Son Heung-min to avoid military duty after South Korea win Asian Games

South Korea's Son Heung-min in action during the gold medal match against Japan at the Asian Games
Son signed a new five-year deal with Tottenham in July

Tottenham forward Son Heung-min will avoid military service for South Korea after helping his country beat Japan 2-1 in the Asian Games football final.

A gold medal at the event, along with an Olympic podium finish, is the only automatic way for a South Korean footballer to be excused a call-up.

The game against Japan went into extra-time before Lee Seung-woo and Hwang Hee-chan put South Korea 2-0 up.

Ueda Ayase pulled one back but South Korea held on for a fifth title.

Korean captain Son, substituted in the dying seconds to buy precious time, burst into tears at the final whistle after sprinting from the bench to embrace goalkeeper Jo Hyeon-woo.

Son Heung-min
Son Heung-min holds aloft his gold medal, South Korea's fifth Asian Games title

The 26-year-old has not carried out the two-year mandatory military service expected of his countrymen and faced being called up if South Korea failed to win the final.

But victory gave the whole South Korea squad an exemption and ensured an end to the uncertainty surrounding a player Tottenham bought for about £22m, and who signed a new five-year contract in July.

South Korea beat neighbours North Korea to take gold in 2014 but Son was not in the squad as Bayer Leverkusen, his club at the time, had exercised their right to refuse his release.

Tottenham congratulate Son on winning gold at the Asian Games
Tottenham congratulate Son on winning gold at the Asian Games
Son Heung-min of South Korea is held aloft by his team-mates after winning the gold medal
Son Heung-min of South Korea is held aloft by his team-mates after winning the gold medal

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