Weekend Roundup / Korea advances to Asia Game Semifinal

Asian Game result in: women’s suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 semifinal loss to North Korea, a last second game winner gifted by a defensive meltdown by Lim Seon-Joo.  That came just minutes after South Korea’s Ji So-Yun hit the crossbar – so close but not enough to secure passage to the gold medal match.

However a closing minute PK gave South Korea’s men a 1-0 haniljeon victory over Japan in the Asian Games quarterfinals last Saturday. Sets up a semifinal with Thailand on Tuesday [7am US EST / 8pm Korea Time].  Let’s now go to Koreans in Europe and K-League weekend roundup…

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K-League Classic -round 28

Saturday, September 27
Busan IPark
1
Final
Seongnam
0
Jeju United
0
Final
Incheon
2
Sangju Sangmu
0
Final
Suwon
1
Sunday, September 28
Steelers
2
Final
Jeonbuk
2
Dragons
1
Final
Ulsan
1

 

 K-League Classic: the highly anticipated showdown between Pohang and Jeonbuk in the end didn’t change things for the top 1 and 2 position in the table (you can watch the Spotv replay here), however with Busan Ipark victory over fellow bottom dweller Seongnam, the race to escape the drop gets even more interesting with a 3 way tie at the bottom between Busan, Gyeongnam and Seongnam.  5 points separates the bottom 5.     According to Jae, there’s only 5 rounds left until the split table is sealed, leaving Ulsan in 7th place desperate to try to leapfrog over Chunnam and FC Seoul.  

 

quick notables of Koreans in Europe:

        • BVB’s Ji Dong-Won is not being rushed back to getting first squad minutes after being injured at the beginning of the season – Klopp preferring to ‘loan’ him to BVBII where he played the full 90 minutes and apparently did well. He earned a PK for his efforts.

 

 

      • ex Monaco man Park Chu-Young, after a disaster spell at Arsenal, reportedly is in negotiations with Al Shabab (Riyadh in Saudia Arabia).

 

      Looking ahead to midweek for KPA action, we go to Korean Footballers Abroad:

    • Tuesday Kim Bo Kyung and Cardiff go to Brighton at 2:45 PM ET.  No TV and most likely no KBK as he’s not been part of first team in a long, long time.

 

 

    • Wednesday Son Heung Min and Leverkusen host Benfica at 2:45 PM ET.  DirecTV and ESPN3. DishTV: [on some random channel – not kidding]. Son was fairly mediocre on the weekend, but almost won it with a nice free kick off the post.  Leverkusen struggled overall.  Son should start if he’s fresh. Lee Chung Yong and Bolton go to Fulham at 3:00 PM ET.  No TV.  Reportedly he played pretty poorly Saturday so maybe he gets rested on the bench.

 

 

    • Quick recap of Asian Games, men’s tournament – it was close but the U23 hybrid squad won the haniljeon (South Korea usually does in the Asia Games) – albeit against a U21 Japan squad. The Japanese captain Oshima made a reckless challenge, resulting in a PK in the 88th minute that Jang Hyun-Soo converted. Earlier, GK Kim Seung-Gyu finally was tested – and came through with a brilliant save.  According to Tavern contributors Tim Lee and Jinseok Yang who were able to tune in, Korea’ defense, normally the weak link in most any Korean squad, was actually playing their best of the tournament.

 

 

Closing thoughts: I watched the 2nd half of the women’s Asian Games semis, another loss to North Korea – though politics aside, I shouldn’t be surprised and yet I am at how well the North Koreans play.  Composed, good footwork, great linkup play all added up to a fairly attractive style of attack.  All this despite closed internal competition – it’s not like the North Koreans have a lot of pro club competition to keep the squad active throughout the year outside of international tourneys. Of course, in these competitions, their sole purpose in being is to 1. beat South Korea and/or Japan and 2. not get tortured for results that might bring shame on the ‘dear leader’.

South Korea’s women had a good tournament overall despite the loss, but generally had been untested with weaker opponents. High flying scorelines like 15-0 were the norm in group play.  Group stage, these women could score like it was nobody’s business. North Korea was their first real worthy opponent, but while South Korea’s offense gave the North Koreans trouble, South Korea’s defense in comparison was suspect, particularly the left side.  I don’t want to give Lim Seon-Joo a complex, but she (and possibly someone else in the backline, don’t know her name) was incredibly nervous, lost possession quite a bit and made poor passing decisions that helped North Korea pen the South Koreans in their half for long stretches of time.

Nevertheless, there was something different with this squad, a spunky swagger throughout the tournament that was refreshing to see.  Hopefully that will return for the Women’s World Cup next year in Canada, a winning attitude, important lessons learned from this tournament, and defensive leaks fixed.

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The old Tavern Owner