Koreans Footballing in Europe / Preview of Weekend Oct 5-7

Park Chu-Young controls the ball past Sevilla's Brazilian defender Cicinho. AFP Photo/Miguel Riopa

Oct 5, 2012

Park Chu-Young controls the ball past Sevilla’s Brazilian defender Cicinho. AFP Photo/Miguel Riopa

Koreans playing in top flight European football this weekend of October 5-7, right let’s get to it…with a review of a game (these Friday games are screwing up my previewing): Park Chu-Young already got saw action Friday night in Spain, his second start in a row for Celta Vigo in their home match against Sevilla. Sevilla had been a giant killer earlier this year when they took down Real Madrid and almost got a win over Barcelona. Celta was on top of Sevilla most of the match and at various times showed a nice fluid sense of play. Chu-Young best moments were in the first half, being a part of that flowing offense that kept Sevilla’s defenders chasing but never establishing meaningful possession. His performance varied overall, but he had some very good looks at goal, beginning in the 10th minute with an attempt to track down Andrés Túñez header near the far post. Park just missed the ball and slid into Sevilla’s netminder right as he got a hand to knock it away (Iago Aspas was right behind and narrowly missed the rebound). 18 minutes later, Park got dangerous and managed to get about 14 yards in front of the net before launching powerful shot partially screened by Sevilla’s centerbacks. Andres Palop couldn’t handle his shot and it rebounded several feet in front of him; unfortunately no one from Celta was in position to take advantage and Sevilla’s defense booted it out of danger. Park also took turns being playmaker; in the 24th minute, his flick to Álex López gave him a grand chance at goal -but Lopez’s right footed shot was saved by Palop. Chu-Young on two separate occasions executed great passes that found Iago Aspas in front of Sevilla’s net -both exchanges ended without a change to the scoreboard. While he mostly hunkered up front, a handful of times he tracked back to help out defensively, twice pressuring Sevilla players to misplace their passes.  As foreshadowed before, his performance wasn’t without some glaring errors, particularly in the 44th minute on a very strange “dummy” play, executed on a set piece that looked to be a golden opportunity for Park to strike the net. Park somehow eluded his defender and suddenly was facing the ball as it’s coming straight at him from Iago Aspas’ freekick (hold your breath) — Park hopped over Iago Aspas’s free kick and the ball harmlessly rolled out for a goal kick (now you can exhale in agony). It looked as if he anticipated another teammate to come right behind to finish it.  If you can’t visual this “dummy” play, check out this video from the Guardian published recently.  Somehow Serbia’s U-17 side managed to pull this off successfully.

Second half, Park is slightly off his game; Chu-Young is fed the ball deep in Sevilla territory and while trying to elude his defender on the right flank, lost the ball with a slightly heavy touch and watched it go out of bounds for a goal kick. Paco Herrera decided to substitute Park with Mario Bermejo in the 57th minute.  He came off the field to applause for today’s go at it -the Balaidos still have fresh appreciation of Park’s game winning goal there only 2 weeks ago. Only a mere 2 minutes later, following a Hedwiges Maduro handball, Iago Aspas converted a penalty kick to finally put a notch in the scoreboard. Enrique De Lucas replaced Iago Aspas in the 83rd, and 2 minutes afterwards De Lucas heads down a Augusto Fernández cross and Celta Vigo’s mastery of Sevilla is complete.  Celta Vigo’s 2-0 win temporarily places them in 8th place in the La Liga table, and more importantly they have 9 crucial points. I’m beginning to think, Celta Vigo is fast becoming the surprise under-the-radar team to reckon with this year in LaLiga.  Next up for Celta Vigo: REAL MADRID at the Bernabeu on OCTOBER 20th. Whoa!  The s*@t is about to get real. [Note: Santiago Perez blogged before the game on his website about Park looking slightly injured in the same knee that gave him problems post-celebrating his first LaLiga goal. There was initial doubt whether Park would start against Sevilla. This may have factored into Herarra’s decision to sub out Park early in the 57th minute. It leaves it an open question about the eventual lineup against Real Madrid].

Ok we got one more Friday update to run through before we preview Saturday’s matches. For this we go to Germany: FC Augsburg finally got a win, going 3-1 over Werder Bremen. That doesn’t mean they still aren’t in deep trouble this season, but it does mean Koo Ja-Cheol’s side is just out of the relegation zone. He’s still out with a month to go in his recovery of a ankle tendon injury, but a healthy Koo is deemed critical for Augsburg to stay alive in the Bundesliga this year. Oddly enough, the team he was loaned from, Wolfsburg, switched places and now sits at 17th in the middle of the rel’ zone.

SATURDAY

{we’re referencing Eastern Standard Time US time from henceforth}

England, Manchester City vs. Sunderland 7:30 a.m. ESPN3, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com

Ji Dong-Won has yet to see any time on pitch for Sunderland, what with Steven Fletcher being practically their only goal-to guy (WHEET!!! Whistle blows and it’s a yellow card for using that terrible pun again- used in an earlier Tavern post).  Still, Martin O’Neil could use Ji as he scored the only goal in last year’s New Years Day surprise win over mighty Man City. Another interesting (but useless when it comes to finding love) fact: Sunderland was the ONLY team in the Premier League last season to get 4 points over on Manchester City.  Martin, this is the time, this is the moment. Have some balls man and put Ji in the game!

Sorry, I’ve been warned by the refs to stay classy or else. Moving on…

Germany, Hamburg SV vs. SpVgg Gruther Furth 9:30 am (no tv ?)

Son Heung-Min had scored 2 games in a row, found the Son-Van der Vaart connection and downed the great Borussia Dortmund before last week’s match vs Hoffenheim. Son scored -but it was ruled offsides and his scoring game streak ended. They still won 1-0 and on Saturday we’re likely to be treated to some more Son-Van der Vaart fireworks. Hamburg has not only managed to climb out of the relegation zone, they are now comfortably in midtable in the Bundesliga.  Let’s see how they fare against James Bond’s newest diabolical villain (Ref didn’t catch that bad tackle. Whew!).

Germany, Mainz vs. Fortuna Dusseldorf 9:30 am (no tv ?)

Cha Du-Ri has been getting some consistent minutes, holding the backline and preserving narrow victories in their last few matches for Dusseldorf.

England, Swansea vs. Reading 10 a.m. foxsoccer2go.com (tape at 3:30 on Fox Soccer)

Ki Sung-Yeung will be a likely starter, as he’s been a stalwart midfielder (and at times centerback!?) for the Swans. Their defense however has been banged up, red carded and been run roughshod with 3 losses in a row as a consequence. Ki recently announced his new mission to get Swans back on a winning track. Good thought, but it will take a team effort to right this ship. Will Ladrup be able to patch together a solid lineup to take advantage of Reading and get back to fanciful and entertaining football? Tavern Prediction: Look for Ki to get his first Premier League goal of the season. 

England, Ipwich Town vs. Cardiff City 10 a.m. (no Tv?)

Kim Bo-Kyung…there’s murmurings Kim may have a chance at his first start  for Cardiff.  I’m going to let friend of the Tavern and BigSoccer Koreans Abroad forum poster CJay take it away: “Just to let people know it looks like Bellamy won’t be in the squad tomorrow therefore there is a free space available as Smith is still injured and Mutch may also be unavailable. Therefore there probably is a space for either Kimbo or Cowie at right midfield or possibly Kimbo at attacking midfield, depending how Malky wants to set the team up. As Ipswich are Cardiff’s bogey team, I think we will set up slightly defensively and play Cowie at RM.”   Our man in Cardiff has made the bold prediction, maybe a start for Kim Bo-Kyung. Right, the Tavern can’t wait to see his report on Cardiff and this N-Power Championship clash later this weekend on the Tavern. With last Tuesday’s win over  Birmingham, Cardiff now sits at the top of the N-Power Championship table.

England, Millwall vs. Bolton 10 a.m. (no Tv)

What is going on with Owen Coyle and his Bolton Wanderers side?  Wandering ever closer to the relegation zone of England’s second tier of professional football mind you. He elected to not utilize Lee Chung-Yong in last tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Leeds.  There’s indications Owen will give Lee some playing time to help Bolton get back to a winning form.

England, West Brom vs. QPR 10 a.m. foxsoccer2go.com (tape at 5:30 on Fox Soccer)

Oh Ji-Sung. What can we say at the Tavern?  Ever since Park Ji-Sung cast his fate to the wind and left Manchester United for the uncharted waters of Queens Park Rangers, he has gotten tremendous more playing time, but Mark Hughes’ side overall have not made virtually no progress to their midtable dreams thus far. They still are looking for their first win and are in deep trouble. How deep? They’re dead last in the Premier League. Still, it’s not a hopeless cause for the Rangers. It’s only October – if they manage to get a few wins, it’s not inconceivable for QPR to leapfrog over Reading, Norwich and Southampton and possibly find some distance away from the relegation zone. Park looked frustrated last week. Let’s see if the captain and team can salvage their season, starting with a blowout performance against West Brom. Tavern prediction: QPR 4 – West Brom 1 with Park scoring his first of the season for his new side. 

SUNDAY

Switzerland, FC Basel vs Servette 10 am (no Tv?)

Park JooHo continues to be holding down the leftback position for his swiss side. FC Basel are currently in 4th in the Swiss SuperLeague.

INTERNATIONAL BREAK

…. in the days before we get all the way to seeing Park Chu-Young and Celta Vigo going into the belly of the Bernabeu for their clash with Real Madrid on Oct 20th, we got a number of Koreans in Europe getting called up for South Korea’s World Cup Qualifier against Iran on October 16th. There’s some time and distance before that matchup, so we’ll wait to post further on the Taeguk Warriors another day. Have a great weekend and see you at the Tavern soon. Did I manage to escape this post without earning a red card?

About Roy Ghim 382 Articles
The old Tavern Owner