December 12, 2012
Go figure, on 12/12/12 Park Chu-Young gets his first start against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey today at the Baliados. It’s on here in the United States as I write this at 4:06pm EST and is airing on BeInSport channel. He is playing as an attacking midfielder behind Iago Aspas. We’ll try to update on twitter. Good luck Park!
Update: BeInSport announcers discuss Park Chu-Young in the opening minutes of the game, mentioned that Arsenal could’ve used his help yesterday in their pitiful loss against 4th tier Bradford City. 15th minute: PARK almost! Park initially sets up counter attack, then misses goal with a difficult cross to the far post.
—-UPDATE: Park had a mixed performance, where he had excellent positioning, several incredible opportunities to score, could’ve finished some better, a bit of bad luck slipping in the rain, and encountered some difficult-to-handle crosses. He had made the Real Madrid backline sweat however, and Celta took advantage of that, using Park as a decoy and left Bermejo open on the far post for their first score. Park was eventually was subbed out in the 63rd minute. Celta eventually won the game 2-1 and beat Real Madrid -no easy feat by any means. It’s a 2 legged affair, so these 2 teams will tangle again, next time at the Bernabeu.
Having computer troubles retrieving my notes from the game, so I will update this post soon.
Notes from the match recovered (bad computer! bad!):
- Not known for tracking back necessarily, Park did his part to help out in defense as it was all-hands-on-deck against Real Madrid. He had several well timed defensive tackles, won the ball in the air several times in the back and was an effective cog in the whole-team effort to disrupt Real Madrid’s game.
- Celta tried several times to break Park loose out front for the go ahead goal. Each time, his teammates nearly got the ball away to him, only to have Real’s backline get a slight touch to deflect the ball away (see 60th minute).
- A few drives to net by Park were poked away by the central defense. His ability to keep possession of the ball was a bit shaky at times.
- Park got into great position for 3 opportunities to score in the 1st half. 2 of the crosses he received were difficult to handle as one shot went wide and the other got cleared by Pepe. He had a stellar opportunity with a corner kick header in the first half stoppage time, but that went wide of target.
- In the 51st minute, he was the target of a long pass when open in Real Madrid’s half; that pass started to lose steam and when he waited for the ball instead of going right to it, Real’s backline punished him and dispossessed him before he had a chance to make some trouble with it.
- Park made his contribution to the first goal in the 56th minute -as Real Madrid’s backline was keeping close tabs on the threatening Park, he acted as the decoy in front of net while Micheal Krohn-Delhi crossed to a lurking Bermejo. He came in through the far post backdoor and slammed in the first crucial goal.
- In one of the closest chances Park had to go one on one with the keeper, Park was onside in the 60th minute and wide open, but the usually stellar Michael Krohn-Delhi slightly misplayed the pass and the opportunity vanished. 2 minutes later, Park came out for DeLucas and his night with Real was over. While Park played his part, one could get the sense Park was not entirely comfortable in the game. Still, it is easy to be hypercritical of Park out here in the sidelines when really overall his performance against Real wasn’t necessarily a negative one. Overall, it’s always entertaining to watch Celta’s brand of football on display, with energy, imagination and total team grit. When it results in a win against Real Madrid, even more satisfying.
- One last note: there was a new ball being introduced at the last moment. The green emerald FIFA issued ball had it’s Balaidos debut.
Meanwhile, quick update as Ulsan Hyundai had a good start that left Hiroshima scrambling and embarrassingly gave away an own goal during the first 30 minutes of the 5th place FIFA Club World Cup match. Hiroshima however recovered their composure and outclassed Ulsan with some smart elegant precise passing. By the end of the 2nd half, Ulsan was trailing 3-1. In stoppage time, Ulsan was able to save face with a nice set piece goal. We’ll have more on the blowback of this particular match, including the fact that this is it for Lee Keun-Ho: the 2012 Asian Player of the Year, who had a brilliant game in his last game in the spotlight, will now go back to South Korea and will be sent to the relegated Sangju Army team for up to 2 years. Meanwhile, Sato, who scored a brace for Hiroshima, is set to return to the J-League – that is unless scouts watching this game pick him up in the off-season to play in Europe. Mind you, Lee could undoubtedly go play top flight European football tomorrow if he wasn’t obligated to serve his 2 years as rigidly required by South Korean law. Quite a contrast in systems.
We end today’s short update with a bit of good news. Ki Sung-Yeung had a stunning game for Swansea today in a Capital Cup match against Middlesbrough. Michael Ladrup was resting Ki when he decided to give Ki a go at it in the 65th minute. Up until that point, Swansea was out of ideas and was nervously looking at the 0-0 scoreline, knowing full well that Arsenal embarrassed themselves the night before against a 4th tier Bradford City. I’ll let the Guardian describe Ki’s impact:
“It was only after the introduction of Ki Sung-yueng midway through the second half that the tables turned. The Korean ran at the Boro defence with a penetrating directness that nobody had shown before his arrival…”
“…Swansea thought they should have had a penalty [77th minute] when Steele, rushing out to meet the danger, brought down Ki but also made contact with the ball with his trailing leg. The home crowd were still abusing Lee Probert for turning down the appeals when the stalemate was broken, De Guzman’s corner from the left and Monk’s challenge panicking Hines into heading the ball into his own net.”
Despite some concern that Swansea had such difficulties against an English Championship League team, their 1-0 win over Middlesbrough advances Swansea to the semifinals of the Capital Cup. This is the farthest Swansea has advanced in the tournament thus far.