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Son asks South Korea fans to forgive Lee for Asian Cup incident


Son Heung-min has asked South Korea’s fans to forgive Lee Kang-in after an altercation between the pair at the Asian Cup left the Tottenham captain with a dislocated finger.

Spurs skipper Son was injured in a dispute involving Paris Saint-Germain’s Lee and other players on the eve of South Korea’s surprise semi-final defeat to Jordan, which he played with strapping on his hand.

Son was reportedly unimpressed with Lee attempting to leave a team dinner early to play table tennis with other younger members of the South Korea squad ahead of the game.

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The incident capped an unhappy campaign for South Korea, who subsequently sacked head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and said the former Germany boss “had failed to demonstrate leadership, including game management, player management and work attitude” in a statement.

Taking to Instagram on Tuesday, Son confirmed Lee had visited him in London to apologise for his part in the incident and called on South Korea’s fans show forgiveness.

Alongside a picture of the duo posing together, Son wrote: “Kang-in sincerely reflected on his actions and offered a sincere apology to all the players on the national team, including me.

“When I was young, I made a lot of mistakes and showed bad behaviour, but I think I was able to be where I am today because of the good advice and teachings of my seniors.

“To prevent Kang-in from doing such wrong things again, all of our players will take special care from Kang-in’s side so that he can grow into a better person and player.

“I don’t think I did a good job either, but I think it was an action that could have been taken as well-received criticism.

“I believe it is one of the captain’s duties to do unpleasant things for the sake of the team, so even if I were to face the same situation again, I would act for the sake of the team. However, I will strive to lead my team more wisely in the future.

“Kang-in is going through a very difficult time after that incident. Please forgive him with a generous heart. As the captain of the national team, it’s a must!”

South Korea’s semi-final elimination in Qatar means their wait for a third Asian Cup title will stretch to at least 67 years, with the next edition of the tournament set to take place in Saudi Arabia in 2027.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.


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