Son Heung-min: Tottenham star avoids national service following Asian Cup gold

    South Korea's Son Heung-min, left, duels for the ball against Japan's Teruki Hara during Saturday's match.

    (CNN)England Premier League star Son Heung-min won't have to do national service and instead can see out his contract with Tottenham Hotspur uninterrupted after South Korea won gold in the Asian Games final against Japan.

    The 26-year-old Spurs forward and his South Korea teammates secured their exemptions with the 2-1 win in extra time over regional rivals Japan at Indonesia's Pakan Sari Stadium outside Jakarta Saturday night local time (Saturday morning ET).
    Any South Korean athletes who win Olympic medals or Asian Games titles are exempt from the usual military conscription, and Son set up both Korean goals to help capture his and his teammates' dispensations Saturday.
      After the first 90 minutes ended 0-0, South Korea opened the scoring three minutes into extra time. Son dribbled in the penalty area and knocked the ball to avoid a defender, allowing teammate Lee Seungwoo to run onto it and drill it into the net.
        In the 101st minute, Hawang Hee Chan headed home Son's corner to make it 2-0.
        Japan's Ayase Ueda scored later from a header, but the Koreans held on, with a grinning Son embracing his teammates at the final whistle.
        The victory for Son and his teammates added to the Korean medal tally, bringing it to 49 golds at the games, the third highest total for this edition of the tournament, after Japan and table-topping China.
          Under the country's law, all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 35 are required to perform at least 21 months of military service. The Defense Ministry has pledged to reduce the term to 18 months by 2020.
          Son Heung-min has made more than 100 appearances for Tottenham since joining in 2015.

          Lucky addition

          Son's addition in the squad -- he's one of three overage players allowed under the Games' Olympic-like rules -- was a lucky get-out for the pacy forward after he missed his chance for exemption in 2014, when the South Korean team also won Asian Games gold.
          At the time his German Bundesliga club, Bayer Leverkusen, refused to release him -- the tournament isn't officially recognized by FIFA, and clubs aren't obliged to release their stars.
          This time around Son didn't play in the first two group games against Malaysia and Bahrain but scored the winner against Kyrgyzstan and was a starter in the quarterfinal win over Uzbekistan, the semifinal against Vietnam and Saturday's final.
          The striker scored Sou