Son scores twice as South Korea outclass China in World Cup qualifier
- Mike Johnshon
- 21 Nov, 2023
Skipper Son Heung-min netted two goals and assisted another as South Korea secured their second consecutive victory in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, triumphing 3-0 against China in Shenzhen on Tuesday.
Son showcased his prowess with a penalty and a cleverly executed header from a corner just before halftime, effectively silencing the sold-out crowd of over 40,000 spectators.
Jung Seung-hyun sealed the win with a powerful header from a Son free-kick in the dying minutes, propelling South Korea to the top of Group C with a flawless six-point record.
Under Jurgen Klinsmann's leadership, South Korea continued their impressive form following a 5-0 victory over Singapore in the previous match.
Dominating proceedings against China, they took an early lead through Son's penalty after 11 minutes, capitalizing on a foul on Hwang Hee-chan in the box.
The Korean team maintained control throughout the game, with opportunities from Cho Gue-sung and Son threatening China's defense. Despite a missed chance by China's Tan Long just before halftime, Son capitalized on a corner, expertly directing a header into the far corner, securing a 2-0 lead.
South Korea remained dominant post-halftime, almost extending their lead to 3-0 if not for a clearance by China's Zhu Chenjie off the goal line. Eventually, Jung sealed the victory late in the game.
In the wider scope of Asian qualifiers, Thailand joined China with three points after defeating Singapore 3-1. The top two teams from each of the nine groups will progress to the final qualifying stage for the World Cup in North America.
Elsewhere in the region, Iraq secured a 1-0 win against Vietnam with a late goal from substitute Mohanad Ali, claiming the top spot in Group F.
Iran conceded a two-goal lead, settling for a 2-2 draw against Uzbekistan. Additionally, North Korea triumphed 6-1 against Myanmar, while Tajikistan mirrored the scoreline with a victory over Pakistan.
Later fixtures on Tuesday included Australia against Palestine, Japan facing Syria in Jeddah, and India hosting Qatar in their respective qualifiers.
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