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S. Korea’s Son hurt finger in brawl before Asian Cup loss: KFA

Tottenham Hotspurs captain Son Heung-min injured his finger in a brawl with a teammate on the eve of South Korea’s humiliating loss to Jordan at the Asian Cup, the Korean football body said, with one player involved issuing an apology on social media Wednesday.

South Korea, ranked 23rd in the world, was beaten 2-0 by 87th-ranked Jordan in the semi-finals of the Asian Football Confederation competition in Qatar.

According to a report from British newspaper The Sun, Son dislocated his finger in a “bust-up” that erupted at dinner the night before the game.

The incident reportedly happened after some younger players on the team — including Lee Kang-in of Paris Saint-Germain — rushed through their meal so they could leave early to play table tennis.

This displeased Son, the team’s captain, and some of the older players, as meals on the eve of big games are traditionally seen as a time for bonding.

An unnamed source told the newspaper that when Son asked his younger teammates to sit down, “some disrespectful things were said to him”.

“Within seconds, the row spilled into the dining area and players were being pulled apart,” the source was quoted as saying. “Son badly injured his finger trying to calm everyone down.”

Lee acknowledged the incident on his Instagram account in a post on Wednesday and apologised for “disappointing” his fans.

“I caused huge disappointment to football fans who always support our national team,” he said, adding: “I’m very sorry.”

“From now on, I will try to help out the older players and try to become a better player and a better person,” Lee said.

Klinsmann’s fate

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that at first, Son tried to talk to the younger players, but the situation turned physical when they refused to listen.

Son got furious and grabbed Lee, who in turn tried to punch him, Yonhap reported, citing sources familiar with the incident.

The two players had to be pulled apart and Son dislocated his finger in the process.

“It happened when some young players went up to play table tennis, and Son Heung-min and other older players took issue with it,” a Korea Football Association (KFA) official was quoted as saying by Yonhap.

“The players exchanged a few words and Son hurt his finger in the process,” the official added.

The KFA could not be reached by AFP.

Son was seen playing last week’s semi-final in Qatar with two of his fingers on his right hand strapped together.

He has continued to wear the wrapping since returning to Tottenham, where he came on at the weekend in the 2-1 win over Brighton.

South Korea, which was seen as one of the favourites to win the Asian Cup, failed to get a single shot on target during the match against Jordan.

Korean football fans have been infuriated by the defeat and have called on the team’s head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to resign.

The KFA is scheduled to convene a meeting on Thursday to discuss Klinsmann’s fate.

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