A late roundup as usual from the Tavern owner, let’s get to it: a fairly disappointing crop of results to report from Koreans plying the trade in Europe – but we’ll start with a positive one. Kim Bo-Kyung was brilliant in assisting in Cardiff’s goal against Hull, we’ll let CJay’s twitter post right from the moment lay it out:
@taeguk_warrior What an amazing ball by Kimbo to set up Campbell to score for Cardiff!
(@cjharris07) May 4, 2013
Hull and Cardiff eventually drew 2-2. Hull enters the Premiership as the 2nd team to automatically qualify, joining Cardiff who determined their own fate with automatic promotion of thier own earlier in mid April. Later in the post, CJay has pictures from Cardiff’s victory parade / celebration (spoiler alert: it’s like they won the super bowl!)
…and now for the worst news of the weekend: on Saturday, Bolton just missed a playoff spot and face another year in the Championship. They had previously made a remarkable late season comeback all the way from 17th place in the table to nudge themselves into the the 6th and last playoff spot. But with Leicester City winning in their last match, the Wanderers needed a win against Blackpool to keep themselves alive for a chance at promotion. They fell just short, a 2-2 draw not enough to keep 6th place. Before the half, strikes in quick succession by Davies and Eagles equalized the game after the Trotters fell behind in the first half to the visitors. Lee Chung-Yong, along with teammate Darren Pratley missed some opportunities to give their sides the critical extra goals for the full 3 points. Not for lack of trying, Lee was able to give his teammates, including Craig Davies and Marvin Sordell some chances, but Blackpool’s keeper was able to make several spectacular saves to keep them in the game. We’ll let ESPN FC take us to the last several minutes of the match:
In the 80th minute, the impressive Pratley broke up play to feed Lee, who cut inside Blackpool substitute Isaiah Osbourne to find a return pass but the former Swansea midfielder blazed high and wide.
Lee was guilty of a more glaring miss in the 84th minute, brushing the side-netting after Eagles found him with space and time inside the area.
Bolton kept pressing, with Wheater failing to connect on a Eaves cross — but time ran out, as did Bolton’s chances for going up this year. One word: agonizing.
Here’s the rest of the roundup
QPR M Park Ji-Sung: 79 minutes, 3 shots, no goals in 0-1 loss to Arsenal.
Jae’s Thoughts on QPR vs Arsenal and Park Ji-Sung
Yes, I know that Park Ji-Sung doesn’t have a national team future, but with most of the really meaningful games done (Bolton vs Blackpool wasn’t televised), I decided to take a stroll down memory lane and watch QPR-Arsenal. Perhaps Harry Redknapp visited the site and saw that I thought Park Ji-Sung would be good to play against Arsenal given his historical success against them, or maybe he just wanted to give Park a chance to boost his chances of sale. Either way Park played, and wasn’t terrible. I haven’t watched QPR at all this season, so I was curious as to whether this season is more of a one off for Captain Park or if it looks more like further decline for the player.
What I saw was, Park being . . . well, Park. He wasn’t spectacular nor was he awful. Perhaps in other games he’s played worse for the Rangers, but I largely suspect that QPR thought they were getting a player who was something other then what they got. Park has never been particularly brilliant on the ball, nor has he ever had blazing speed, nor has he ever had fantastic vision, passing ability, or shooting. What he had was a high workrate, commitment, and and a self-less attitude. At United, that worked well to supplement the skills of the likes of Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez, and the other offensive players. At QPR, there are no players who can come remotely close to that level. So, perhaps on that level, Park has been “found out”. That in a league the level of the Premier League, Park is not capable of putting a team on his shoulders and carrying them forward.
Which leads me to believe that Park was, sadly, signed more as a commercial gimmick. An attempt to boost the clubs image and popularity in Asia by the new Asian owner. And while I can’t speak for all of Asia, in Korea at least that would seem to be a fail. I’ve yet to see a QPR Park Ji-Sung shirt anywhere. A note to football club owners in Europe, if you want to be popular in Asia, you’ve got to be a winner to some extent.
But, oh yes, Park’s play. It was fairly standard Park Ji-Sung. He worked the left side well. Trying to offer some attack support, while also tracking back to help the defense. He spent more time in defense helping to track Theo Walcott and Bacary Sagna. Park does seem to have lost a little pace, and his energy levels seem to be down to human levels. But his movement, passing, and shooting all seem to be about where they were when he was at United.
QPR D Yun Suk-Young: not in 18 man roster (but did feature in a reserve match earlier in the week).
Swansea City M Ki Sung-Yeung: not in 18, injury list in 0-0 draw with Manchester City
Celta Vigo F Park Chu-Young: not in 18, injury in 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao
SpVgg Greuther Furth F Park Jung-Bin: in 18 man roster, did not play in 0-2 win away at Stuttgart, only their 4th win of the season.
FC Augsburg F Ji Dong-Won: 90 minutes, 2 shots 0 goals in 2-0 loss at Freiburg
FC Augsburg M Koo Ja-Cheol: not in 18 -injured
Hamburg SV F Son Heung-Min: 90 minutes, 3 shots 0 goals, 1-1 draw with Wolfsburg
Maritimo F Suk Hyun-Jun: 90 minutes in a 4-2 loss at Beira Mar
FC Basel D Park Joo-Ho: 90 minutes in a 0-1 win at Sion. Note: earlier on Thursday, Park was unused sub in FC Basel’s loss to Chelsea in the Europa semifinal. Chelsea go on to face Benefica for the title on May 15th.
Vancouver D Lee Young-Pyo: 90 minutes in 0-2 loss at Real Salt Lake
For a moment, let’s go to Korea and revisit the Jeonbuk Motors vs. FC Seoul match from Sunday. It was delayed broadcast in the US on One World Sports (5 am EST? My DVR ensured that my attention would push gametime to later in the day). Looking in on the match as a neutral observer, I was shocked to see the lone scorer in the game, Jeonbuk’s Lee Seung-Ki get ejected with a red card (2nd yellow) for lifting up his shirt after scoring past the outstretched legs of Cha Du-Ri (which the Tavern failed to report that the former Celtic/Fortuna Dusseldorf player landed with FC Seoul right before the Korean transfer window closed). Lee didn’t take off his shirt, for which a yellow might have been warranted. Instead, lifting his shirt over his head briefly, he got ejected for something that players around the world routinely do after scoring -without any violation. Made me suspect -though I’m careful to say there’s no conclusive smoking gun -that there’s something fishy going on. Is that the whiff of corruption on display? Or simply a clown-decision from a poorly trained ref? Again, pure speculation on my part – but if my suspicions turns out to be true, it would be a further setback for a K-League that’s struggling to rebrand itself and attract audiences hard to find at some domestic and Asian Champions League matches. But low attendance was not a problem at this particular match — and the game had some dynamic elements worthy of 90 minutes of attention; the stadium itself was pretty packed (perhaps close to 70% full) – a nice sight to behold. Flags waving? check. Drums and chanting and pumped up fans? check. Nice going Jeonbuk and traveling FC Seoul supporters! Let’s see if this kind of atmosphere can be replicated at other matches around the K-League Classic (must we continue with the ‘Classic’ addendum?)
Speaking of Asian Champions League, Jeonbuk and Seoul happen to be the only Korean teams to survive group stage. Pohang Steelers and Suwon fell by the wayside earlier last week. Pohang equalized in stoppage time and was SO close in netting the go ahead goal a moment later in order to get a needed victory against Bunyodkor at the Steelyard to advance. They only managed a draw. For more on Asian Champions League action -including which teams Seoul and Jeonbuk face next, and round 10 K-League Classic results (which they seem to indicate that other stadium also saw increased attendance due to Children’s Day), mosey on over to K-talk.
Now to some Super Bowl-esque celebrations in south Wales with Cardiff.
Here’s a video of the night event. Super thanks to CJay for these excellent first hand shots and video! This caps off 2 weeks of seemingly constant celebrations at being promoted to the Premiership next season.