JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Tottenham forward Son Heung-min will get to skip military service.
Son avoided the service obligation when South Korea defeated Japan 2-1 in the Asian Games gold medal soccer game on Saturday.
The South Korean government rewards holders of Asian Games gold medals and all Olympic medals with the exemption. Military service is compulsory for South Korean males, and the 26-year-old Son would have faced at least 21 months of service and the loss of millions in income.
Son ran wildly onto the field at the end, hugging teammates with hundreds of South Korea flags flying.
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With the match in extra time after 0-0 in regulation, Son got the break he wanted from teammate Lee Seung-woo.
In the 93rd minute, Son broke toward the middle and shuffled a pass to Lee, who drove the ball with his left foot into the top of the net. He immediately posed atop sign boards alongside the edge of the field, celebrating his minute of glory.
South Korea clinched it eight minutes later on a leaping header inside the far post from Hwang Hee-chan. The 101st-minute goal prompted Son to embrace South Korean coach Kim Hak-bum on the sidelines.
Japan’s Ayase Ueda scored on a header with five minutes left to make it close.
South Korea had 65 percent of the possession in regulation time, and had a wide edge in shots, and shots-on goal.
Son almost got the winning goal himself, but his shot just seconds into extra time sailed inches wide of the far post.
Saturday was the last full day of competition at the Asian Games with only one medal event on Sunday — mixed triathlon. The closing ceremony is also Sunday.
China, Japan and South Korea — as always — dominated. But several other nations are closing ground slowly, making the Big Three not quite as dominant.
China had 289 overall, with 132 gold, 92 silver and 65 bronze. Japan won 204 (74-56-74) and South Korea had 176 (49-57-70). They were followed in the gold-medal ranking order by: Indonesia (31), Uzbekistan (21), Iran (20) and Taiwan (17). India and Kazakhstan each had 15.
Japan came up short as South Korea won gold in baseball with a 3-0 victory. In the bronze medal game, Taiwan pummeled China 10-0.
China won women’s basketball, defeating the combined Koreas women’s team 71-65. Shao Ting topped China’s scorers with 17 points. Lim Yunghui was the top Korean scorer with 24. Park Ji-su had 15.
“I still believe that we could have gotten a gold medal if we had enough practice time,” Park, the WNBA star, said through an interpreter. “We just trained as a combined team for a month.”
The women’s squad included nine South Koreans and three from North Korea.
Dragon boat races delivered a gold medal and two bronze medals for the combined Koreas teams during the games — the feel-good story of the Asian Games.
China’s men’s basketball team also took gold, defeating Iran 84-72.
As expected, China swept all five gold medals in table tennis at the Asian Games including the two singles finals on Saturday. Both finals were all-China finals.
Fan Zhendong defeated Lin Gaoyuan in the men’s final, and for the women Chen Meng beat Wang Manyu.
China beat Thailand 3-0 in the women’s volleyball final, and on the men’s side Iran defeated South Korea 3-0.
Kazakhstan defeated Japan 8-7 to take the men’s gold in water polo.
Japan beat China 7-5 to take gold in women’s rugby 7s, and Hong Kong won gold in the men’s version, beating Japan 14-0.
Japan defeated Malaysia in men’s hockey, winning a shootout 3-1 after the match was tied 6-6.
AP reporter Niniek Karmini contributed to this report.
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