Europe Wrap: Son hits century; Kubo seals Sociedad win
Kuala Lumpur: Korea Republic and Tottenham Hotspur ace Son Heung-min scripted history when he scored his 100th goal in England’s Premier League with a stunning strike in a 2-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, becoming the first Asian to enter the elite club with his seventh strike of the season.
Japan youngster Takefusa Kubo found the back of the net against Getafe in Spain to strengthen Real Sociedad’s bid for a place in the 2023-24 UEFA Champions League, while his compatriot Hiroki Ito scored a stunner for his first Bundesliga goal of the season in Germany as VfB Stuttgart edged VfL Bochum 3-2 in a relegation six-pointer.
Islamic Republic of Iran striker Mehdi Taremi scored the winner for FC Porto in O Classico against Benfica in Portugal and Kyogo Furuhashi hit a double in Scotland as leaders Celtic dispatched Rangers in the Old Firm derby, so join the-AFC.com as we look at how the Asian stars performed in Europe over the past week.
It's a good thing for Asia, says Son after becoming first Asian to score 100 Premier League goals
London: Son Heung-min dedicated his historic goal in Tottenham's 2-1 win against Brighton to his late grandfather after the Korea Republic star became the first Asian to score 100 times in the Premier League.
Son reached his century in style with a superb curling finish to put Tottenham ahead in the first half in north London on Saturday.
Afer Lewis Dunk's equaliser, Harry Kane's 79th-minute winner ensured Son's goal wouldn't go to waste as fifth-placed Tottenham stayed in the hunt to qualify for the UEFA Champions League via a top-four finish.
Kuala Lumpur: Football in Europe is entering its business end and many Asian players are still vying for coveted prizes in its club competitions, namely the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Women’s Champions League, the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Europa Conference League.
Since Korea Republic legend Park Ji-sung lifted the Champions League with Manchester United in 2008, Son Heung-min has reached the final with Tottenham Hotspur in 2019 and Japan’s Takumi Minamino did likewise with Liverpool in 2022, but both settled for runner-up medals just like Islamic Republic of Iran legend Ali Daei in 1999.
Hong Kong: China PR international striker Ai Kesen has completed his long-expected move to Chinese Super League side Chengdu Rongcheng as his former Guangzhou FC teammate Wei Shihao signed for reigning champions Wuhan Three Towns.
Ai Kesen has been training with Chengdu since January but the club confirmed his signing a week before the new Chinese Super League campaign kicks off, with Rongcheng due to take on Henan FC next Sunday.
The 33-year-old returns to the country after a year in Brazil, where he played for Gremio after being released by Guangzhou following the club’s financial struggles.