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Premier League referee Andy Madley bizarrely denied Son Heung-min a clear penalty in South Korea’s win over Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. The Tottenham forward was hacked down as he raced away on goal but no spot-kick was awarded.
South Korea took advantage of some dithering in the Saudi defence, winning possession before embarking on a quick counter-attack. The ball was played forward to Son who only had one defender to beat.
The Korean captain took his touch clear of the last defender and appeared to be racing through on goal. However, a second Saudi defender desperately raced back to make a last-ditch tackle.
It was ultimately a late challenge with Son already bearing down on goal. The 31-year-old was brought tumbling to the ground, expecting to be awarded a penalty.
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However, English ref Madley incredibly decided not to give the spot-kick. Instead, a corner was awarded after another Saudi defender kicked the ball out of play.
Son was incredulous at the decision and replays showed the forward laughing in disbelief. Korea went on to win 1-0 thanks to Cho Gue-Sung’s goal just minutes before Son felt he should have been awarded a penalty.
The Spurs icon has enjoyed a successful start to the season under Ange Postecoglou. The North Londoners are unbeaten in their first four Premier League games, impressing in a more progressive system since the Australian’s appointment.
Son struck a wonderful hat-trick in Spurs’ 5-2 thrashing of Burnley prior to the international break. He has also taken on the captaincy following the outcasting of Hugo Lloris and the departure of Harry Kane to Bayern Munich.
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Postecoglou has used Son out wide and as a central striker this season. And the star’s qualities were partly why Spurs decided not to sign a top-quality replacement for Kane.
The Spurs boss said this month: “It’s not exactly why [we didn’t sign a replacement], but it’s one of the reasons. I’ve got a picture in my head of what I want the team to look like and I keep saying that we’re still at the beginning.
“It’s about putting all the pieces together and, at the same time, not neglecting what’s right in front of you. Sonny, whether he’s playing central or wide, has got all the characteristics. He can play in any system, but the way we play, he’s ideal.”
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