Austria-based South Korean forward Hwang Hee-chan showed he is in fine form ahead of his national team duty later this month, as he scored a goal in a playoff for a European club competition.
Hwang struck the opening goal in Red Bull Salzburg's 3-1 win over Viitorul Constanta in their first leg of the UEFA Europa League playoff tie at Central Stadium Hagi Academy in Ovidiu, Romania, on Friday. The 21-year-old found the back of net with his right-footed shot just two minutes after the kickoff following a pass from Munas Dabbur.
This was Hwang's sixth goal in 10 matches this season. Before Friday, he bagged two goals in the UEFA Champions League qualifications and in the Austrian Bundesliga. The speedy attacker, who joined Salzburg in 2015, has also scored a goal in the domestic cup competition.
In this file photo taken on June 7, 2017, South Korean forward Hwang Hee-chan dribbles past Iraqi defenders during a friendly match between South Korea and Iraq in the United Arab Emirates. (Yonhap)
South Korea will hope to see Hwang's recent club form hold up in their upcoming national team matches. Hwang is one of the 26 players selected by head coach Shin Tae-yong for two crucial FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
South Korea are scheduled to host Iran on Aug. 31 and will face Uzbekistan five days later on the road to wrap up their final Asian qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. All three countries are in Group A in the final round, and South Korea are barely holding on to automatic qualification spot by sitting in second place with 13 points, just one point above Uzbekistan. Iran have already booked a spot at the World Cup in Russia.
Shin's side will begin training next Monday at the National Football Center in Paju, north of Seoul, but Hwang is expected to join the national team after Aug. 28 with other Europe-based players.
Hwang made his international debut against China in September
2016 and has so far scored one goal in seven matches for the Taeguk Warriors. He previously represented South Korea at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic Games, where the team suffered a quarterfinals exit. (Yonhap)