After a thrilling 3-2 win in Denmark that saw Son Heung-Min score the winner, Leverkusen hosts the return leg of the Champions League Playoff. Some 8,400km away (yes, kilometers, I’m Canadian), Pohang and Seoul will do battle for the right to take on either Guangzhou Evergrande or a trip down under against the Western Sydney Wanderers.
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All four of our England-based players are in action – or at least, their clubs are. Lee Chung-Yong has played nearly every single game for Bolton so far, so I would not be shocked if he gets a rest. Kim Bo-Kyung, on the other hand, has not featured for the Bluebirds turned Dragons at all this season, not even on the bench, minus the first round Capital One Cup game, where he looked decent. I’d imagine he gets to play in this one, but if he doesn’t, hopefully it’s a sign that he could be on his way out to Scotland. Emphasis on “hopefully”.
Yun Suk-Young is another player in a similar predicament – and QPR have signed another fullback, putting Yun deeper down the depth chart. Burton Albion is a fourth tier side, playing in League Two, and Yun should get some playing time here for sure. Personally, I think he’d be better off going on a loan deal to some Championship side if Harry Redknapp isn’t going to play him.
And Ki might get some rest, but Swansea don’t exactly have a lot of depth players either.
The exciting fixture of that lot is the Champions League Playoffs game. Son Heung-Min and Bayer Leverkusen will host FC Copenhagen/Kobenhavn at the BayArena. After getting 3 away goals in a 3-2 victory in Denmark, Leverkusen should be able to qualify for the Group Stages, provided they defend better than last week. Son’s in great form and despite missing that finishing touch last weekend at Signal Iduna Park against Dortmund, he’s had a very, very good start to this new season. It would be absolutely disastrous for Leverkusen to lose and miss out on Champions League Football – but Copenhagen doesn’t have the attacking threat that Bayer does.
Speaking about Champions Leagues…
It’s the final leg of the AFC Champions League Quarter-Finals.
In the West Zone AFC Champions League ties, Al-Sadd of Qatar hosts Al-Hilal. Two Korean defenders play for these two sides, with Lee Jung-Soo (who scored two goals for Korea in the 2010 World Cup) playing for the Qatari side and Kwak Tae-Hwi (who made the trip to Brazil in the 2014 World Cup, but didn’t play) for the Saudi Arabian Al-Hilal. Al-Hilal won the first leg 1-0 in front of a crowd of 63,500 (!!!).
The other tie is Al-Ain (UAE) away to Al-Ittihad (Saudi Arabia). Lee Myung-Joo plays for the UAE side who also has Ghanaian striker Asamoah Gyan among their ranks. They won the first leg 2-0 in the UAE.
The two games go at 12noon and 1:50pm Eastern Time, respectively.
Now for the big one – fresh off of a thrilling 2-1 victory away to Jeonbuk, FC Seoul host Hwang Sun-Hong’s Pohang Steelers in an All-Korean Quarter Final. The first leg finished 0-0 in a cagey, defensive match. Although it seems this was all part of Seoul’s plan, with manager Choi Yong-Soo commending his team’s courageous defensive display following the first leg, perhaps it also works in Pohang’s favor, since the Steelers can advance on away goals with a draw of a scoreline that is not 0-0. However, the Gyeongsangbuk-do side aren’t getting the best of results lately, with a 0-0 draw at Gyeongnam last weekend, likely due to the absence of Lee Myeong-Joo. His departure is forcing manager Hwang to fiddle around a bit to try to find a way to replace their star playmaker, who transfered to the aforementioned Al-Ain this summer. The game goes at 7:30pm KST on Wednesday, 6:30am EST.
The winner of that match will take on either the Western Sydney Wanderers or Guangzhou Evergrande. Despite the Chinese powerhouses being on top of the tables in the Chinese Super League and are still the favorites to repeat as Champions League winners, they come into the second leg trailing 1-0. The Western Sydney Wanderers became the 9th side to defeat Guangzhou in all competitions this season. Expect a packed house in Tianhe Stadium as Guangzhou try to come from behind to qualify for the Semi-Finals. Kim Young-Gwon probably will get a start. The game goes at 9pm KST on Wednesday, 8am EST.
KFA Cup Draw
And the Korean FA Cup draw was held yesterday, with just 2 rounds left before we can crown a winner. Remember, the winner of Korea’s biggest cup tournament will earn an automatic berth to the Asian Champions League. Defending champions Pohang are out. The draw sets up what could be a Jeonbuk-Seoul final… here it is:
Sangju Sangmu hosts FC Seoul
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors hosts Seongnam FC
The games will be played on October 22nd.
That’s all for now. School just a couple days away for me.