Monday September 17
A quiet weekend for Koreans playing in Europe overall, mostly due to coaches resting players who played for the Korean National team last week -nevertheless some exciting developments: Son Heung-Min scored in the second half for Hamburg SV in their Bundesliga match vs Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday, becoming the first Korean abroad to score in top flight European soccer this season. The Van der Vaart-Son connection is proving fruitful as the former Tottenham midfielder set up Son, who rounded Eintracht goalkeeper Kevin Trapp for the score in the 63rd minute. It kept Hamburg SV in the game, but a Petr Jiracek red card was too much to overcome as Hamburg couldn’t find a late equalizer. Hamburg SV goes down 3-2 and is still winless thus far.
Park Chu-Young made his debut for Celta Vigo, coming in the 72nd minute for Iago Aspas in a 2-1 loss to Valencia in La Liga action last saturday. Celta Vigo was dominant in possession in the 1st half, but other than a Gustavo Cabral strike in the 16th, couldn’t take advantage and lost steam by the 2nd half. Park was reported to have a few good touches, but didn’t get any good looks at goal.
Sometime after the game, he gave an interview which was picked up by a Spanish Celta Vigo blogger. You can read it here. Amazingly, much of the blog is about Park Chu-Young -this coming from a native Vigo resident, Santiago Perez. According to Perez, he became interested in Park after his 6 year old son took to the Korean striker during the Summer Olympics. The blog has some English grammatical errors, but that can easily be overlooked: the nearly daily posts, insider knowledge about Celta Vigo, and first hand accounts and photos of training sessions showing a smiling PCY getting along with his new teammates, man this stuff is solid gold! Blog@truespain about Park Chu-Young-Rainmaker is the title of the blog. Check it out.
Park Ji-Sung over at QPR had a lively game against London rivals Chelsea, but could only get a scoreless draw. Still, the game gave Loftus Road residents hope that their season can be salvaged. Park had the best opportunity to become the first Korean to make it past the score line this season Saturday with a dead on header at the 55th minute in front; it harmlessly fell right to Petr Cech [live bloggers for the Guardian commented that Park’s effort, ‘was weaker than a 5 year old’s header’. Ouch]. Other QPR players including Bobby Zamora joined Park in the shoulda’ scored column. Still, Park was an instrumental part of a respectable performance by QPR, which maintained 52% ball possession over Chelsea. Newly signed goalkeeper Julio Cesar was stellar for QPR, and kept several dangerous shots away from the back of the net.
Over to the Netherlands, Hyun Jun-Suk saw the last 17 minutes of a lopsided 3-0 defeat for FC Groningen -mind you, they had the 1 man advantage after Vitesse Arnhem’s Jan-Arie Van Der Heijden was booted off with a red card at the half!
Everyone else was being rested and did not see action.
Saturday, Ki Sung-Yeung witnessed Swansea fall to Aston Villa 2-0. Ji Dong-Won observed a 1-1 tie between Sunderland and Liverpool (did get to see some impressive stuff from Raheem Sterling. The Liverpool teenager was incredibly dangerous on the offense. I’m predicting he will be turning heads and providing fullback ulcers this season). I honestly thought Kim Bo-Kyung would debut for Cardiff City in the English Championship League play, but did get to hang around to see a 2-1 victory over Leeds United. Bolton didn’t use Lee Chung-Yong in a 2-1 win over Watford.
Koo Ja-Cheol still injured (and unable to cut up the rug at dance halls in Germany); fortunately for team FC Augsburg, they were able to stop some hemorrhaging in their with a scoreless draw at home with Wolfburg on Friday.
*Both Kim Bo-Kyung and Lee Chung-Yong may get minutes on Tuesday. Birmingham City at Bolton and Cardiff City visiting Millwall, both games starting at 2:45 pm.