What a day. The Tavern opened doors early to witness an entertaining, if flawed Asian Champions League final between FC Seoul and Guangzhou Evergrande – a title match ending in a 1-1 draw -and yet Evergrande managed to walk away with the trophy. So FC Seoul doesn’t lose and doesn’t take the title..more on that later. The sour mood at the Tavern turned around quickly, first on news of Son Heung-Min’s 1st goal in the Bundesliga since he tapped one in on opening day for Bayer Leverkusen. He managed his first strike of the day within the opening 10 minutes of the match against his former team, Hamburg – a bittersweet occasion as Hamburg fostered Son’s development to give him his first shot in the Bundesliga. As good as his goal was, he followed it up several minutes later with an even more spectacular one, as ESPNFC put it: “…(Son) used his pace to race away from Westermann and past Rene Adler before slotting the ball into the unguarded goal.” Hamburg eventually got back into the game, equalizing with strikes from Beister and Lasogga before Son pulled his side ahead again in the 55th minute, getting on a well placed volley into the right part of the net. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Son wasn’t done yet, on defense he intercepted a pass, brought it up quickly forward and found Kiessling with a through ball in the 72nd minute, which Kiessling took full advantage of to seal the deal. When the dust had finished settling, it turned out to be a high scoring, 8 goal game – Bayer Leverkusen 5 : Hamburg 3.
Note: as this looks like the breakout game of the season for Son we’ve all been waiting for, the Tavern Statistician informs us that this is Son’s first Bundesliga hat trick. He’s come close last year while in uniform for Hamburg SV, getting several doubles – (including not one, but 2 magnificent braces against Borussia Dortmund) but didn’t bag any hat tricks…until now.
Quick update: Lee Chung-Yong got an assist in Bolton’s 3-1 win over Millwall in the English Championship. The Wanderers are on a roll, undefeated in their past 7 games and snatching wins in 3 out of their last 5 matches. Lee had a great chance to score on Millwall later in the game but didn’t get enough on the shot – it was easily saved by Millwall’s keeper.
Other English Championship news, Yun Suk-Young didn’t appear at all in Doncaster’s scoreless draw with Barnsley. Speculation: perhaps he’s injured? Doncaster moves down periliously close to danger in 21st place, while Bolton zooms up to 16th in the Championship table.
Hong Jeong-Ho subbed in for Jan Moravek in the 74th minute in Augsburg’s 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich.
While Koo Ja-Cheol is still out injured for Wolfsburg, his team did the unexpected, defeating Borussia Dortmund 2-1…
Not wanting to tinker much with the roster that won the South Wales derby last weekend, Kim Bo-Kyung began on the bench for Cardiff but didn’t play in their 2-0 loss away at Aston Villa. Malky Mackay, I don’t want to pull a Vincent Tan, but hypothetically if I could send a note down to you, it’d say: “PUT KIMBO IN THE F&#*$% GAME!!!!!” And you know what – as opposed to Tan’s ill informed tactical suggestions, judging by the scoreline, Malky could actually use a creative midfielder. Just sayin’
and yesterday, 18 year old Kim Young-Kiu made it to Almeria’s bench for their 1-0 victory over Ossuna. He didn’t see any time on the pitch, but it seems like only a matter of time…
Final Tavern note: borrowing from the Colbert Report, 2 wags of my finger, first to One World Sports, a North American niche cable network. They aired the 1st leg of the Asian Champions League, a 2-2 draw at Seoul World Cup stadium October 26th, but either forgot or neglected to air the crucial 2nd leg at Guangzhou today. So no one in the United States could honestly watch the battle to see who would be Champions of Asia – except by that method-for-watching-that-shall-not-be-mentioned-by-name.
2nd wag of my finger goes to the AFC for insisting on a 2 leg format for the Asian Champions League finals. No, it’s not the UEFA Champions League, but if we were to examine some of what makes makes that tournament tick -there is a palpable sense of excitement and finality as the world tunes in to see who will emerge as European club champs -and let me re-emphasize -it’s a singular event. If this Asian Champions League finals were just capped to one match -and that match was (for argument’s sake) the one they played back on October 26th – FC Seoul looked like they had the momentum at the end of regulation when the score was 2:2 –a momentum that could’ve been enough to clinch the title. We’ll never know and the fact that FC Seoul never lost to Evergrande in these 2 legs – the end of regulation ended in an anti-climatic victory for the hosts and a bitter -well it’s not a loss, so whatever it is that happened to FC Seoul, it just goes to show that the format proved to be completely lame.