Son Misses Opportunities, but South Korea and Iraq Triumph in Asian Cup Openers

South Korea kicked off their quest for a first Asian Cup since 1960 with a 3-1 victory over Bahrain, while former champions Iraq also triumphed 3-1 against Indonesia on Monday.

Son Misses Opportunities, but South Korea and Iraq Triumph in Asian Cup Openers
Son Misses Opportunities, but South Korea and Iraq Triumph in Asian Cup Openers

In the day’s final match, Jordan dominated Malaysia with a 4-0 win, thanks to two goals each from Mahmoud Al-Mardi and Mousa Al-Tamari.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Lee Kang-in stole the spotlight from Son Heung-min, scoring two goals for Jurgen Klinsmann’s South Korea, considered among the favorites for the title in Qatar.

Lee, the 22-year-old attacking midfielder, showcased his skills with a second-half brace, securing three points for the Koreans, despite Bahrain equalizing early in the second half.

Despite Tottenham Hotspur striker Son missing two clear chances and receiving a late yellow card for diving, he remains optimistic about achieving something “special” in his fourth Asian Cup.

Japan, Australia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are also seen as strong contenders, along with hosts and reigning champions Qatar.

South Korea, under the management of German legend Klinsmann, faces Jordan next in Group E on Saturday.

In Group D, which includes the highly-rated Japan, Iraq overcame a spirited Indonesia to win 3-1. Despite Indonesia’s improved performance, Iraq’s Mohanad Ali, Marselino Ferdinan, and Aymen Hussein secured the victory.

Indonesia’s coach, Shin Tae-yong, expressed frustration over what he claimed was an offside during Iraq’s second goal, emphasizing the importance of fair refereeing for the tournament’s credibility.

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