The Asian Cup and African Cup of Nations kicked off this past weekend. That’s of interest to Tottenham Hotspur fans because Spurs have three players away on international duty with their respective countries — Son Heung-Min (South Korea) at the Asian Cup, and Pape Sarr (Senegal) and Yves Bissouma (Mali) at AFCON. Two of those three — Son and Sarr — had their countries play today.
Sonny is the captain of Korea so obviously he was going to start in the Taeguk Warriors’ first group stage match of the Asian Cup against Bahrain. He went the full 90 minutes in Korea’s 3-1 group stage win over Bahrain, played through several hard fouls (including one to the face), nearly scored, and was booked for diving in Bahrain’s box late in the match. Korea got a brace from PSG striker Lee Kang-in and one from Hwang In-beom en route to the victory. Even better, Sonny ended the match uninjured. Highlights of the match are embedded in the header above.
There was similarly good news for Pape Sarr — his Senegal team ran out to a dominant 3-0 win over Gambia today, with two goals from Lamine Camara and one from Pape Gueye. Sarr, however, was named to the bench and didn’t play. Senegal appear to be somewhat stacked with talent, meaning Sarr might only get limited minutes in this tournament. As Tottenham fans that’s probably a good thing on balance (less minutes means less opportunity to get injured and fewer miles on the legs) but Senegal’s expected to go deep into the tournament so it’ll likely still be a while before we see him return to North London.
Yves Bissouma and Mali open their AFCON account with a tough match against South Africa tomorrow, with kick-off at 3 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. GMT. Korea’s next match is this coming Saturday against Jordan.