Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-Min and his South Korea teammates headed into today’s Asian Games quarterfinal match against Uzbekistan knowing that this was probably the most formidable opponent they may face before the finals. The Uzbeks certainly proved their ability, coming back from a 2-1 deficit in the second half to force extra time. However, FC Salzburg striker Hwang Hee-Chan coolly slotted home a penalty in the second half of extra time to give Korea a dramatic 4-3 win and propelling them to the semifinals of the competition.
Spurs forward Son didn’t score in the match, but he did start and went the distance, playing 120 minutes for the Taeguk Warriors and notching two assists, both to Hwang Ui-jo. He also went close a couple of times, but wasn’t able to find the back of the net.
Instead, it was Hwang Ui-jo who scored a hat trick in this match, and now has eight goals in the competition, more than any other player. Here’s the match-tying goal in the second half that sent the game to overtime, complete with Korean commentary:
Uzbek midfielder (and Uzbek goal scorer) Jaloliddin Masharipov was sent off deep into the extra time, and not too long after that, Hwang Ui-jo was hauled down in the box for Korea, with the match official instantly pointing to the spot.
Most would’ve expected Sonny to take the penalty kick but instead it was Hwang Hee-Chan who easily slotted home the match winner, ripping off his jersey and shushing the crowd as he celebrated with his Korean teammates.
The win was something of a redemption for Korea, as Uzbekistan is a very good U23 team and beat the Taeguk Warriors 4-1 en route to winning the U23 AFC Championship back in January.
Korea moves on to face the winner of Syria and Vietnam, another intriguing match. Like Uzbekistan, Vietnam heads into their quarterfinal undefeated and un-scored-upon. If they get through Syria, it’s looking like Korea may have the toughest road to Asian Games gold (and Sonny military exemption) of any team in the competition.
The semifinals will take place on Wednesday.