Korea 2:0 China - Son’s return sees Taeguk Warriors confidently cruise into Round of 16

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Korea 2:0 China - Son’s return sees Taeguk Warriors confidently cruise into Round of 16

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Son Heung-min,right, celebrates with Hwang In-beom, left, and Kim Min-jae after Kim scored a header during Korea's Group C match against China at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup at Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. [YONHAP]

The Korean national football team topped Group C at the 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup by defeating China 2-0 on
Wednesday.

Although he didn’t score either of the goals, the return of captain Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur once again proved crucial for the team’s victory.

Korea looked dominant from the start, and just 14 minutes into the game a foul on Son in the box gave the Taeguk Warriors a penalty. Hwang Ui-jo of Gamba Osaka has no problem taking the shot, and Korea pulled ahead 1-0.

Korea held a slim lead for the rest of the first half until Kim Min-jae of the Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors gave the team some breathing room with a well placed header in the 51st, assisted by Son.

"I'm a bit tired," Son said after the game. "But it's an honour to wear this red shirt and play for the national team. My first game of the tournament, a clean sheet, 2-0 - it's a happy afternoon."

With a win, Korea finished its Group C action with three wins, totaling nine points. Victory in the group has given the team a far easier path through the knockout stage. China, on the other hand, face a much harder route through the knockout stages and will likely now have to face the formidable Iranian team in the quarterfinals.

The team will now be able to recover for five days before playing in the Round of 16 on Tuesday.

BY KANG YOO-RIM [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]

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