Bordeaux striker Hwang Ui-jo scored his first hat-trick in France on Sunday, beating Strasbourg three times to become the highest Asian goalscorer in French Ligue 1 history.
Hwang quickly put Bordeaux on the board, netting his first goal of the game in the 17th minute at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux. A second goal from Albert Elis in the 21st minute extended the lead, before Hwang followed up on goals in the 39th and 90th minutes. Strasbourg did not go down without a fight, scoring three goals to end the game at 4-3.
All three of Hwang’s goals came in spectacular fashion, taking advantage of his considerable speed to deliver in different ways.
For the opening goal, Hwang was able to dash across the box to pick up a stray cross and ram it into the top left corner of the goal. The second goal was perhaps the most impressive, with Hwang capturing a long cross deep in the Strasbourg half, beating a defender and sending the ball flying past the goalkeeper with his left foot from outside the box. .
For Goal 3, Hwang collected the ball just past the halfway line and sprinted the full length of the pitch, again beating the lone defender to send a skidding low shot through the net and past the goalkeeper. Like the second goal, Hwang’s arrival came from outside the box.
The win gave Bordeaux three much-needed points after a three-game losing streak that sees the club languishing in 17th place in the 20-team league.
The hat trick also earned Hwang his place in French football history as Asia’s top scorer in Ligue 1.
The record was previously held by Ulsan Hyundai Park striker Chu-young, who scored 25 goals in his three seasons with Monaco. Hwang equaled that record with his first goal against Strasbourg, beat it with his second and took it to 27 goals by the end of Sunday’s game.
Hwang has played for Bordeaux since 2019 and has been a prolific goalscorer in recent years. Last season, Hwang was Bordeaux’s top scorer with 12 Ligue 1 goals. He has been in fine form again this season, with nine goals so far, although the hat-trick ended a dry spell in the Premier League. a month since his last goal against Troyes on December 12.
Hwang’s return to form also couldn’t have come at a better time for the Korean national team, with qualifying for the Qatar 2022 World Cup set to resume this week. The Bordeaux striker is a national team regular and his role is likely to be even more important for the next two games – against Lebanon on Thursday and Syria on February 1 – with both Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min and Hwang Hee-chan of Wolverhampton Wanderers injured.
Son’s absence makes Hwang Ui-jo one of the most experienced forwards in the national team, and he will likely lead a younger offensive line in qualifying.
BY JIM BULLEY [[email protected]]