The times they are a changin.’ Manchester United, losing 3 in a row (first time since 2000-2001), getting knocked out of the FA Cup by Swansea followed by a loss yesterday by Ki Sung-Yeung’s Sunderland side in the 1st leg of the League Cup. That one surprised a number of analysts, who expected Moyes’ side to be furious enough to win this one at wearside, especially against a side residing at the bottom of the Premiership. Luck (in a soft penalty kick awarded), scrappiness and some termidity was on the Blackcats side, who themselves were the victims of some very bad luck in calls made against them earlier this season. Sir Alex Ferguson looked on in dismay as Ki and the Blackcats earned a 2-1 victory that they take to Old Trafford later this month for the 2nd leg. Ki, unlike the last gasp goal that advanced Sunderland and knocked out Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side a few weeks ago, did not score. Still he was instrumental in Sunderland having a confident midfield presence yesterday. Despite earning numerous praise yesterday from the British press, long time Ki observers will note his 85% passing rate was not up to his usual high standards. Nevertheless, the few occasions he he lost possession, he worked hard to get it back. [update: while on BSK forum, found this link to a vid showing Ki’s touch summary. Not too shabby.]
Ji Dong-Won, however, didn’t get any playing time. Poyet chose only 2 subs -with Altidore as the late forward option of choice. Altidore didn’t do anything spectacular, but did use his height and bulk to keep physical pressure up front.
Meanwhile we go to Lagos, Nigeria, where Bayer Leverkusen is camped out for the winter training period. As indicated in a link Taeguk Red Devil was awesome enough to share from Bayer’s english translated site, both Son Heung-Min and newly transferred Ryu Seung-Woo (on loan from Jeju United) scored in a friendly with Dutch top-flight club SC Heerenveen yesterday. There were two matches, Son scored in the first game to make it 3-0 (the game ended in Bayer’s favor 4-3), and the second game, as Bayer’s site said, “Ryu sets up second victory,” latching onto a Kießling pass in the 44th minute. But there’s more:
“Seung-Woo Ryu was centre stage again a minute later when he was fouled in the box to earn a penalty. The goalkeeper Kramer saved the spot kick from Kießling. Kießling and Ryu continue to pose a threat in the SC Heerenveen penalty area. The South Korean put in a cross for Kießling to head goalward from close range only to see Kramer change direction to pull off a reflex save.”
Wow! Honestly many thought Ryu wouldn’t have much chance getting into the first team squad, but other descriptions from the friendly match indicated Ryu was beasting it up. It makes the Tavern wonder if Ryu could see significant time when the 2nd part of the Bundesliga season gets back underway.
There’s video that exists from the match, which I will find and post soon -but I gots to go momentarily.
Koo Ja-Cheol also looked good and contributed an assist in a friendly for Wolfsburg –
we’ll get some info and video on that as well later today. In a friendly against Vittese Arnhem, Koo earned a PK as he was pulled in the box. Latert he set up a nice cross for Dost to score. Wolfsburg lost the friendly 2-3. Take a look at this video, another highlight reel, particulary at 3:13, where Koo hit the crossbar, just as he was fouled in the box.