Going into the Hangzhou Asian Games with the goal of winning the title, Hwang Seon-hong unleashed a volcano of shots from the first game.
While ‘Ace’ Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain) was not yet on board, ‘European’ Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart) exploded for a hat-trick, and the offensive line was on fire.
With four goals in the first half and five in the second half, Hwang’s nine-goal outburst left a lasting impression on soccer fans and got Korea’s journey to a third straight Asian Games title off to a flying start.
Hwang’s men’s soccer team earned their first win of the tournament on Monday afternoon with a 9-0 demolition of Kuwait in their Group E opener at the Jinhua Sports Center Stadium in Zhejiang, China.
With the first-round victory, South Korea proved that even without Lee Kang-in, they are still a force to be reckoned with.
Lee Kang-in is arguably the player who draws the most attention for Hwangseon Hongho.
Lee Kang-in, who has been in the spotlight since he appeared on the KBS entertainment program “Fly, Shoot, Doll” as a child, is desperate to win the tournament.
If he wins, he will receive a military exemption, which will remove the “biggest obstacle” in his path to the European stage.
Many soccer fans are rooting for Lee Kang-in, the “future of Korean soccer,” to win. This support paradoxically puts pressure on Hwang to win.
With Lee Kang-in still out of the national team due to his commitments with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG-France), Hwang’s offense has been in the shadows.
Since joining German soccer giants Bayern Munich in 2018, Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart) has already changed teams twice in the Bundesliga alone.
He’s already been in Germany for six years and needs a military waiver to continue playing in Europe.
Starting on the left flank, Jung showed his determination for the tournament by rattling the post three minutes into the game.
As if that wasn’t enough, he completed his hat trick in the 45th minute of the first half to make it 4-0 just three minutes into the second half.
Three minutes later, he came close to adding a fourth goal when he redirected a pass with a touch from the corner of the penalty box and followed it up with a left-footed shot, but the ball narrowly missed the side of the net.
Jung wasn’t the only one to make his presence felt. Domestic strikers were also flying high.
Cho Young-wook (Gimcheon), who has 79 caps for the age-group national team, scored his first goal of the tournament with a cool right-footed shot in the 19th minute, while Uhm Won-sang (Ulsan) converted a penetrating pass from Cho with a non-stop left-footed shot for the team’s sixth goal seven minutes into the second half.
Cho Young-wook, who never stopped harassing the opposing defense despite recording one goal and one assist, completed his multi-goal performance in the 29th minute after receiving a forward pass from Jung Ho-yeon (Gwangju).
Frontline striker Park Jae-yong (Jeonbuk), who entered the fray in the 10th minute of the second half, also slotted home a cross from Seol Young-woo (Ulsan) in the 35th minute.
Just before the end, Ahn Jae-jun (Bucheon) made it 9-0 with a cool finish after finding space in the back.
Captain and key midfielder Baek Seung-ho dazzled the fans with a fantastic free-kick goal.
In the 44th minute, his right-footed free kick from the left flank area of the field took a picturesque trajectory and found the top corner of the goal to break Kuwait’s hopes. 안전놀이터