Kwon Changhoon & Suk Hyunjun score again! // Ki Sungyueng faces ban // Sangju stave off relegation

Korean Players Abroad were mostly only in action this Saturday, and what a Saturday it was. Kwon Changhoon scored his 4th of the year for Dijon, while Suk has three in three games for Troyes. Over in England, controversy as Ki Sungyueng shoves a referee – was it accidental, or on purpose? – while Son Heungmin had a bright display despite not getting on the scoresheet for Spurs.

At A Glance

Day Time Player Club Opponent Notes
Saturday 9:30 AM Koo Ja Cheol Augsburg Wolfsburg Sub; Came on 23′
Saturday 9:30 AM Ji Dong Won Augsburg Wolfsburg Bench
Saturday 10:00 AM Son Heung Min Tottenham WBA Full 90′
Saturday 10:00 AM Lee Chung Yong Crystal Palace Stoke Not in Squad
Saturday 10:00 AM Ki Sung Yueng Swansea Bournemouth Full 90′, Yellow Card
Saturday 12:00 PM Lee Seung Woo Hellas Verona @Sassuolo Bench
Saturday 2:00 PM Suk Hyun Jun Troyes Angers 85′, Goal
Saturday 2:00 PM Kwon Chang Hoon Dijon Toulouse Full 90′, Goal
Sunday 10:30 AM Hwang Hee Chan RB Salzburg @Rapid Wien Full 90′, Goal

Kwon Changhoon dazzles in Dijon

Kwon Changhoon has done it again. After scoring and assisting in last weekend’s Korean Derby, Kwon put in another really good shift for Dijon that had commentators raving about this new Korean talent.

And it’s not really hard to tell why. Kwon seems to have performed even better in this match than last week’s win over Troyes. Popping up on both flanks, but mostly the left side in this game, Kwon is indeed looking a lot like a younger Park Jisung. He’s infatigable, hard-working and surging into small spaces efficiently. But this game also was a concrete manifestation of his growing confidence – playing dummies, hitting throughballs, trying risky passes. His goal is a peach – not because it’s necessarily a great finish, as the keeper should have stopped it, really – but because he punishes slow Toulouse defenders for not taking his threat seriously. Kwon assertively takes charge of the situation, and is demonstrating a can-do attitude that is – dare-I-say – captain quality.

Two goals in two games, his 4th goal of the season, Kwon is quickly emerging as a really good buy for Dijon and is slowly making headlines around the league. Continued performances like this – 3 dribbles, 6 shots, 4 won duels – on a side that doesn’t really make Ligue 1 front pages will continue to improve Kwon’s stock and make him a key puzzle piece in Korea’s 2018 World Cup hopes.

On Canal+’s “Jour du Foot”, which is like a French Match of the Day, Kwon received praise for a second consecutive week by his manager and pundits alike.

He has adapted well to life, to French life, which isn’t easy because of the culture shock. Kwon is handling with it better and better, and we can feel that in the the team. Even if the language barrier has made things a little difficult for him, he’s adapting well, he’s working very hard and he’s got himself a place in the national team – we are very satisfied with Kwon’s development.

  • Olivier Dall’Oglio, Dijon FCO manager

His recent performances have also shone on a light on potential new recruits coming in from the K League, with a lot of fans wondering if Jeonbuk’s Lee Jaesung will be the next off of the boat. The winter transfer window will be a telling one, but suffice it to say that French football experts are rather impressed with Kwon and Suk Hyunjun (Troyes).

It’s a great find, we often criticize French clubs’ recruitment process, but Dijon took a risk by going to get Kwon in the Korean league and that’s commendable. He should be going to the World Cup as a starter for Korea, and really, this proves worth for going to get more “exotic” players – without being pejorative – and the results so far have been pretty decisive.

  • Karim Bennani, host, Jour du Foot

Even if you go and get players playing in leagues such as Korea’s, that are simply weaker than France’s, we can see that if you have a guy who wants to learn and is ready to adapt like Kwon, good things can happen. Kwon has adapted very seamlessly and with speed, and that is quite simply incredible.

  • Alain Roche, former PSG defender

Super Suk Hyunjun, third consecutive goal

All while Kwon was putting together another great performance in Dijon, Suk Hyunjun was once again leading the line for Troyes and bagged his third goal in as many games.

Suk does lose the initial header, but it is Troyes who win the second ball and Suk doesn’t quit on the play, finding himself a pocket of space in the box. The real quality in this goal is the finish – from a tricky angle, and facing a challenge, Suk curls the ball into the bottom corner, tucking it by the far post. Though stats don’t paint a perfect picture for Suk, who committed 4 fouls and lost most of his duels and half of his aerial duels (which is a strange characteristic of his, given his height), he should continue to get starts so as long as he is scoring – and this of course continues to put him in the national team picture.

With the 3-0 win, Troyes go 11th, one place above Kwon’s Dijon who are 12th – both are, for now, clear of the relegation zone.

Ki Sungyueng could face EPL ban?

Ki Sungyueng did that over the weekend in Swansea’s 0-0 draw with Bournemouth, losing his cool after Jordon Ibe shoved teammate Martin Olsson in the later phase of the match. Ibe and Ki get into an altercation, with Ibe giving the South Korean a shove, and then Ki replies by going after Ibe – but not before referee Stuart Atwell got involved to break up the mess. Was Ki shoving the referee to shove Ibe, or did he just not see the official step in in a rage of blinding anger? We will have to see if Ki faces further sanction after just being booked for the incident…

Hwang Heechan scores!

Both Austria-based Koreans were in action on Sunday, and Hwang Heechan got on the scoresheet for the first time in the league since returning from injury. Salzburg won 3-2, and it is in part thanks to Hwang’s great speed on the counter-attack. The finish is a bit fortuitous, as a better keeper may have palmed it out better, but it’s good to see Hwang showing less rust and more of his prototypical energy and raw pace that has turned him into one of the Austrian Bundesliga’s top prospects.

I was on the “Brian and Peter Football Show” with Outside of the Boot’s Brian Bertie and Sportsnet’s Peter Galindo last week to speak to Hwang’s great exploits so far in the Austrian division.

Hwang’s Salzburg lead the Austrian league on 37 points. Lee Jinhyun started for Austria Wien and played 69 minutes in a 2-1 away win.

Others…

Son Heungmin had nothing to show for a really good performance against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, as Spurs dropped two points in a game they dominated from start to finish. 6 successful dribbles, 4 shots on target and 87% pass completion show that he’s continuing on good form. Spurs have Leicester midweek.

Koo Jacheol came in the 23rd minute due to injury to Rani Khedira in a 2-1 victory over Wolfsburg that moved Augsburg 9th. Koo had a 90% pass completion rate in the win. Ji did not make the squad.

Lee Seungwoo did not feature for Hellas Verona but sat in the 23-man roster bench.

Park Jooho’s name has been coming up, but not for playing! He’s been linked to Suwon Samsung, and I suspect this won’t be the last of us hearing this with Park desperate to bring himself back into the… planet after a long hiatus in the wilderness at Dortmund.

Sangju survive shootout, hold off Busan to remain in first division

In a game mired by VAR chalking off goals for both sides, Sangju Sangmu, the Army side, defeated Busan I’Park on penalties to guarantee their place in next year’s K League Classic. After finishing 11th in the top tier, Sangju played Challenge playoff winners Busan over two legs to determine which side would take the final spot in next year’s K League Classic. After Busan opened the scoring through a set-piece, drawing the tie level at 1-1 on aggregate, it appeared that Sangju had won it around the 70th minute, but VAR turned over the goal due to a slight offside. Busan then thought they had won the tie by scoring off of another free kick, with Park Juntae deflecting home the second away goal. VAR once again called it back for another offside, and this one seemed like the most blatant and erroneous decision. Nonetheless, the poor game dragged on into extra time and penalties, when Busan’s Ko Kyungmin fluffed the 4th penalty, with the decisive spot-kick being converted Joo Minkyu.

Sangju are the first Classic side to win the relegation playoff after 5 years of promotion/relegation between two tiers of the K League, while Busan could not honour the memory of deceased manager Cho Jinho with a promotion gift. Casual Busan I’Park fan (though he’s been converted to 4th tier Busan FC) and Tavern writer Jae Chee mused that this was probably a definitive end for many Busan players:

Busan do have two more games to play to salvage something out of the season with a home-and-away in the KFA Cup final against Ulsan Hyundai – the winner will book Korea’s last spot in the Asian Champions League.

Meanwhile, with names such as Yoon Bitgaram, Han Kookyoung and Kim Minwoo signed up for the Army next year, perhaps it is fair that Sangju have stayed up given their quality. And with players such as Kwon Changhoon, Suk Hyunjun and Son Heungmin yet to secure military exemption, a trip to the first-tier of the league makes a world of difference when compared to the second-tier. (That said, the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta next August could secure an exemption ticket – or burnout for Son and Kwon who are slated to play in the World Cup as well! More on this story in the coming months…)

Next year’s Classic will look like this: Jeonbuk, FC Seoul, Suwon Bluewings, Jeju United, Ulsan Hyundai, Gangwon FC, Daegu FC, Incheon United, Jeonnam Dragons, Pohang Steelers, Sangju Sangmu and Gyeongnam FC.

The Challenge will shape up like this (so far): Gwangju FC, Busan I’Park, Seongnam FC, Daejeon Citizen, Asan Mugunghwa (Police), Ansan Greeners, FC Anyang, Bucheon 1995, Suwon FC, Seoul E-Land.

In other domestic news, Korea University held off Jeonju University to claim their second consecutive U-League title. Cho Youngwook (U-20 World Cup side) is a part of that winning team, as is Shin Taeyong’s son, Shin Jaewon.

 

Further Reading…

Ligue 1’s English website has a feature on Kwon Changhoon.

Ki Sungyueng was on “Swans Show” over the week.

And finally…

Follow the Tavern on Instagram – now freshly renovated and active!

And join the Tavern’s new Facebook Group – we’ve got a hearty discussion over 4-4-2 and Son Heungmin’s role in said formation!

 

About Tim Lee 264 Articles

The maple syrup guzzling kimchijjigae craving Korean-Canadian, eh?

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