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Son Heung-Min Perfect Partner for Asian Cup Glory
- Updated: January 16, 2024
Son Heung-Min, the iconic South Korean footballer, may have found an ideal partner in Lee Kang-In to lead their national team to victory in the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. In the opening game against Bahrain, where Son faced significant defensive attention, Lee Kang-In emerged as a key player, scoring two goals and leading South Korea to a 3-1 win.
As Son Heung-Min, now in his 30s, approaches the twilight of his career, the ongoing Asian Cup in Qatar could be his final opportunity to help South Korea secure their third AFC Asian Cup title, a quest that has eluded them since 1960. Despite several attempts, South Korea has fallen short in previous tournaments.
In the recent match against Bahrain, South Korea showcased a potential shift in their dynamics. Traditionally, Son Heung-Min has been the standout player, but this time, the team displayed depth and resilience beyond their talismanic captain. The match highlighted that South Korea now possesses more than one world-class player, a crucial factor for success in tournaments.
While South Korea has consistently fielded quality players from Europe-based clubs, they often lacked genuine game-changers. Former captains like Koo Ja-Cheol and Ki Sung-Yueng, along with current stalwarts such as Hwang Hee-Chan, Hwang In-Beom, and Lee Jae-Sung, have been reliable role players but not necessarily game-defining figures.
In the match against Bahrain, with Son Heung-Min facing extra defensive attention, Lee Kang-In seized the opportunity to shine. After Hwang In-Beom opened the scoring, Bahrain equalized, but it was Lee Kang-In who swiftly restored South Korea’s lead with two clinical finishes. His ability to find the target and provide incisive through-passes demonstrated his class and confidence on the field.
Lee Kang-In’s potential has been widely acknowledged since his days at Valencia, and his move to Paris Saint-Germain last summer marked a new chapter in his career. Despite past issues with former coach Paulo Bento, Lee’s recent performances under Jurgen Klinsmann suggest a positive change in his standing within the team.
With Son Heung-Min facing defensive challenges, having a player like Lee Kang-In waiting in the wings proved invaluable for South Korea. As the tournament progresses, the dynamic duo of Son and Lee could become the driving force needed to secure South Korea’s victory in the Asian Cup, ending a 64-year wait for the prestigious title. The match against Bahrain showcased the team’s resilience and the emergence of a potential partnership that could lead them to glory.
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By- Sahiba Suri