November 27, 2012
Cradling a screaming egie (infant) in one hand, and on my other side a 4 year old wrapped underneath my armpit, yours truly was running around the Tavern kitchen in several loops, yelling like a madman for joy after Park Chu-Young scored an equalizer a week ago for Celta Vigo. Fast forward to yesterday and the set up was very similar: the egie was still screaming for a diaper change, and the 4 year old was perilously close to the Tavern knives while the Tavern owner was zoned in on a close deadlocked Celta Vigo game. While the kids were spared having to be picked up and carried around the house by the Tavern madman, Park Chu-Young had minimal impact on the game. He subbed in right after Iago Aspas scored the game winner in the 82nd minute at Real Zaragoza. It was 3 crucial away points nevertheless and gives Celta a bit of breathing room distance away from La Liga’s relegation zone. Real Zaragoza 0 : Celta Vigo 1. [Note: if you’re wondering why Park didn’t start despite scoring the last goal in Celta’s previous game, I’ll refer you to SportalKorea correspondent and blogger Santiago Perez. He’s observed a battle for the starting position between Bermejo, Park and Insa. Paco Herrera had a formation in mind when he started Bermejo instead of Park for this match. While Bermejo came out of the gate with a close shot on goal right at the start of the match, he had a more quiet game. The battle for the starting role is ongoing. For more, check out Santiago Perez’s blog Rainmaker18.com]
Celta faces 2nd division Almeria in a Thursday midweek Spanish Cup match. If Celta has any chance of winning the Spanish Cup, this 2nd leg is a must win, having already lost 2-0 to them several weeks back. Park Chu-Young may get the start in this match.
Before we get to Son Heung-Min’s injury, Koo Ja Cheol and Ki Sung-Yeung both played for their respective clubs on Sunday. Koo put in a strong 90 minute performance for Augsburg in their match up with Borussia Monchengladbach, particularly in the 2nd half. Augsburg had several chances to add to their 1-0 early lead We’ll let ESPN FC give you the skinny on Koo’s game:
“(The 2nd half saw) Koo emerging as the home team’s dangerman, not only from set pieces, but also from open play.
He also created chances for his team-mates, popping up in all corners of the field to lead Augsburg’s push for a second goal and a more relaxing lead.”
Koo Ja-Cheol had 3 good shots overall at goal, but couldn’t get any past their keeper. Borussia Monchengladbach got an equalizer in the final dying minutes and the game ended in a 1-1 draw, leaving Augsburg only a point to show for their efforts; Augsburg are still in the last place of the Bundesliga table with 7 points. Augsburg gears up for Stuttgart in a midweek Wednesday clash.
Meanwhile over in England,
Koo Ja-Cheol Ki Sung-Yeung returned from his hamstring injury and entered what had been a scoreless yet lively Swansea/Liverpool match in the 45th minute at Liberty Stadium. For his first 10 minutes, Koo had immediate impact, getting in his lazer pinpoint passes to push the ball forward, and later intercepting several Liverpool passes on defense. After 10 minutes, something happened, as if someone had stuck kyptonite into his shinpads -his passing rate deteriorated, his runs looked very sluggish and he actually misplayed several passes in dangerous places. His worst blunder was a clearing of the ball, right into the path of Luiz Suarez right outside the box. Fortunately Suarez sent the ball clear into the stands. Nevertheless, both Ki and the team seemed to suffer from not being in sync. While scoring opportunities for both teams were clear and present throughout the match, nothing went in behind goal. A somewhat disappointing draw – for both teams. Swansea 0 : Liverpool 0. Note: just speculation, but judging by the way he was conducting himself on Sunday, I’m not sure if Ki is completely recovered from his hamstring injury he sustained during the Swansea/Southampton match. Fortunately for Ki, he had built up a reservoir of goodwill with fans with his consistent rock-steady midfield performances for the Swans for vast part of the season.
One last Sunday match over in Switzerland: Park Joo-Ho did not play in FC Basel’s away match to FC Thun.
The Tavern earlier reported a Hamburg loss in last Friday’s matchup with Fortuna Dusseldorf. Well the hits just keep on coming: not only is Rafael Van der Vaart’s injury a bit worse than previously thought (he is expected to be out with a hamstring injury for 3 weeks), now it appears Son Heung-Min was injured during the match as well. Team doctors discovered that Son suffered a sprain in his thigh and he is ruled out for Tuesday’s midweek match against Schalke. The Son-Van der Vaart connection is broken…for now. A bit distressing for Hamburg as they are about to face Schalke: Son’s 6 goals makes up exactly half of Hamburg’s total goal production this season.
K-Talk already informed us Seoul FC winning the title last Saturday. Only 2 more rounds and we will know who will be the first K-League team to suffer the indignity of relegation (along with Sangju -the Army team that must be relegated according to FIFA bylaws). Follow along with all the action from last weekend here.
Speaking of Seoul FC winning the title, they did it with the help of a former French Ligue 1 striker Jung Jo-Gook, who played several matches on loan for AS Nancy last season. He was originally contracted with AJ Auxerre, but his contact ended last summer and he returned to the very first club that hired him, Seoul FC. His strike in the 37th minute against Jeju United was all Seoul needed and they clung to a 1-0 victory in front of a paltry yet jubilant home crowd. Seoul FC has now clinched their 5th K League title.
Moving on, in earlier posts the Tavern was just joking about poking the Korean FA to hire Pep Guardiola, currently on sabbatical after successfully coaching Barcelona to 2 Champions League titles. Well look no further than to Brazil: their FA sacked their national coach a few days ago and are now having to quell rumors of trying to coax Pep out of his sabbatical. Now we’re not joking: the Korean FA better get their mi-coos in gear if they want Pep as a new national coach to replace the ever embattled Choi Kang-Hee. Of course if Pep wants to continue his zen mediation, or whatever he’s doing in his sabbatical, there’s always Roberto Di Matteo, recently fired by Chelsea’s Russian oligarch owner Roman Abramovich. The head scratcher in that dismissal: Di Matteo had just won for Chelsea the UEFA Champions League only a few months ago. That’s gratitude only a billionaire can give. Oh well, one billionaire’s loss is another national team’s gain, so the Tavern says.
Before I go to sleep, 2 games in which we may get to see Taeguk Warriors in action midweek on Tuesday (and no TV coverage in the US as far as I can tell):
Dortmund vs. Fortuna Dusseldorf 2pm EST Cha Du-Ri has kind of fallen out of favor in Dusseldorf. Still the veteran can still lend a hand, once he recovers from a lingering injury.
Derby County vs Cardiff City 2:45 pm Kim Bo-Kyung has been starting in most of Cardiff’s recent matches. The midfielder is still looking for his first goal of the season, having almost scored last Saturday against Barnsley. Cardiff is riding on top of the N-Power Championship table.
Wednesday we are likely to see Koo Ja-Cheol, Ki Sung-Yeung, and possibly Lee Chung-Yong in action for their respective clubs. In particular, Ki and Swansea can be seen in the US, steaming on ESPN3 when they clash with West Bromwich Albion at 2:45 pm EST. Finally Thursday, Park Chu-Young most likely will see action as Celta Vigo are at home against Almeria in Spanish Cup action (no Tv for the 1:30 pm match).
Good Nite! (In the Tavern background: Waaaaahhhhhh! )
Ay-guh-nah, how could such a small baby produce so much in a diaper?