Son’s screamer sends Spurs past Dortmund // Hwang scores in Europa League // KPA Weekend Listings (UPDATED)!

A lot has happened over the past few days in Korean football, and a lot has happened behind the scenes at the Tavern as well. We’ve got some announcements to make in the coming days that will shape the future of this website and this community, and I think you’ll like them – but I digress. Settle in to your Friday morning at work with a cup of Joe (or soju if you’re the rambunctious type) and let’s look at the week that was, and the weekend to be, in Korean football.

Son Heungmin sends Spurs past Dortmund… again!

Son Heungmin has done it again. He’s scored against Dortmund, again.

After an abysmal defensive display against Arsenal at the Emirates last weekend, in which Son only played a few minutes as a substitute, Mauricio Pochettino took his men to the Signal Idura Park where Dortmund were the foes. A win would secure victory in a group that contained the reigning European Champions Real Madrid.

Spurs lined up in a 3-5-2 formation, with Son and Kane the strikers. It would be (by memory) a second start for Son in the lone forward position, and it is telling that Pochettino has played this shape in the last three Champions League games – perhaps he sees its value in Europe.

Regardless, the first half was honestly pretty sloppy from Spurs, which was disappointing given it was against a Dortmund side struggling under Peter Bosz, without Christian Pulisic and limping after a battering loss to Stuttgart earlier in the week. But Spurs’ slow start allowed Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang opened the scoring for Dortmund. In the second half, however, everything changed, with Dele Alli properly growing into the game and Dortmund being put on the back foot in part due to a disjointedness that has become their everything this season. So it was Harry Kane who brought things level before Son unleashed this strike:

Let’s be honest, it’s really superb work once again from Dele Alli, but Son does really well here to call for the ball, realize he’s not getting it, stepping back into space and making no mistake with a perfectly placed curler. It was Son’s 8th goal in 10 games against Dortmund, a record that spans across three clubs: Hamburg, Bayer Leverkusen and Spurs. It’s also his third Champions League goal this year.

Son won the Man of the Match award on numerous channels and publications for his performance, earning raving reviews:

“The moment Tottenham were waiting for arrived when Alli, showing great determination and skill, bustled past a series of weak challenges and into the area before finding Son, who curled a peach of a shot past Burki.” – The Guardian

“Son Heung-min proved the scourge of Borussia Dortmund again as his late winner ensured Tottenham will go through to the Champions League last 16 as group winners.” – RTE

Son Heung-min, 7 — Lively with his runs in behind Dortmund’s defence. The South Korean was caught offside a few times but, like against Crystal Palace in his previous start, he produced a clinical winner and has now scored eight times in 10 matches against Dortmund. – ESPN FC

“Son is so important for us and will be important for us.” – Mauricio Pochettino

“When Tottenham play two up front, Son gives them space and time, because he’s prepared to run in behind. Then Harry [Kane] can find the little pockets. Son is a very clever player. I think this suits him better than when he plays out wide.” – BT Sport’s Glenn Hoddle

Here’s a ball-touch/highlight video of Son Heungmin. You can see him really affecting the game by sifting into channels and space, and making runs to stretch the defense (though he got offside twice). It allowed them to batter a bruised Dortmund defense and it worked, Son getting a fair amount of half-chances before his goal.

To see Spurs top their group in this year’s group of death is a highly encouraging sign, and one that has the statistics community beginning to bet on Tottenham as dark horses to go deep in this Champions League, with the 7th best chance to win it all:

Spurs certainly have come a long way from when they were brushed away two seasons ago in the Europa League against Dortmund. Can we start dreaming again of a Korean hoisting the Champions League trophy? Sure, why not. (Can we start converting me into a Spurs fan? Definitively, no.)

With 3 goals and 2 assists in his last 5 starts across all competitions, suffice it to say that Son is rounding into form.

Hwang Heechan Scores

Despite an underwhelming season thus for due to injury problems, Hwang returned to the Europa League in a substitute appearance, his 4th cap in European continental competition. And as in his last two caps in the UEL, Hwang didn’t disappoint in his 29-minute cameo by scoring the third goal for Salzburg against Portugueuse side Vitoria:

Though there are still signs of rust visibly from that video, including being a little over-aggressive in the tackle and some iffy touches, Hwang definitely looks desperate to get back into the side. He’s closing down really hard, pressing the backline aggressively, painting the corners, getting stuck in, and running after every chance. His finish is a good, thumping, assertive hit, though with the keeper out of position, there’s not much to look into there. Hopefully Hwang can continue on this good return from injury.

Lee Jinhyun played garbage minutes for Austria Wien in their Europa League loss.

As it stands, Red Bull Salzburg are through as group winners to the Round of 32, beating out Portugal’s Vitoria, Turkey’s Konyaspor and France’s Marseille; Austria Wien need a win at home against AEK Athens to secure a spot in the knockout stages in the final matchday of Europa League action.

The Champions League and Europa League will return in two weeks’ time!

Listings!

We’ve been aggregating content from Korean Footballers Abroad, so that’s what I’ll get around to in the morning. I’ll be sure to update the post and let you all know when I do.

I think Skimmilk has been busy, so we’ll go ahead with our own listings this weekend.

 

Day Time Player Club Opponent TV (US)
Saturday 9:30 AM Koo Ja Cheol Augsburg Wolfsburg  Fox Match Pass
Saturday 9:30 AM Ji Dong Won Augsburg Wolfsburg  Fox Match Pass
Saturday 10:00 AM Son Heung Min Tottenham WBA  CNBC
Saturday 10:00 AM Lee Chung Yong Crystal Palace Stoke  NBC Gold
Saturday 10:00 AM Ki Sung Yueng Swansea Bournemouth  NBC Gold
Saturday 12:00 PM Lee Seung Woo Hellas Verona @Sassuolo BeIn Play
Saturday 2:00 PM Suk Hyun Jun Troyes Angers BeIn Play
Saturday 2:00 PM Kwon Chang Hoon Dijon Toulouse
Sunday 10:30 AM Hwang Hee Chan RB Salzburg @Rapid Wien
About Tim Lee 264 Articles

The maple syrup guzzling kimchijjigae craving Korean-Canadian, eh?

5 Comments

  1. Nice to see Hwang back on the pitch, hope the hammy continues to heal and strengthen. I’ve been reading and hearing a lot of Son talk over the week.

  2. That was a huge goal from Son. Great to see him grow in confidence. Also glad to see Hwang back from injury. Let’s hope this momentum continues into 2018, leading up to the World Cup!

    Excited for the announcement!

  3. happy for Son but this is exactly the problem that will frustrate him with the national team. Highlights in Korea will show his goal and hear announcers saying how amazing the goal was. Hopefully Korean fans get some perspective on this. The successful and total beastmode move was from Ali’s buildup. Son will never have teammates like that for the national team that can feed him the ball on one side and draw basically every defender away. Yes it was a cool goal but any forward should bury that shot. Meanwhile Kane is on the other side and he basically gets more attention than either of them.
    When defenders look at the KNT they will focus entirely on Son and this will frustrate the shit out of him. I’m not sure Hwang Heechan or Kwon Changhoom will be able to juke defenders like Ali did and perfectly set Son up for a monster goal. I mean he literally stole the ball and went through two defenders and drew two others right to him. HHC and KCH have the potential to develop with Son though so here’s hoping that they can develop..

    • Agree with you there, Son is going to get a lot of attention but Hwang is a physical player with a low center of gravity and not afraid of contact. That’s what I like about his style of play.

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