Son sparks South Korea to win over China
An effervescent Son Heung Min inspired title-chasing South Korea to a comfortable 2-0 victory over China yesterday to finish top of their Asian Cup group.
|(Hwang Ui Jo 14-pen, Kim Min Jae 51)
Hwang Ui Jo and Kim Min Jae were on target as the South Koreans, boosted by the arrival of their talisman, ran China ragged in Abu Dhabi.
Talisman Son won the penalty converted by Hwang and fizzed in the assist for Kim to spark South Korea, who finished top of Group C with a perfect nine points as they look to end 59 years of Asian Cup hurt.
Marcello Lippi's Chinese side finished as group runners-up having likewise already sealed their place in the last 16 by winning their first two matches.
South Korea will meet a third-placed team in the Round of 16, while China will face Thailand, who finished second in Group A.
Son surprisingly started - and completed 87 minutes - despite a punishing run of 13 games for Tottenham since the start of December.
The mercurial Spurs forward, who played in the London club's 1-0 defeat by Manchester United three days ago, showed quick feet to tempt China defender Shi Ke into a rash challenge 12 minutes.
The Taeguk Warriors, joint-favourites with Iran, doubled their lead six minutes after the break when Son's corner was met by Kim's thumping header.
Elsewhere in Group C, a Vitalij Lux hat-trick sent Sven-Goran Eriksson's Philippines crashing out and gave Kyrgyzstan hope of progressing as one of the best third-placed teams after a 3-1 victory.
German-based Lux struck once in the first half and twice in the second in Dubai before the Philippines grabbed a consolation goal through Stephan Schrock with 10 minutes left. - AFP