BEKASI, Indonesia -- South Korean striker Hwang Ui-jo once again proved his worth at the Asian Games after scoring three goals and earning a penalty to send the men’s under-23 football team to the semifinals at the continental event on Monday.
South Korea reached the semifinals of the men’s football tournament after edging out Uzbekistan 4-3 in extra time at Patriot Chandrabhaga Stadium in Bekasi, east of Jakarta. South Korea are now two matches away from defending their Asiad men’s football title.
Hwang scored South Korea’s opening goal with his right-footed strike in the fifth minute after receiving a fine pass from Son Heung-min. With the match tied at 1-1, Hwang then unleashed a powerful strike to give the lead back to South Korea.
Hwang completed his hat trick in the 75th by converting a one-one-one opportunity to level the score 3-3.
After the match entered the second half of extra time, Hwang earned a penalty kick in the 117th as he was brought down by Rustamjon Ashurmatov in the box. Hwang Hee-chan then took the spot kick to give South Korea a precious win.
Hwang, who turns 26 on Tuesday, joined the under-23 team as a “wild card” member. The men’s football competition at Asian Games is open to those who are aged 23 or under, but teams can field up to three overage players known as wild cards.
Hwang was considered a controversial pick for the Asian Games.
While some fans doubted Hwang’s talent with his mediocre performance in recent seasons in the K League, others said that he earned selection through his close relationship with head coach Kim Hak-bum. Hwang and Kim had previously worked together at Seongnam FC.
But Hwang has certainly silenced his critics with his performance at the Asian Games. With eight goals, he is now the leading scorer in the tournament.
He first scored a hat trick against Bahrain in South Korea’s opener at the Asian Games. He was also the only goal scorer in South Korea’s shocking 2-1 loss to Malaysia.
Hwang then helped South Korea to reach the quarterfinals by scoring the first goal in his team’s 2-0 win over Iran.
With his impressive Asiad performance, Hwang was named to the South Korean men’s senior football team roster for September friendlies by new head coach Paulo Bento earlier Monday.
It is the first time since October 2017 that he has been selected for the senior national team. The striker has proved his attacking prowess, showing that he deserves a spot on the senior side. (Yonhap)