November 18, 2012
Just as fans were wondering about Park Chu-Young and his place at Celta Vigo, Paco Hererra inserted him in the starting lineup today against Mallorca. The dividend paid off as Park scored a pivotal equalizer in the 2nd half, earning Celta a huge point as it kept Celta from dropping into La Liga’s relegation zone. Iago Aspas eyed Park unmarked near the far post and brilliantly delivered a cross just between the goalkeeper and defender Conceicao. Park zeroed in on it and blasted it into the upper right corner of the net. This was Park’s second goal of the season (his first being a game winner against Getafe in September, making him the first Korean to score in La Liga). Here’s a clip of the goal:
Coincidentally, it was very similar to Son Heung-Min’s game winning goal on Saturday for Hamburg, with Beister playing in the Aspas assist role. And much like Saturday’s goal aftermath, the visitors protested to the officials that the goal scorer was offsides. Replays showed Park (like Son) however very much onsides.
Just in the nick of time for Park too, as Bermejo was seen getting instructions from Hererra, ready to sub in for Park, moments before his goal in the 55th minute. Park’s first half was largely quiet; the offensive set up was geared toward Aspas receiving the ball more. Down by one goal from a poor clearance effort, Hererra was getting ready to shake things up on the field when Park delivered for the team. Bermejo had to wait and instead came in later for Aspas in the 73rd minute. For his part, Aspas, among other outstanding Celta Vigo players, still had a great game despite not finishing early chances in the first half. After his goal, Park was definitely energized, and helped open up space for the Celta offense to keep the pressure on Mallorca. The refs however displayed some very poor decision making, particularly in the 2nd half and on separate occasions called Park and Aspas offsides while replays clearly showed them spot on level with their defenders. In the end, Celta couldn’t get that go ahead goal to grab the full 3 points. Still, coming back from a goal deficit to draw was something which was better than nothing. SportalKorea correspondent Santiago Perez was at the game and his match report is at Rainmaker18.com -including Herrera’s investment in growing cohesiveness between Iago Aspas and Park Chu-Young. [Note: Santiago has been a contrarian voice in the Vigo sports press as of late regarding Park – it would seem Park’s performance validated Santiago’s analysis, parsed from the team training sessions he regularly attends.]
Meanwhile, in the Bundesliga, Werder Bremen came back from being down a goal and down a man to win at home against Fortuna Dusseldorf today by a score of 2-1. Cha Du-Ri came in the game as a midfielder in the 2nd half and put in a 34 minute shift. Despite Werder Bremen’s Mulongoti being sent off for a second yellow (foul on Kruse), the host side got the game winning goal in the 82nd minute. The loss sends Fortuna Dusseldorf into the relegation zone. They joined Koo Ja-Cheol’s Augsburg in the basement of the Bundesliga table.
We are going to end the weekend’s roundup here. It’s been an exciting weekend for watching Koreans playing football, what with Koo Ja-Cheol, Son Heung-Min, Park Chu-Young all scoring for their respective clubs in Europe, Kim Bo-Kyung and Lee Chung-Yong seeing action in the English Championship division, and the South Korean U19 AFC Championship title win in dramatic fashion over Iraq. For brief recap on Saturday’s action including video replays of Koo Ja-Cheol and Son Heung-Min’s goals, take a look at yesterday’s Tavern post here.