Sunderland Semifinal 1st leg win / Ryu and Son scores in a friendly for Leverkusen

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.

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  1. This is very promising…… But if he has a amazing career and returns to K-League… I’ll smash my head on a wall…….

  2. It’ll be interesting to watch Ryu’s progress. A possible roadblock for him will be Leverkusen’s formation. They play a pretty set 4-3-3 that tends to look a bit more defense (4-3 big space 3). Ryu would likely need to come in on either wing for Son or Sam if he wants to earn some first team minutes. I had doubts about whether he would see any action this year, and still have doubts, but who knows? Perhaps late when the league is well and truly done, and if Leverkusen have sealed a CL spot for next season, he could make it.

  3. Looks like Park Chu Young is going to be included in the World Cup squad. Coach Hong wants him to be there and maybe even park Ji sung.

          • PJS I can sorta understand but what does this premature handout to PCY do for anyone, most notably the integrity of Hong’s tenure here and down the road?

            I used to be a big fan of PCY. But he doesn’t deserve this promotion and I was much more comfortable with applying a flame under Kim SW’s ass.

          • I kept watching the replay of the time Park got subbed in for Arsenal in the 81st minute over and over and he didn’t seem very rusty, he didn’t lose the ball, and was very solid. He got a few decent touches and passes. So at this rate, I would ready Park is ready for the national team but he still really needs to move from Arsenal.

          • He played less than 10 minutes in one game, and that means he’s ready to go up against Belgium’s best? If Korea gets into the round of 16, that means he’s ready to go up against potentially Germany’s best?!
            Guys… Park Chu Young hasn’t played competitively in too long. It’s time to just forget about it. It’s just hurting us to hold onto this idea of what could have been.
            I’m not blaming PCY, but sometimes when shitty things happen, you just gotta move on and get the best out of the future.

          • yo john, HMB never stated PJY was gonna be the starting forward. can you name ANY alternatives korea has besides KSW up top? LKH and JDW could play there but it’s far from optimal given HMB’s offensive tactics and they have more natural positions.

          • John, park didn’t play less than 10 minutes. He started playing from the 81st minute until about 3 or 4 minutes stoppage time after 90 minutes. And you were the same person who said Korea was the same under Choi Kang Hee and Hong Myeong Bo so no offense but it tells me you aren’t watching matches and just making large assumptions.

          • 14 minutes. OK guys.. PCY is the answer. I hope he plays in the World Cup.

            By the way, I love HMB. He was a great coach for the U20 team, and an amazing captain for Korea in 02. As the solution to Korea’s woes? I’m just not convinced yet. That doesn’t make him a bad coach per say. Sorry if my opinion offends you.

        • And chestnutmeg, I believe you’re right. There aren’t any better forwards. His lack of playing time is what worries me though. I can’t think of any player who had barely seen any club action in two and a half years make a World Cup squad. Do you think he’ll be ready? I used to love him and thought he was the future. Unfortunately, the bench is not kind to footballers.

          • Unfortunately, Korea is not deep enough at the forward position to pick and choose based on who currently plays more. I’d still take a PJY that hasn’t played much over KSW, LKH, or JDW. I’ve always thought that PJY was not really a one top forward and didn’t have quite the killer instinct needed. However, he’s still by far better than the other 3, who are even worse when it comes to scoring touch except against inferior opposition usually. I’ve always thought LKH is overrated and JDW is serviceable, but let’s not kid ourselves, they are still not as good as PJY. I’d be curious as to how anyone could argue with that and what those reasons might be I’m excited about SHM because he seems to have shown the most reliable scoring touch/killer instinct against quality opposition out of anyone so far since, dare I say, Cha Bum Kun. Besides, the thing about the World Cup is that even people who haven’t been great or had as much playing time as necessary can step up and at least play to their potential for that one event/tournament. An Jung Hwan anyone? And PJY is more talented than AJH ever was. Long comment short is that I’d still take SIGNIFICANTLY greater talent over a lesser one that is getting lots of playing time (all day, every day), provided they’re in shape physically at least, which I believe PJY is.

  4. Chuba Akpom went on loan to another club, Bendtner, Walcott and many other players are injured. So maybe Park will be included in the subs for the league match?

    • giroud and podolski will occupy the spots until wenger makes his splash in the market. wenger has made it crystal clear that PJY is an afterthought to him selection-wise. expect a big signing for arsenal within the coming weeks; i’m thinking either mandzukic, martinez, llorente, or a loan for morata.

      best case for PJY, a deal for an incoming CF gets wrapped up ASAP and arsenal can start looking to offload PJY in a loan or transfer to france.

      • No, Wenger always has two strikers on the bench so saying only Giroud and Podolski will occupy the spots is nonsense. I was talking about the upcoming league match in January 13. If he doesn’t make the bench then fine so be it, Wenger won’t ever use Park. But it’s going to be until the end of January until Arsenal actually gets some players.

  5. Agree with the comments above regarding PCY. I think he should be included in the WC squad. Ahn Jung Hwan had the killer instinct. I was actually disappointed that huh Jung moo didn’t sub in ahn in the last world cup. From what I can remember ahn did well in some of the friendlies before the World Cup.

    • Yes. Huh jung moo added Lee Dong Gook instead of Ahn which was a HUGE mistake. In the round of 16 match against Uruguay, when we were 2-1 down to Uruguay, I remember when Park Ji Sung gave a really good through ball that broke through the Uruguay defense and it was basically Lee Dong Gook one on one with goalkeeper. He screwed that up but if Ahn was there, he could have equalized and helped Korea to round of 8.

      • it’s best for everyone to not play the ‘if’ game. in real time, it looked like a poor miss but the chance for LDG was not too easy. ronaldo and messi have missed easier chances.

        AJH shouldn’t have even made the squad imo. the man had poor fitness.

        • Actually it was easy. Did you not watch the match? I realize that many people may have different opinions but Lee Dong Gook was basically the only man in the box when he took the shot with the Uruguayan goalkeeper Muslera struggling to block the goal. Lee’s shot went under and between the goalkeeper’s legs but by the time it went through, the ball movement became a lot slower so the Uruguay defenders reached it. As Brian said, Ahn did well in some of the friendlies before the world cup so I don’t know where you got the fact that he had poor fitness.

          • You probably did watch the match and probably know what you are talking about. My apologies for not accepting other people’s opinions very easily.

          • Totally fine to stick by your opinions; hopefully everyone on the board can respect each other’s opinion. However, I’m confused why you don’t give certain players a chance but accept Park Chu Young no matter what. I’m no Lee Dong Gook fan, but you essentially blame him for Korea exiting the 2010 World Cup. You’re right: he had his chance and he missed it, and it pissed me off too when he missed that goal. But you could say the same thing for Park in 2011’s Champions League match against Marseille. He started in a huge home match, and his career at Arsenal basically ended after his poor performance:
            I want Park to be great again, like he was in the last World Cup. But if he gets called up, he might screw up just as bad as Lee Dong Gook did in 2010. LDG was past his prime at that point (even though he was the leading goal scorer in the K-League for a few years). Why does PCY get the benefit of the doubt?
            Look, I know this is all hypothetical because nobody knows exactly how good he is or isn’t right now. The only way we’ll know is if we actually see him play. If we see him for the first time at the World Cup, is that a risk worth taking?

          • Well in the player ratings, he was given either 3 stars or 2 and a half . It’s not like he was given one star or two stars like I’ve seen players receive after a very bad performance. He wasn’t given many chances under Wenger while Bendtner was given many chances yet only managed to score like 3 goals in years.

  6. I bought my tickets to the US vs Kor Rep friendly. Seems like a lot of people are going to show up for the game because most of the sections in the stadium were unavailable.

    • The good seats sold out quick. I went online to book seats for me and some friends about 2-3 hours after they went on sale. A lot of sold out sections.

  7. any thoughts on ryu seung woo making a senior team debut sometime soon? looks like he played well in the friendly and may get some bench minutes..

    • minuscule chance he makes it to brazil. besides the domestic players tour in the usa, the senior side will have one friendly in march before the WC. so i doubt it. i wouldn’t put too much stock in the friendly performance. it’s a great sign but between other more experienced players above him in the depth chart at bayer and the lack of a fit positionally with bayer’s 433, i wouldn’t bank on him playing too much in the buli.

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