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Asian Cup 2019: It’s an honour to wear Korean red, want to give my best on the pitch: Son Heung-Min

Naveen
ANALYST
Feature
436   //    18 Jan 2019, 15:05 IST

South Korea's Son-Heung Min (red) in action during his side's 2-0 win over China at the AFC Asian Cup. (AFC Media)
South Korea's Son-Heung Min (red) in action during his side's 2-0 win over China at the AFC Asian Cup. (AFC Media)

He’s undoubtedly the biggest attraction at the AFC Asian Cup 2019. SO much cos that, AFC’s official social media handles even went on to produce a welcome video when South Korea’s Son Heung Min arrived a few days back to join his side in Abu Dhabi.

The Tottenham Hotspurs attacker has been one of the stars that many have come to watch here. Ahead of their final group game against China, the Al Nahyan stadium surprisingly saw a number of fans decked in the white of Spurs’ flocking the stadium. While the match was between two heavyweight sides in Asia, for many it didn’t as seeing their club hero in action was an opportunity not worth missing. “He’s our boy, I could not have missed this for anything else,” said Lawrence, a taxi driver from Ugandan who took time off from his shift to watch ‘Sonny’ in action.

Lawrence and many others like him weren’t left disappointed as Son led the Korean charge as they recorded a convincing 2-0 win over China to top Group C. Son was heavily involved in the game as it was extracted a foul inside the Chinese penalty area, Hwang Ui-jo converting the resulting penalty, and then returned with his set-piece specialty to whip in a perfect corner that was deposited into the back of the net by Kim Min-jae in the second half. “I think we deserved to win the game as we dominated from the start till the end. I have just started to enjoy this tournament as it was my first game. To get three points with clean sheet 2-0, it’s a good performance,” said Son who will be eager to take his side deep into the competition.

“We have a good break of five days before the next game so it will be a much-needed rest for me before the round of 16. We are not thinking about the title as of now. In football, there is always an element of surprise and hence we need to focus game by game. We are very much looking forward to playing the next round.”

So, who flew in right after an exhausting tie against Manchester United in the Premier, showed no signs slowing down as he tested and probed the Chinese defence with his pacy runs and defence-splitting passes time and again. “It’s been tiring but it’s always been my dream to play football,” admitted Son. “It’s an honour to wear this red shirt and I want to give my best whenever I’m on the pitch and that’s what I tried to do today.”

His performance against China also helped dismiss rumours of whether the Korean talisman will be fit and committed to the national team’s cause here in UAE. “I love to play for Korea and also love to play for Tottenham. Both are special for me but now that I’m here, I want to serve the team the best way possible in this tournament,” he added.

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