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Park Ji-sung Lays Bridge for Semifinals

Posted April. 06, 2005 23:31,   


Park Ji-sung (24, PSV Eindhoven) is currently at the height of his career. Even in the “league of dreams,” the UEFA Champions League, he fears nothing.

At the 2004~2005 Champions League quarterfinals against Olympique Lyon, held at France’s Stade Gerland on April 6, Park Ji-sung led the team to a tie with a valuable assist 34 minutes into the second half as the team was losing 0-1.

Accordingly, Eindhoven will be able to head to the semifinals even if the team ties 0-0 in the second match, to be held at home on April 14, due to the away match scoring rule.

Park Ji-sung, who, along with teammate Lee Young-pyo is the first Korean to play in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, was in top condition this day. He was one of the three top starters, along with Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Jefferson Farfan, and dominated the grounds with his incredible strength.

Park Ji-sung’s true value came out 34 minutes into the second half when Lyon was leading 0-1 with Florent Malouda’s goal. With his back to the defensive players near the opponent’s arc, Park Ji-sung spotted Phillip Cocu driving the ball from the center of the midfield, and upon receiving his through-pass, gave the ball back slightly to the left of the arc circle with a soft one-touch return pass. Cocu took that ball and made the tying goal with a dribble followed by a sudden left-foot diagonal shoot.

With the wild support of their home fans, Olympique Lyon led the game with a leading goal, but collapsed at Park and Cocu’s combination play.

Left wingback Lee Young-pyo also contributed to the attack with active overlapping and played a huge role in defense as well as effectively stopping French national striker Sidney Govou.

Meanwhile Liverpool (England) made a fresh start at home with a 2-1 victory over Juventus (Italy) in the first leg of the quarterfinals with goals made by Sami Hyypia and Sanz Luis Garcia. The two teams have met for the first time in 20 years since the “Heysel Disaster.”

The “Heysel Disaster” is a tragic incident that occurred in 1985 at Belgium’s Heysel Stadium before the European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus. A riot caused by Liverpool supporters prior to the final destroyed a wall in the stadium, killing 39 fans including Juventus supporters.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com