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Tottenham star Son opens up on 'very aggressive' Korean derby

12:06 PM MYT 17/10/2019
Son Heung-min South Korea 2019
The South Korean attacker is relieved to have touched down safely after an intense mid-week clash

Tottenham star Son Heung-min has described South Korea's recent clash against North Korea as "very aggressive" with the two nations drawing 0-0 in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.

The match was played in front of an empty Kim II-Sung Stadium with no fans allowed in to watch the contest which saw each side receive two yellow cards. 

North Korea are currently ranked 113th in the world, with South Korea in 37th, making the draw a surprise result. 

Son was the biggest name involved in the contest and revealed just how intense it was facing off against his country's northern neighbours. 

"It's too bad that we didn't win, but the match was very aggressive to a degree that I think it's a huge achievement just to return safely without being injured," Son told reporters at Incheon airport on Thursday morning.

"North Korean players were sensitive and aggressive.There was a lot of severe swearing."

Son also said he wasn't shocked to play in an empty stadium and slept better after not being allowed to use his phone while in Pyongyang. 

The vice president of the Korea Football Association, Choi Young-il, went even further than Son in criticising how North Korea played the match. 

"It was like war. I've never seen such [aggression] in football until now," he said. 

South Korea's coach Paulo Bento meanwhile lamented how his own side played and the performance of the referee. 

"It wasn't a good match at all. We didn't execute what we'd prepared," Bento told reporters.

"We didn't have a great first half in particular, and the opponents held us in check. We got better in the second half, but there were too many stoppages of play because of the referee."

FIFA president Gianni Infantino was left disappointed by the spectacle in general and wasn't happy foreign media had their access to the match limited. 

"I was looking forward to seeing a full stadium for such a historic match but was disappointed to see there were no fans in the stands," Infantino in an interview published on the FIFA website.

"We were surprised by this and by several issues related to its live broadcast and problems with visas and access for foreign journalists.

"For us, freedom of the press and freedom of speech are obviously paramount, but on the other hand it would be naive to think we can change the world from one minute to the next."