Son Hwa-yeon, who scored a hat trick in the second leg of the Hyundai Steel 2023 WK League championship match at Incheon Namdong Stadium on Friday to lead Incheon Hyundai Steel to an ‘upset win’ and was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP), said.
Son wasn’t even on the substitutes list for the first leg against Suwon FC on Nov. 19.
She was called up to the national team last month for the Paris 2024 Olympic qualifying schedule.
She also missed the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Club Championship group stage match in Uzbekistan earlier this month as a result of the injury.
She was left out of the traveling squad and had to rehabilitate on her own in Incheon.
By the time of the first leg of the championship, she was back to full fitness. According to Son Hwa-yeon, he was at a level where he could play in a match after taping. However, Hyundai head coach Kim Eun-sook decided to rest him.
At the press conference after the second game of the championship, Son Hwa-yeon smiled and nodded when asked if she felt resentful or resented Coach Kim.
“My body wasn’t perfect, but I still wanted to play, and I would have been grateful if he let me play,” she said, adding, “I’m glad I was able to show it in the second game.”
Hyundai Steel, whose chances of winning the championship were clouded by a 1-3 loss in the first game, scored four goals in the first half of the second game to win 6-2. With a combined score of 7-5 in the first and second games, the team won its 11th consecutive title.
Three of the four first-half goals were scored by Son Hwa-yeon. Son Hwa-yeon is arguably the “star” of the victory.
Coach Kim Eun-sook said, “I think being left out of the first game gave her a boost. She definitely showed her presence,” Kim said, adding, “She is probably the first player to score a hat trick in the WK League Championship.”
Sohn credits Hyundai Steel’s “winning DNA” as the biggest driver of the overall victory.
“We were worried (about not winning the title after the first game) because we were down by two points and Suwon was a very strong team,” she said, “but we believed in the name ‘Hyundai,’ so I think we got a good result.”
Son Hwa-yeon also shared a story about getting revenge on Suwon FC’s “ace” Ji So-yeon, who is also a teammate.
Right before the game, Ji-so-yeon approached her and asked if she was going to play.
“When I told her I was going to start, she teased me, saying, ‘Aren’t you being a bitch,'” Son Hwa-yeon giggled.
“I didn’t say anything, but I told her that I would show her on the field, and I’m glad that I was able to show her,” she added with a twinkle in her eye. 슬롯게이밍