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Son Heung-min registers hat-trick as South Korea wallops Laos 8-0

September 3, 2015
South Korea's Son Heung-min celebrates scoring a hat-trick against Laos during the Asian zone Group G qualifying soccer match for the 2018 World Cup at  Hwaseong Sports Complex Main Stadium in Hwaseong, South Korea, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. South Korea won 8-0.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

South Korea’s Son Heung-min celebrates scoring a hat-trick against Laos during the Asian zone Group G qualifying soccer match for the 2018 World Cup at Hwaseong Sports Complex Main Stadium in Hwaseong, South Korea, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. South Korea won 8-0.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

HWASEONG, South Korea (Yonhap) — The newest Tottenham Hotspur Son Heung-min scored his first international hat trick, as merciless South Korea beat up on Laos 8-0 in their World Cup qualifier at home Thursday for their second straight victory in the regional qualification stage.

The 57th-ranked South Korea utterly dominated the 174th-ranked Laos at Hwaseong Sports Complex Main Stadium in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, delighting 30,000 fans on hand on a cool late summer evening.

In addition to Son’s three goals, Kwon Chang-hoon scored twice, with Lee Chung-yong, Suk Hyun-jun and Lee Jae-sung adding a goal apiece. South Korea improved their all-time record against Laos to 4-0. In those four victories, South Korea have scored 23 goals and given up none.

The hapless visiting players barely touched the ball, let alone mounting counterattacks, in the face of the South Korean onslaught. This was South Korea’s largest victory in 19 matches under head coach Uli Stielike, whose record improved to 13 wins, three draws, three losses.

Stielike said he was happy with both the final score and with the team’s overall performance.

“We expected Laos to crowd their own zone with 10 players, and we did a good job of staying patient against them,” he said. “We maintained our tempo in the second half and kept the pressure on. After just 15 minutes, the match was pretty much in our hands. But our players competed hard until the end, and I think we’re becoming a better team with each passing day.”

South Korea have now won both of their matches in the second round of the Asian qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, after their 2-0 win over Myanmar in June. South Korea will next travel to Lebanon for another qualifier next Tuesday.

There are eight groups of five nations in the second round. The eight group winners, along with four best runners-up, will advance to the third round.

South Korea have played in the past eight World Cup finals.

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