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`Little Maradona` Choi Seong-Kuk

Posted April. 08, 2002 09:11,   


Nickname of Choi Seong-Kuk, who was selected in the World Cup national soccer team as a 19 year-old rookie, is `Little Maradona`. The name was given, because he resembles `soccer prodigy` Maradona in the same way that he is able to dribble past two or three defenders at ease, despite his short height of 1 meter 70.

In the `Denso Cup 2002 Korea-Japan College Team friendly match` that took place at Tokyo National Stadium on the 7th, Choi played up to his name, surprising the audience.

The Korean team was pushed around by Japan until the first half. After allowing the first goal to Abe Yoshiro in 14 minutes, Korea gave away another goal-like heading shot to Yoshiro at 24 minutes.

However, the Korean team had Choi. As he induced a penalty by a sensible pass that broke down Japan’s one-line defense at 27 minutes in the first half, Jung Kyeong-Ho (Ulsan Univ.) succeeded to actualize a goal, putting the match back to the beginning.

Choi’s play shone once more at 11 minutes in the second half, when Korea was losing by 1-2 as it allowed an additional goal to Ishita Yuki. He dribbled past 3 defenders and lightly pushed in with his left foot, scoring the tying goal. Choi got rid of the first defender by physical fight, the second one by a fake motion, and the third one by speed.

Japan’s coach Yoshimi Akira appraised, “I’ve heard that Choi Seong-Kuk was Korea’s Maradona, and indeed, he is excellent in speed, dribbling, and ball-control. He’ll grow into a better player, if he learns to make space when there is no ball.”

Korea was defeated by 2-3, as Yoshiro scored the final goal after the clocked stopped. This is the Korean team’s third consecutive defeat since 2000, and it now has the overall record of 2 wins and 4 defeats.

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