Champions League Tuesday: 53rd minute, Bayer Leverkusen’s Son Heung-Min worked brilliantly up front, building up the play that lead to teeing the ball to teammate Rolfes – for his part sent a wicked curling shot past the outstretched arms of De Gea to equalize against Manchester United at Old Trafford Tuesday evening. Unfortunately as the night wore on, the scoreline would change dramatically, not in Bayer’s favor. Here’s the brief storyline highlights:
- First Champions League match for a number of key figures, including both managers Sami Hyypiä and David Moyes.
- 1st goal in the match by Rooney in the 21st minute marred by controversy. ESPNFC: “Bayer Leverkusen argued with some justification that an offside Antonio Valencia had impeded keeper Bernd Leno.”
- While not a perfect game for Son, was one of the better performing advanced players for Bayer on Tuesday.
- Son substituted for Lars Bender in the 64th minute. Kind of a baffling move, but perhaps he was out of gas from all the international jet setting of late / or was it precautionary due to the unwarranted yellow card picked up on a soft challenge to Rooney?
- A weird game -partly due to an extra slick pitch. Rooney unable to take advantage of a terrible slip by Leverkusen defense early in the 2nd half. He missed what should have been an easy goal after rounding the keeper. A previously open Van Persie looked at him in disbelief. It was Van Persie’s turn later to provide the stunning miss. Kagawa also went wide with what looked to be a sure goal. In the end, between some gifted opportunities converted and superb Rooney, Van Persie and Valencia goals later in the match, Bayer definitely looked less than spectacular at Old Trafford.
- To be seen: can Bayer recover, learn from mistakes and advance out of Group A with something to build on?
…and for something different
Other news on Tuesday: Lee Chung-Yong registered an assist in Bolton’s 2-2 draw with Derby County.
Superb stuff from #BWFC! Eagles nods to Chungy, he chests into the path of Baptiste who beats a man before finishing well! (6) 1-0
— Official BWFC (@OfficialBWFC) September 17, 2013
Good news, Bolton stopped their losing streak. Bad news, they’re officially at the bottom of the English Championship. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? JANUARY TAVERN TRANSFER PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!
QPR vs Brighton & Hove Albion – scoreless on Wednesday. For the Yun Suk-Young watch: no sighting on the bench. We’ll keep our YSY cam on and while rare these days at Loftus Road, we will inform you if we get an actual sighting.
Wednesday provided some interesting Champions League results, including a stunning 1-2 upset of Chelsea by Park Joo-Ho’s former team, FC Basel at Stamford Bridge. I tuned in for a few minutes after both Streller and Salah scored – FC Basel surprisingly looked good, like swagger good. Ryu Seung-Woo’s team-that-he-should-have-joined, Borussia Dortmund, lost 2-1 to Napoli. Ki Sung-Yeung’s former former team Celtic lost 2-0 to AC Milan (Neil Lennon allowed to cry a bit more).
Over to Seoul where it’s Chuseok time, FC Seoul secured passage for the first time to the AFC Asian Champions League semifinals, downing Al Ahli 1-0, winning 2-1 on aggregate. Dejan Damjanovic is the hero again with his goal with a minute left, having given the club their one lone goal in the first leg at Al Ahli. Third times’ a charm – FC Seoul has been this far before, only to be rejected to the dance at this stage thrice. They are the sole Korean reps in the tourney at this point, with Japan, China and Iran fielding clubs for this final four.
Side note: not a full stadium at the Seoul World Cup Stadium. Perhaps it’s due to Chuseok -but if we look back to recent history, Ulsan Hyundai had miserable home attendance all through the tourney until the title match. That’s in contrast to full venues for Asian Champions League matches, particularly in Japan.
Several commentators and representatives at Al Ahli made mention the terrible condition of the pitch – not sure why this was the case.
Next week, September 25th, 1st leg of the semis, FC Seoul vs Iran’s Esteglal. The other semis will be Kashiwa vs Guangzhou.
UPDATE: Park Ji-Sung and PSV Eindhoven’s Europa League game today (Thursday Sept 19) against Ludogorets Razgrad will be streamed on ESPN3.com at 1pm