South Koreans hammer six past Bahrain; Indonesia humbled
Hwang Ui-jo netted a first-half hat trick
Son Heung-min watched from the bench as South Korea tore apart Bahrain 6-0 at the Asian Games on Wednesday to boost the Tottenham Hotspur striker's chances of avoiding military service by winning gold.
Son, who only joined the squad this week, cheered on the defending champions as Hwang Ui-jo netted a first-half hat trick and Kim Jin-ya, Na Sang-ho and Hwang Hee-chan also scored in their opening Group E game.
Spurs gave Son, 26, special permission to play the Asian Games, where the gold medal represents his last chance of winning a reprieve from his 21 months' compulsory military service. As he warmed the bench wearing a black tracksuit top, Hwang quickly took the game away from outclassed Bahrain with his triple strike within 26 minutes in the first half.
The prolific Gamba Osaka forward hammered the opening goal from close range on 17 minutes, before Kim Jin-ya grabbed the Koreans' second on the rebound six minutes later.
Hwang's turn and shot on made it 3-0 on 36 minutes, and he could have had another if he had arrived a split-second earlier as Na Sang-ho's effort trickled over the line.
But Hwang soon brought up his hat-trick with a finish from a tight angle, two minutes before half-time, as South Korea turned 5-0 ahead and in total control.
Bahrain saw more of the ball as South Korea eased off in the second half, but they were unable to find a way past World Cup goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo - who is also hoping to avoid military service.
Meanwhile, a joint Korean women's basketball team marked their Asian Games debut Wednesday by pulverising hosts Indonesia 108-40, roared on by giddy fans waving unified Korean flags. North Korean Ro Suk Yong, one of three Pyongyang-based players in the away team, top-scored with 22 points for the sharp-shooting visitors and fellow northerner Kim Hye Yon added 14 in a lop-sided Group X opener in Jakarta.
Around 100 Korean fans in white T-shirts bearing a blue unified Korean flag with the slogan "One dream, one Corea", serenaded the players and banged drums as they tried to drown out a wall of noise produced by cymbal-crashing locals. "We haven't had a lot of time to work on our team chemistry but we speak the same language and we are all on the same page," Korean coach Lee Moon-kyu said. "North or South Korean, we all have the same desire to win."
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