Son notches first goal in German league

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Son notches first goal in German league


Hamburg’s Son Heung-min of South Korea, center, celebrates after scoring during the German first division Bundesliga football match between home side FC Cologne and Hamburg SV on Oct. 30. [AP/YONHAP]

Son Heung-min of Hamburg SV became the youngest Korean to score in the European league by notching the first goal of his professional career in only his second appearance. In his first career start against FC Cologne yesterday, the 18-year-old forward scored the go-ahead goal in the 24th minute of the match with the game tied at one goal apiece.

However, Son’s achievement was spoiled by Milivoje Novakovic’s hat-trick. FC Cologne won the game 3-2.

Son had a strong preseason, notching nine goals in nine games before breaking the metatarsal bone in his left foot during a friendly against Chelsea of the English Premier League on Aug. 4.

Son recently made his return against Eintracht Frankfurt in a DFB-Pokal Cup tournament on Oct. 28. He was substituted at the 63rd minute. Yesterday’s game against Cologne was only Son’s second game after returning from the injury. Son has had an unconventional route to the Bundesliga. The son of Son Woong-jung, former manager of Chuncheon FC, Son learned the fundamentals of the game from his father beginning at the age of 8 until he turned 16. He did not play organized football until he joined Yookminkwan Middle School’s squad in 2007.

The Korea Football Association took notice of Son’s potential and selected him in July 2008 to participate in its train-abroad program with Hamburg SV’s youth team in Germany. Son signed a two-year deal with the club in July of last year before inking a three-year extension.

The versatile player is capable of playing the forward or midfield positions and has had the benefit of receiving tutelage from Dutch forward Ruud van Nistelrooy. Son’s start against Cologne is all the more impressive considering the club has its share of talented young forwards including Paolo Guerrero of Peru, Mladen Petric of Croatia, Eljero Elia of the Netherlands and Tunay Torun of Turkey.

Son - along with Seok Hyun-joon of Ajax and Nam Tae-hee of Valenciennes FC - are considered the three most promising players to make an impact on the Korean national team in the near future.

Son started the game as the right-winger against Cologne yesterday. With the two sides trading goals early on, Novakovic scored the opening goal for Cologne before Petrovic tied the game 1-1 early on. Son managed to break the tie in the 24th minute when he received a pass from Gojko Kacar and calmly chipped the ball over the goalkeeper before tapping the ball into the net. Despite taking the lead, Hamburg gave up two additional goals to Novakovic to lose the game 3-2. Hamburg dropped to four wins, three draws and three losses.

By Jason Kim []
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