January 14, 2013
Without a doubt, this Bundesliga winter break has been productive for the both Ji Dong-Won and Son Heung-Min as both men scored respectively for their clubs in weekend test matches. Since joining Augsburg, Ji has now scored in 2 consecutive exhibition matches. He scored Augsburg’s only goal in a 1-1 draw with FSV Frankfurt, an excellent timed header off a set piece from Morovek. A link surfaced and circulated on the BigSoccer Koreans Abroad forum for Ji, a spot on find – you can take a look for yourself here. Good signs for the Sunderland loanee.
Meanwhile Son Heung-Min had been registering assists in various exhibition appearances for Hamburg, but on Saturday he initiated a scoring episode deep in Hamburg territory, dribbled all the way up the pitch, and booted in a left footed beauty in this seemingly exhausting goal against Austria Wien. Take a look at this youtube recap (the setup for Son’s goal starts at 2:21. He also helped start the sequence for the 2nd goal with a nice through pass):
Most the action was on Saturday as we briefly touch on some games that actually counted last weekend involving European clubs with Koreans on their squads.
However, there was one game to note on Friday: Lee Yong-Jae played last 17 minutes of Nantes’ 1-2 loss to Nimes in a Ligue 2 match. Meanwhile in other Ligue 2 action on Saturday, Kim Kyung-Jun was in Caen’s 18 man roster but didn’t feature in their 1-2 victory over AJ Auxerre.
Let’s go over to England: Lee Chung-Yong had a huge impact on the Bolton’s home match against Millwall, drawing a penalty from ex-Wanderers Danny Shittu just as Lee was on his way towards the goal. With Shittu dragging Lee down, the scene was set and Keith Andrews converted the PK to draw even with Millwall in the 34th minute. Lee and Bolton tried to muster the elusive go ahead goal to break the deadlock, but came up short. Note: Lee came out in the 72nd minute, much to the chagrin of the Reebok Stadium audience. He was continuing to have impact on the match, so it was a mystery why Dougie Freedman would sub him out at that point for tactical reasons. Here’s a brief recap of the match:
TRANSFER UPDATE: Earlier in December, it was widely reported that Stoke City was interested in securing Lee for a January transfer. An interesting development now as credible sources indicate Brenden Rodgers and Liverpool are keen on Lee Chung-Yong, with indications they are working out the detail kinks to securing his midfielding talents to Anfield before the January transfer period ends.
Elsewhere, Park Ji-Sung and QPR drew out a hard fought, slightly ugly, yet respectable scoreless game with Tottenham. Park played the full 90 minutes, another game giving indication that he is fully recovered from the nagging knee injuries that’s been plaguing him earlier this season. QPR is still at the bottom of the relegation heap, but there is the sense that the Rangers have a bit of momentum at hand, with 4 back to back points earned between the Chelsea and Tottenham matches. More good news for QPR – let’s go to ESPN FC for the latest transfer news: “Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp has provided a touch of magic in his side’s fight for survival, snatching French duo Loic Remy and Yann M’Vila. Rumours filtered through late on Monday that Remy had turned down an offer from Newcastle to move to Loftus Road and the Sunclaims it is now a done deal, with Rangers securing the Marseille striker for £8 million. The club then continued their spending spree by signing Rennes’ midfielder M’Vila and it is believed the duo will be available for QPR’s trip to West Ham on Saturday.” Quite the Coup for Rednapp if he can pull this off.
Kim Bo-Kyung was in the 18 man roster for Cardiff’s home match with Ipswich Town, but didn’t get to feature in the eventual scoreless draw. With 2nd place Hull losing to Sheffield Wednesday, Cardiff continues to widen the gap, going 8 points to lead the Npower Championship table. Apart from an utter spectacular collapse in the coming months, Bluebirds appear Premier League bound.
Ki Sung-Yeung and Swansea earned a point from a scoreless draw with a formidable Everton side at Goodison Park. Ki played the full 90 minutes and looked to try his hand at some expansive offensive runs towards the end of the match. Swansea were unable to unleash Ki – and for that matter, wasn’t able to unleash Michu and Graham either. Spanish national team manager Vicente del Bosque was on hand to take a close up look at Michu and some of his ‘Swanselona’ Spanish teammates, a possible indication that some of them may get the call up to play for the vaunted #1 national team in the world. Transfer Update: Michael Ladrup may be having trouble securing Iago Aspas from Celta Vigo, but there is new indications that the Swans are close to securing Roland Lamah a forward and wing man for Osasuna. Jonathan de Guzman has indicated in the latest edition of the Mirror that Lamah would be a ‘perfect fit’ for Swansea, based on his interactions against him in the Dutch leagues.
In our final match from Saturday, Park Chu-Young got a bit of rest for Celta Vigo and switched off with Iago Aspas in their La Liga encounter with Espanyol. Unfortunately, hosts Espanyol had Celta’s number and scored early. They held on to a 1-0 lead by the time Park got the call to replace Bermejo in the 72nd minute. Park had an decent performance, with some good touches on the ball, but the team wasn’t synched up to mount a tangible coordinated offense to find a crucial equalizer. With the win, Espanyol yanked themselves out of the relegation zone. Despite the loss, Celta managed to maintain their 15th place position, with a slight goal difference barely notching them above Espanyol. Interestingly, a fairly sizable contingency of (presumably) Korean fans attended the match. I wonder if there are South Korean based tour groups specifically designed to see Koreans in action across Europe? Here’s a video showing Park entering the game, and then the cameras turn their attention on the Asian contingency:
And now we turn our attention to an international tournament in China. A side of the Taeguk Warriors that shamefully haven’t been covered very well -it’s got to be the Lady Taeguk Warriors. The Tavern is going to try to change that. On Monday the South Korean Women’s national team registered an impressive 3-1 win against Canada today in the 2013 International Women’s Football Tournament in Yongchaun China. Only 2 days ago they lost to Norway 0-2 in the opening game of the tournament. The Lady Taeguk Warriors went ahead on some snazzy strikes by Jeon Ga-Eul, Ji So-Yun, and Jung Seol-Bin. Here’s a youtube recap:
They will face hosts China on Wednesday for the last day of the tournament. Nice job ladies!
While we’ve been covering some transfer news and rumors as well as transfers that won’t be happening, at least this January, one tantalizing transfer possibility still on the table: Yoon Suk-Young. It’s been widely speculated that he will finally be on track to transfer to Europe. No word has materialized yet, other than officially the transfer is on a holding pattern.
As late as I put out the recaps to this past weekend’s games, we come right to the edge of some midweek FA Cup games in England: On Tuesday, Lee Chung-Yong and Bolton replay their game with Sunderland -game is at 2:45pm EST. Also on Tuesday, Park Ji-Sung and QPR replay their FA Cup match with West Bromich Albion – that game time start is at 3 pm. Wednesday, Ki Sung-Yeung and Swansea go head to head with Arsenal -again. Game time is 2:30, but in the US, Fox Soccer will air on tape delay at 5pm. I’m exhausted just thinking about all these games! Time for sleep. Thanks for reading and see you at the Tavern again soon!