Midweek Listing / Champions League+Korean FA Cup semis

Quite a weekend – Yun Suk-Young alive and kicking -even if it’s at bottom dwelling QPR, Park Chu-YoungSon Heung-Min and Suk Hyun-Jun scoring goals -almost the fastest hat-trick in Bundesliga history for Son if it weren’t for the damn crossbar. But it’s already been covered -let’s instead get to midweek action – for that we go to Korean Footballers Abroad:

Tuesday:

Lee Chung Yong and Bolton go to Charlton Athletic.  Obviously so many matches between KNT and club duty put him at risk but he also was reportedly one of the best on the weekend given a central role by new manager Lennon.  He should start.  Tuesday 1:45 PM ET with no TV.

 

Kim Bo Kyung and Cardiff host Ipswich Town.  Kimbo didn’t make the squad last weekend and I doubt a change for Tuesday.  Tuesday 1:45 PM ET with no TV.

 

 

Wednesday:

Son Heung Min and Leverkusen host FC Zenit….Leverkusen need his explosiveness and he should start again Wednesday.  1:45 PM ET on ESPN3 / DirecTV.

 

And we’re getting down to the semi final stage of the Korean FA Cup -both on Wednesday – same kickoff times:

 

-Which sets up an interesting situation – potentially a relegation bound team in Sangju may have a chance to win the FA Cup and an Asian Champions League spot. Reminds me of Man City losing to Wigan in 2013. But I’m getting ahead of myself – we’re not at the final stage yet.

and for a little something extra: turns out Koo Ja-Cheol is injured again, this time an ankle injury kept him out of last weekend’s game for Mainz.  Bad luck for him this season – he’s been out of action for quite some time now. Koo’s teammate Park Joo-ho has indicated he doesn’t believe his ankle knock (from last week’s friendly with Costa Rica) is serious and he expects to be back on the pitch soon.

Meanwhile, new Bolton boss Neil Lennon has continued to gush on and on about Lee Chung-Yong, who put on a terrific performance in their 1-0 win at Birmingham.  The ex-Celtic manager said in the afterglow of the victory, his first in charge of the Wanderers:

and this

Well then. The real interesting development is Lee’s new-ish role as the center mid– perhaps the reason he went into beast mode on Saturday?

 

Since Yun Suk-Young has miraculously resurfaced at QPR – my guess is that Loftus Road support will pressure Redknapp to continue him at left back -especially after directly witnessing his fairly decent performance in the bizarre 2-3 loss to Liverpool Saturday.  Let’s hope for some of that ‘resurfacing magic’ to blow to the west from London to allow Kimbo to capture some of that at Cardiff. That or a winter transfer out. The ex-Cerezo Osaka man has been virtually a non-entity at the club through a tumultuous season – not to mention being name-dropped during the craziness that was Malky-Moody-gate.

 

Turning our attention back to Korea, the season is over in the Women’s Korean League, Mahn-seh and Congratulations to…

And this came to my attention on Jae’s twitter feed:

Apparently there’s been a very long and storied Pyongyang / Seoul derby as far back as the early 1920’s. The Japanese occupation forces put a stop to the popular annual match in the 1930’s but post WWII it was revived again in 1946 -only for the Korean War to put the finishing kibosh on the series. But there’s some traction gaining to re-booting this – which would be neat if they can get past ideological differences to turn this into a reality again.

 

Lastly:  I quoted in the last Tavern hangout – Jerry McNeal – a coach at a top US academy, Bethesda Soccer Club. He went to Germany several times over the years to study on what the Bundesliga clubs and their academies are doing right.  He recently started a new blog, WhyNotUSsoccer which asks why it is that the US hasn’t developed a world class player yet (world class defined as a player in a top Champions League qualifying team) despite decent U17 tournament results. Could the US produce a Müller or Kroos in the future? Anyway, I’m highlighting this blog as it has some parallels into the challenges Korea has in improving it’s football program – at various youth and pro levels (of course it’s not an equal comparison – and not to rub it in but Korea already produced a few world class players- Son and Park Ji-Sung come to mind. However it’d be nice if we had a few more to add to that list).  I’ll probably be quoting from Jerry and his blog in the future when talking about the way forward from the 2014 World Cup fiasco. Anyway, his most recent post delves into Iceland -it shockingly beat Netherlands 2-0 last week- despite some overwhelming factors that on the surface limits Icelandic football. From all accounts, their development program is beating the odds. Could that be applied to the US (and reading between the lines for myself -is there anything here Korea can take away?)

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5 Comments

    • I think there were some issues surrounding their finances, but (I may be wrong here) those have been straightened out to fall within the AFC’s guidelines. I think their ability to return to the top flight also hinged on the same issues. At a glance, I don’t see anything in the AFC’s guidelines for continental participation that would rule out Sangju.

      • Oh I don’t mean financial issues. I’m talking about the fact that Sangju is a military team that is almost, if not entirely, consisted of players on loan.

        • Derek, I thought and still think the same thing. I was under the impression that they would be ineligible to play in an AFC competition due to them not allowing transfers and the whole army thing. This was also the case with the North Korean league, the AFC wouldn’t allow them in to the AFC Cup or whatnot due to the exact same reasons – the transfer rules don’t apply to them.

          Then again, the AFC allowed a North Korean club team into the AFC President’s Cup, below the AFC CL and AFC Cup, just this year. Maybe they would make an exception for Sangju.

        • I don’t think the fact that players are on loan is an issue. As far as I know, as long as they have valid contracts (with a home club and a proper loan contract with Sangju) then that’s fine. My understanding was that there were issues with the fact that the players were being paid army salaries rather than their contract salaries or something like that. Again though, I’m not sure. I will try to find out.

          Update – I am being told (via people on Twitter) that Sangju cannot enter the AFC CL (why exactly has not been explained though).

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