DUBAI: Son Heung-min made an instant impact on his arrival at the Asian Cup by leading South Korea to a 2-0 victory over China to make it three wins from three and claim top spot in Group C.

With both teams already through to the competition’s knockout phase, Son, who arrived in the Emirates earlier this week after being released by Tottenham Hotspur, captained the two-time champions of Asia as goals from Hwang Ui-jo and Kim Min-Jae saw the Taeguk Warriors set up a second round meeting against one of the best third-placed finishers from either group A, B or F in Dubai next Tuesday.

In the other concluding Group C tie Kyrgyz Republic qualified for the knockout round as one of the best third-placed teams – along with Bahrain – after defeating Philippines 3-1 at the Rashid Stadium.

Marcello Lippi’s Chinese side finished second in the Group C and will now face Thailand in Al Ain on Sunday.

The match against South Korea began at a frenetic pace, with China goalkeeper Yan Junling reacting smartly to deny Hwang Ui-jo in quick succession and Kim Min-jae heading Son’s corner narrowly wide on eight minutes.

Five minutes later, Korea Republic were ahead, the influential Son weaving his way into the Chinese penalty area before being brought down by Shi Ke’s outstretched leg. Hwang Ui-jo duly dispatched the spot-kick.

China could have drawn level in the 19th minute when Jin Jingdao latched onto Zhao Xuri’s raking pass but proceeded to sky his shot over the bar with only Kim Seung-gyu to beat.

Shortly after that, Hwang Hee-chan’s drilled effort then forced Yan into another fine stop, and in the final noteworthy moment of an absorbing first-half contest, Hwang Ui-jo hit an upright with a wonderful curling effort as Korea Republic’s dominance showed no sign of abating.

Within six minutes of the restart, the Koreans had a second, Kim Min-Jae this time finding the target with a bullet header from another pinpoint Son corner.