+ A

Son cements his superstar status

Winger scored in 5th straight match, 50th Premier League goal
Feb 18,2020
이미지뷰
Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring a goal during the Premier League match against Aston Villa at Villa Park in England on Sunday. [EPA/YONHAP]
Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur has made history once again.

For the first time since his debut, Son has scored in five straight matches. During a Premier League match against Aston Villa at Villa Park in England on Sunday, Spurs didn’t get off to the best start after forgoing the lead with an own goal from Toby Alderweireld in the ninth minute.

Alderweireld quickly made up for his own goal by scoring an equalizer in the 27th minute. Then, while the two teams were tied at 1-1, Spurs finished the first half of the match with Son’s goal in the 47th minute. This was Son’s 15th goal of the season and extended his hot scoring streak for five consecutive matches. It also marked Son’s 50th goal in the Premier League.

However, shortly after the second half of the match started, Aston Villa fought back to once again tie the score at 2-2 with a goal from Bjorn Engels in the 53rd minute. Finishing the full 90 minutes tied at 2-2, Son once again arose as Tottenham’s superstar of the day by scoring in the stoppage time, in the 94th minute, to lead his team to a thrilling 3-2 victory.

“It’s really amazing,” Son was quoted as saying on Spur’s website. “Winning is always positive but especially that way, how we won 2-2, in the last seconds, a better afternoon is impossible. The lads did a really good job and I’m very proud and happy for Toby as well.”

With a win, Spurs are ranked fifth in the Premier League standings this season with 11 wins, seven draws and eight losses, totaling 40 points. They are now only one point behind the fourth-ranked Chelsea, who they will be playing against this weekend. Spurs need to finish at least in fourth place or better this season to qualify for the UEFA Champions League.

“I’ve scored 50 Premier League goals, but without the team, without the supporters, it’s impossible,” Son was quoted as saying.

Son’s 2019-20 season is shaping up to be his best one yet.

He first made the headlines in November last year by breaking the record for the most goals scored by a Korean player in European football. Off the field, he also became the top Asian finisher ever in voting for the Ballon d’Or Award. Just days after it, Son scored what could be the called the goal of the season. During a Premier League match against Burnley FC, he sprinted the length of the pitch to score Spurs’ third goal of the match unassisted.

His performance was good enough to earn him the Korea Football Association (KFA) Male Player of the Year award for 2019, the fourth time he’s taken home the title. That accomplishment also meant he broke a tie with Ki Sung-yueng, who has won the award three times. Son is now the record holder for most times winning the KFA’s top honor.

With his 15th and 16th goals of the season in Sunday’s match, Son has now scored a total of 51 goals in the Premier League, becoming the first-ever Asian footballer to do so.

Son’s recent streak has seen him scoring since the Spur’s match against Norwich City on Jan. 22. The feat was made all the more impressive considering month-long scoring drought prior.

Son is expected to continue extending the record in career goals in Premier League matches considering he is just 27 years old and at the peak of his career.

“I just want to share this feeling with the fans, everyone in Korea and with the lads […] I just want to say thank you for helping me,” Son said.

Following his achievement, FIFA also congratulated Korea in general for their success, for both Son and the movie “Parasite.” Through their Instagram account, FIFA posted a photo of Son and said, “after making history this month at the Oscars, Son made another history for the KFA. He became the first Asian, ever, to score 50 Premier League goals. Congratulations to Korea.”

Spurs will continue its season with the first leg of the round of 16 matches against RB Leipzig for the UEFA Champions League at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The match will start in the early morning at 5 a.m., Korea time, on Thursday.

BY PIH JU-YOUNG, KANG YOO-RIM [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]