Tottenham’s Son Heung-min grabs Asian football award

November 29, 2017

SEOUL, Nov. 29 (Yonhap) — Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean attacker Son Heung-min on Wednesday grabbed an annual football award recognizing Asian players in foreign competitions.

Son was named the Asian International Player of the Year at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Annual Awards in Bangkok, beating out Huddersfield Town midfielder Aaron Mooy of Australia and Borussia Dortmund star Shinji Kagawa of Japan.

This is the second time that Son received such award. He previously claimed the accolade in 2015 over compatriot Ki Sung-yueng and Australian attacker Massimo Luongo.

Son netted 21 goals in all competitions for the Spurs during the 2016-2017 season, breaking the single-season scoring record for a South Korean in Europe, previously held by Cha Bum-kun who had 19 goals for the German outfit Bayer Leverkusen in the 1985-1986 season. The 25-year-old, who has 20 goals in 61 caps for South Korea, also helped the Taeguk Warriors to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

In this file photo taken on Nov. 10, 2017, South Korean forward Son Heung-min claps after the men's national football team beat Colombia 2-1 in a friendly match at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province. (Yonhap)In this file photo taken on Nov. 10, 2017, South Korean forward Son Heung-min claps after the men’s national football team beat Colombia 2-1 in a friendly match at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province. (Yonhap)

Son wasn’t the only South Korean who was honored at the AFC Annual Awards. Lee Seung-woo, who is with Italian side Hellas Verona, was crowned the AFC Youth Player of the Year, fending off his compatriot Paik Seung-ho and Iran’s Taha Shariati.

Lee was instrumental in helping South Korea reach the round of 16 at the FIFA U-20 World Cup at home after scoring two goals. The 19-year-old forward moved to Seria A club Verona this summer after leaving FC Barcelona B team.

Meanwhile, North Korea’s Sung Hyang-sim was named the AFC Youth Player of the Year on the women’s side following her impressive performance at the AFC Women’s U-19 Championship and AFC Women’s Asian Cup qualifiers this year.

Sung, 18, became the first North Korean to receive such award, topping compatriot Kim Kyong-yong and Japan’s Hinata Miyazawa. Sung was the top scorer at the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship with six goals and was MVP of the tournament. She was also a candidate for the AFC Women’s Player of the Year, which was claimed by Australian Samantha Kerr.

With no South Koreans on the shortlist, the AFC Player of the Year went to Syria’s Omar Khrbin, who is with Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal. Urawa Red Diamonds’ head coach Takafumi Hori took the AFC Coach of the Year honor after leading the Japanese club to the AFC Champions League title this year.

kdon@yna.co.kr

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