January 17, 2013
Big transfer news, and a bit of a shocker if you ask me: according to Naver.com, SC Braga’s president is reportedly flying to South Korea to seal the deal and bring back to Portugal a certain midfielder, who for the past year has been the on-again/off-again rumored target of several European clubs. That would be none other than Yoon Bit-Garam, a 22 year old Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma player. He made waves back in 2011 as his late extra time goal advanced the Taeguk Warriors past Iran in the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup. Since then, he had what many would describe as a lackluster year for Seongnam, registering only 1 goal for the season. Perhaps Braga’s scouts are seeing something, a potential that others are not seeing in him. There’s always the possibility that by training with their system, they can unlock a truer potential in him. Yoon did make another appearance for the Taeguk Warriors in a World Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan on August 29, 2012. He was substituted into the 2nd half but the team couldn’t find the go ahead goal and the score ended deadlocked at 2-2. SC Braga currently is in 3rd place in the Portuguese Liga Zon Sagres table. They did qualify earlier for the UEFA Champions League, but were eliminated at the Group stage back in December. For some perspective on Yoon’s potential for Braga, let’s take a look at some impressive past performances from the midfielder himself:
To recap some games earlier: the Lady Taeguk Warriors lost to host China in the International Women’s Football Tournament in Yongchuan, losing 0-2. Today was the final game, with Norway winning the entire tournament by drawing with Canada earlier. The South Korean Women’s national team had upset Canada on Monday by an impressive 3-1 score, but lost to Norway 0-2 in their first match.
In FA Cup 3rd round replays, Swansea put up a defensive battle against Arsenal, and it did seem as the game wore on that despite the waves of Arsenal attacks, Swansea might pull through and outlast the Gunners to penalty kicks. But the Swan’s fatigue from the astronomical number of games they’ve played recently was too much to overcome; Jack Wilshire put the game away 1-0 by the 85th minute. As expected, a rotational quasi-experimental lineup for Swansea was announced before the match and Ki Sung-Yeung got a bit of rest on the bench, but not for long. He was called up in the 60th minute, and with a good burst of energy, had some positive impact for the Swans.
In this youtube review of some of his more important touches, Ki in the 79th minute gets in a solid shot that forces Szczesny diving to knock the ball away (other angles suggest the shot was starting to veer away from the post, but it concerned Szczesny enough to make the effort to force it out of bounds). That set up Ki taking the corner kick, a lovely effort that Chico Flores was nearly able to convert. Only minutes after Wilshire’s goal, Ki drove the ball into the edge of the penalty area and almost delivered a through ball to a dangerously positioned Hernandez – but it was weighted a bit too much and sent harmlessly out for a goal kick. (for all you fashionistas, note the South Korean themed armband Ki’s sporting).
In stoppage time, Michu had an opportunity to expand a drive deep into Arsenal territory, but underweighted his pass and with that Arsenal extinguished their last offensive effort. In the loss, there may have been a blessing in disguise as they can now focus attention back on the Premier League and on an upcoming fixture with Chelsea next Wednesday for the Semifinal 2nd leg in the Capital Cup tournament. They are one win away from the final match at Wembley and entry into the UEFA Europa League. Could it be against 4th tier Bradford? Exciting times for the Welsh side no doubt.
Got wind that Suk Hyun-Jun is still around at FC Groningen. That’s good as we didn’t know what his status was – he hadn’t appeared for the team in quite some time. Bad news is that he featured in a youth/reserve match. But we end on a good note, as he scored in that particular youth match yesterday against AZ. We’re not sure what his exact status in the club is currently and what their intent on playing him in the future might be, but in looking at K-Talk’s new re-vamped blog site (quite snazzy, if I do say so), the Tavern just witnessed for the first time a goal he scored against Sunderland in last summer’s Peace Cup match in South Korea. K-Talk was able to film his brilliant strike, a stunning bicycle kick no less! Future potential? It’s hard to say just by looking at one goal, but damn -what a fine finish… take a look here:
Wrapping up some other matches from Wednesday, Hamburg won their exhibition match 2-1 against Hertha. Son Heung-Min got into the affair for the 2nd half. Marcus Berg scored the brace for Hamburg. Finally, a exhibition match tentatively had Park Chu-Young scheduled to start for Celta Vigo, but was postponed due to inclement weather. Celta didn’t want to risk further injuries to their roster. They may reschedule it for next week. Well then, time to add another table (Portugal) to the Tavern and set up Braga as another team to root for and watch closely. Have a great night.