Talk about a plot twist: Ji Dong-Won scores against his future employers Borussia Dortmund, his equalizer for Augsburg coming on his first touch of the game. Sunderland now wonders again what they had let go in the transfer window (especially as their designated strikers are struggling as of late). Falling behind to Borussia Dortmund 2-1, it looked like another win for the European Champion runner-ups. Cue Ji, coming in off the bench in the 70th minute. It took less than 2 minutes for the ex-Sunderland man to head the ball from a tight angle – a ball magnificently placed in the box by a brilliant Andre Hahn cross. A quick snap of the head redirected the ball past Weidenfeller’s outstretched hand, into the far corner post, and bounced on into the net!
There’s a number of media articles already talking about the irony in Ji’s goal. Stefan Buczko in ESPNFC writes, “…another twist. In German, it’s the term ‘ausgerechnet’ whenever a player scores a goal that has some kind of storyline behind it. It translates into ‘calculated’ and it was ‘ausgerechnet’ Dong-Won Ji — who is Dortmund-bound next season — who set the final scoreline.”
There’s a lot going on today (and there’s still the Korea v Costa Rica game tonight), so this isn’t the official roundup yet -but here’s a quick glance around Europe:
- Possibly a record has been set today:
Park Ji Sung starts for PSV. I think it’s a new record. 9 Korean players in European Leagues all played some part for their team today!
— 스포츠동아 영국통신원 허유미 (@Rachel_Hur) January 25, 2014
So let’s see who these 9 are.
There’s Hong Jeong-Ho, he joined up with Ji late in the match in central defense for Augsburg…
Park Joo-Ho started for Mainz, Koo Ja-Cheol came on later in the 59th minute. Park apparently had a killer pass that picked out Saller -who knocked in the game winner against Stuttgart…there’s a nice video replay of that -we’ll save it for the roundup…
Kim Bo-Kyung and Lee Chung-Yong faced each other in 4th round FA Cup action respectively for Cardiff and Bolton. Both had solid performances, but in particular (from what I saw), the Blue Dragon was a beast for Bolton. Don’t have exact numbers in front of me, but I gathered he had generated the most opportunities for the Wanderers. Lee was unlucky not to score on 2 occasions. Meanwhile, Kim was exquisite in his passing and ball control, though he did foul Lee twice – including tugging his shirt to stop a Lee inspired counter-attack -which drew a yellow card for Kimbo. In the 89th minute, Kimbo nearly doubled the score, a clear shot that Bolton’s Lonergan did well to block. A Frazier Campbell goal in the 50th- in truth a howler past Lonergan, was just enough to advance the Bluebirds (in red as their away kit?!) onward.
Son Heung-Min played 82 minutes in a 3-2 Bayer Leverkusen loss against a surprisingly spritely Freiburg squad. He had a terrific opportunity to score on a breakaway in the 2nd half, his shot just wide of goal. Winning the Korean Footballer of the Year could’ve been the jinx (my lame theory). He was replaced by none other than Ryu Seung-Woo! It was suggested earlier when he just transferred on loan from Jeju United a few weeks ago that the 19 year old would be in the reserves or go on loan to another team. His form during winter training impressed enough to make the first team. Despite the loss, Ryu showed in the few minutes he had why all fuss was being made about him – some exquisite quality on display including a cheeky back heel pass to develop a scoring opportunity…
Ki Sung-Yeung rested (finally!) for Sunderland in their FA Cup match encounter with Kidderminster, leaving our 9th and final player to see action today, a veteran all these players looked up to when coming over to Europe: Park Ji-Sung started for PSV Eindhoven…
Hmmm…feels like a roundup…well we will have the official roundup later, our new Tavern writer Tim Lee to monitor Ji-Sung’s game and fill in with a different perspective on the day’s events – especially since the Korea / Costa Rica match has yet to play out (9 pm EST / 5pm PST / 10 am Sunday Korea Time). In the US, the match is broadcast by ESPN Deportes. With Ji’s goal, the Taeguk-gi flag remains flying at the Tavern today.
Last thought: When Ki is done resting up for the Blackcats, if/when Park Chu-Young has a new team to transfer to, and if the very young Kim Young-“Kiu” solidifies his place with Almeria’s first team, in the future we could see up to 12 Korean footballers seeing top flight European action per weekend (thanks Tavern Statistician -but using simple addition doesn’t get you off the hook). A look in the rear view mirror for Ji as we all breath a sigh of relief – what an important transfer window – and to think he could have still been languishing on Sunderland’s bench instead of scoring vital goals against Champions League quality teams…and scoring goals for them after July! Om-in-ahhhhh!