PSG's Lee Kang-in scores twice in South Korea's 3-1 win against Bahrain in the Asian Cup
AL-RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain winger Lee Kang-in is used to being overshadowed by Kylian Mbappe at club level. Son Heung-min remains the icon for his national team South Korea.
But with two moments of individual brilliance against Bahrain on Monday, Lee took center stage at the Asian Cup. Not that he seemed comfortable under the spotlight after scoring twice in the second half to inspire South Korea to a 3-1 win in the Group E match.
“It's not just about my two goals. All the goals we score are very important for the team. I would just like to say and highlight that it is not about individual performance,” a modest Lee said afterward.
His coach Jurgen Klinsmann was also restrained in his praise of the forward.
“If you score two in the opening game of the Asian Cup for us you deserve to be man of match and (it was) a very good performance. But I have to keep him on the ground every day,” he said with a smile.
It feels like there is no danger of success going to Lee's head. And as members of the media crowded around after the post-match news conference, he was likely happy to see it was Klinsmann, the World Cup-winning former Germany striker, who was being mobbed with requests for selfies.
Lee was just trying to get back to the locker room at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.
Earlier he had scored two picture perfect goals to get South Korea off to a winning start in the competition the country hasn't won since back-to-back titles in 1956 and 60.
The game was tied at 1-1 when he took control, giving South Korea a 2-1 lead in the 56th-minute with a left-footed shot from around 30 yards (meters).
He was equally clinical as he scored his second goal 12 minutes later when showing sharp footwork and curling the ball into the bottom corner.
Hwang In-beom had given South Korea a first-half lead in the 38th after both teams had missed chances, but Bahrain equalized six minutes after the break through Abdullah Al Hashash.
“We knew it was not going to be easy to play Bahrain today and it turned out to be scrappy,” Klinsmann said. “We are very pleased to start with three points in the tournament, that is what really matters.”
Jordan sits atop Group E on goal difference after a 4-0 win against Malaysia.
Mahmoud Al Mardi and Mousa Tamari scored two goals each in the match at Al Janoub Stadium.
Jordan raced to a 3-0 halftime lead through goals from Al Mardi in the 12th and 32nd, and Tamari's penalty kick in the 18th.
Tamari, who also had a goal ruled out by VAR in the first half, got his second in the 85th.
Jordan plays South Korea on Saturday when Bahrain takes on Malaysia.
Iraq joined Group D leader Japan on three points after a 3-1 win against Indonesia.
Goals from Mohanad Ali, Osama Rashid and Aymen Hussein secured victory at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, while Marselino Ferdinan scored for Indonesia.
Tournament favorite Japan is top of the group on goals scored after its 4-2 win against Vietnam.
Indonesia, playing in its first Asian Cup for 16 years, almost took the lead when Ferdinan hit the bar.
Ali put Iraq ahead after a run and finish in the 17th, but Ferdinan converted Elkan Baggott's cross to level the game in 37th.
Iraq regained the lead in the seventh minute of first-half stoppage time through Rashid and substitute Hussein added a third in the 75th.
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson
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