feb. 1.
Kyrgyzstan beat the Philippines 3-1 to finish third in Group C, getting a hat trick from Vitalij Lux.
Kyrgyzstan must wait for other results to find out if that’s enough for a place in the last 16.
Later Wednesday, Iran and Iraq play in Group D, while Vietnam plays Yemen.