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“Ju-young, it’s OK!”

Posted April. 04, 2005 00:04,   



That exclamation came in the 41-minute mark of the first half when a free kick from Park Ju-young (20 years old, FC Seoul), the “soccer genius,” in the arc area bounced against the crossbar. It was his first 90-minute full match since his debut in the professional league. His energetic performance excited 26,000 soccer fans at the stadium. Despite Park Ju-young’s participation in the game, however, FC Seoul lost to Bucheon SK, 0-1.

On April 3, the soccer match of the 2005 Samsung Hauzen Championship was held at Seoul World Cup Stadium. After his debut, Park was first included in the “best 11.” Though he failed to gain offensive points (goals scored and assists), he put in a formidable performance along with Nonato, the Brazilian player on the club. He never missed a defenseless space. His clever passes caught opposing defenders off guard. The spectators marveled at his tactful play. And Park was not weaker in jostling with the Bucheon’s Croatian player, Boris, which proves that he has regained his health.

Around the 38-minute mark of the first half, Park Ju-young sought a free kick by quickly passing the ball to Nonato, who had just penetrated head-on into the arc area after steering clear of a defender around the left at mid-field. Instead of Ricardo, the kicker responsible for free kicks, Park stroke the ball himself in the arc circle. To the disappointment of FC Seoul fans, the ball bounced back off the crossbar.

Park threatened his opponents again with a powerful shot just before the buzzer rang, but the ball closely slipped past the goal post. He was not very fortunate about scoring goals in that game.

At the six-minute point of the first half, FC Seoul regretfully gave up the decisive goal to Bucheon’s Choi Cheol-woo.

At the moment, FC Seoul has a record of one win, one draw and three defeats, and Bucheon SK has a record of two wins, one draw and one defeat.

After watching the game with Korea national team coach Johannes Bonfrere, Lee Chun-seok, the national team’s assistant coach said, “Park is still growing. Instead of having him on the team now, the head coach wants to let him play more in the professional league.”

Jeonnam Dragons coach Huh Jung-mu, who returned to the K-league after seven years, achieved his first victory in an away match with Chonbuk Hyundai Motors. Jeonnam’s Lee Chang-won netted the decisive goal around the 15-minute mark of the first half, leading his team to a 1-0 victory and presenting to Huh his first triumph after two draws and three defeats.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com