Local hero Son Heung-min delighted his South Korean fans by scoring twice as Tottenham Hotspur beat a K-League select team 6-3 in a wildly entertaining pre-season friendly in Seoul on Wednesday.
The English Premier League Golden Boot winner Son and Harry Kane, who bagged two goals, both appeared just for the second half as manager Antonio Conte gave his full squad a run out in their first pre-season match.
“Despite the fact that many players only started their preseason three days ago, others have had only 10 days, it was a good game. The most important thing is to bring on all the players to get fit,” said Conte.
Both Son and Kane had every move cheered raucously by a 64,000 sellout crowd at Seoul’s World Cup Stadium, even when just warming up on the touchline during the first half.
“Amazing supporters, amazing performance,” said Son after doing a lap of honour after the final whistle.
“It’s the first game of the season, so I am really pleased with it and grateful they came out in such rainy weather. I really, really enjoyed that,” said the 30-year-old.
Defender Eric Dier opened the scoring for Spurs with a thumping left-foot drive in the 29th minute. Team K-League equalised from Cho Gue-sung’s header to make it 1-1 at half-time before the match exploded in a frenzy of goals after the break.
Spurs started with their new 60 million pound signing from Everton, Richarlison, up front, and after a lively first 45 minutes the Brazilian was joined by Kane.
It took just two minutes for the England captain to make an impact, whipping in a cross from the right which Kim Jin-hyuk turned into his own net with Richarlison lurking.
Son was then brought on to huge cheers but the K-League side spoiled the party by levelling for a second time on 52 minutes through South African international Lars Veldwijk.
Two minutes later Kane restored Tottenham’s lead with a trademark left-foot finish from outside the box.
Japan international Amano Jun then inexplicably handled to give Spurs a penalty, which Son converted to send his fans into a frenzy.
Amano made amends two minutes later by smashing home a free-kick, however deadly partnership Kane and Son, after the K-league team had been reduced to 10 men, sealed a see-saw match with a further goal apiece.
“I am satisfied with the intensity of the players. I didn’t ask for anything today. To score six goals was positive, to concede three goals was negative — and for sure we need to improve,” said Conte after the match, which was played at a high pace throughout.
Tottenham’s arrival at Incheon Airport was greeted by thousands of fans and another 6,000 were at an open training session trying to get a glimpse of their heroes.
“I want to thank everyone who came here to watch the game. It was amazing the welcome that we received at the airport and to play in front of 60,000 people despite it being a friendly. For me, the club, it’s a privilege and an honour to play in Korea,” said Conte.
Tottenham play their final match of their South Korea tour against Spain’s Sevilla at Suwon’s World Cup Stadium on Saturday.