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(LEAD) Son Heung-min's shift success in friendly vs. Colombia

2017/11/10 23:34

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(ATTN: ADDS comments in last 6 paras)

By Joo Kyung-don

SUWON, South Korea, Nov. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's use of Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min as center forward proved to be a success on Friday, as he scored two goals to lead the national team's 2-1 win over Colombia in a friendly match here.

Son started as one of the two forwards in South Korea's 4-4-2 formation at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, 46 kilometers south of Seoul. This wasn't a surprise move as South Korea head coach Shin Tae-yong previously said he planned to deploy Son up front after watching some of the Spurs' matches.

The English Premier League club, managed by Mauricio Pochettino, has been occasionally using Son as a roving center forward, partnering him with Harry Kane or Fernando Llorente. According to stats from transfermarkt.com, the 25-year-old South Korean played four matches this season as center forward, scoring one goal and delivering two assists for the Spurs.

For most of his career, Son has been used on the left flanks for both the national team and his London club, a position that allowed him to cut inside on to his right foot and take a powerful strike.

On Friday, Son -- who ended his one-year international scoring drought last month by converting a penalty kick against Morocco -- teamed up with roving forward Lee Keun-ho. And it didn't take long for Son to prove that he can play well up front for the Taeguk Warriors.

In the 11th minute, Son ran down the pitch and received the pass from Lee in the box. Son was surrounded by three Colombian defenders and goalkeeper Andres Castellanos, but he slotted the ball in between legs of center back Cristian Zapata and found the net for a 1-0 lead.

In the 14th, Son had another chance to score, but his volley off a cross from Go Yo-han went over the net.

Son then started making some one-two passes with teammates, while taking corner and free kicks.

In the second half, Son worked with Lee Jeong-hyeop, who replaced Lee Keun-ho. The pair created a promising chance in the 52nd, when Lee Jeong-hyeop found Son with a backheel pass, but the Spurs attacker was ruled offside.

Son then showed his killer instinct again in the 61st. After receiving a pass from right back Choi Chul-soon, he scored off his right foot from just outside the box for a 2-0 lead.

It was the first time since Nov. 17, 2015, that Son has scored two goals for the national team. He previously grabbed a brace against Laos in the second round of the Asian World Cup qualifying campaign.

The Colombians cut the deficit to one in the 76th, but couldn't erase Son's double. Son wasn't able to get any scoring chances later, but still proved his shift to center forward position was a wise decision.

Despite scoring two goals, Son humbly said he will work harder since he still has "lots of work" to do.

"Although I've scored two goals, I don't think I'm perfect," he said. "I will show better performances."

   Son especially thanked his teammates for his two goals. He said Lee Keun-ho, in particualr, created many chances for him in the first half with tireless efforts.

"I think today's goals were made possible thanks to all the players," he said. "Lee (Keun-ho) moved a lot, so I had space in the center. He also worked hard on defense and increased the tempo of our attack."

   Son, who now has 20 goals in 60 internationals, said the victory will make the team better.

"I think with this victory, our team atmosphere will be better," he said. "Football is a sport which a team that runs a lot wins. Today, all of us worked hard and that's why we won."


South Korean forward Son Heung-min celebrates after scoring a goal against Colombia in a friendly match at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, on Nov. 10, 2017. (Yonhap) South Korean forward Son Heung-min celebrates after scoring a goal against Colombia in a friendly match at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, on Nov. 10, 2017. (Yonhap)