January 25, 2022 09:30
Hwang Ui-jo of FC Girondins de Bordeaux has scored his first hat trick since his European debut, setting a new record for the most goals by an Asian player in the French league.
He led his team to a 4-3 victory in a home match against RC Strasbourg Alsace in France's Ligue 1 on Sunday. He scored his seventh, eighth and ninth goals of the season in the match, about 40 days after he scored his sixth in a match against ESTAC Troyes on Dec. 12 last year, putting him eighth in scoring in the league.
Hwang joined Bordeaux from Gamba Osaka in Japan's J-League in July 2019.
He has scored 27 goals in 77 league matches since joining the French club, breaking Park Chu-young's record for the most goals by an Asian player in Ligue 1. Park scored 25 goals in 91 matches for AS Monaco from 2008 to 2011.
The end of Hwang's goal drought is good news for the national team, which is competing in the final round of Asian qualifiers for the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The team will face Lebanon on Thursday and Syria on Feb. 1.
With key attackers like Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur and Hwang Hee-chan of Wolverhampton Wonderers currently excluded from the roster due to injuries, his scoring ability will be badly needed. On Monday he joined the national squad in Turkey, where they are training ahead of the qualifiers.
Korea is currently ranked second in its group with 14 points from four wins and two draws, behind Iran with 16 points from five wins and one draw. The top two teams from each group will advance to the World Cup in November.
With four matches left, Korea is eight points ahead of the UAE, which is placed third with 6 points from one win, three draws and two losses.
Korea is highly likely to secure a spot at the World Cup if it wins one of the two upcoming matches.
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