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“Semifinal Dream” Comes True After 17 Years

Posted April. 14, 2005 23:24,   


PSV Manager Guus Hiddink (59), “Twinkling Eyes” Lee Young-pyo (28) and “Mickey Mouse,” Park Ji-sung (24)—the heroes of Korea’s 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup run—achieved another great success.

The time and place was April 14, in the second match of the 2004-2005 UEFA Champions League quarterfinals at Eindhoven Philips Stadium, the Netherlands. With Hiddink presiding over the team and Park Ji-sung and Lee Young-pyo playing key roles on both offense and defense, PSV Eindhoven advanced to the semifinals by defeating French champions Olympique Lyon, 4-2 after 120 minutes of desperate play, including extra time, and a penalty shootout.

Hiddink led PSV Eindhoven into the semifinals of the league again, 17 years after he had made the same achievement back in 1988. Park Ji-sung and Lee Young-pyo will be the first Koreans to play in the UEFA Champions League semifinals. Eindhoven will meet Italy’s AC Milan in the first match of the semifinals on April 27.

PSV Eindhoven, who as a visiting team drew its first match, 1-1, fell behind first on a goal from Lyon’s Wiltord at around the 10-minute mark of the first half. But the team scored a tying goal by Alex at the five-minute point of the second half. Park Ji-sung, getting a pass from Lee Young-pyo, induced a free kick near the left penalty zone, and when an Olympique Lyon defender blocked Baumel’s free kick with a header, Alex made a right-footed volley shot into the goal net.

The two teams failed to break the tie even in the extra time. In the penalty shootout, Eindhoven won the game 4-2 thanks to nice saves from goalkeeper Gomez.

Johan Cruyff, the “legendary star” of Dutch football, spared no praise for the active play of Lee Young-pyo and Park Ji-sung in the match. “Eindhoven’s success [of reaching the semifinals] is thanks to Mr. Hiddink and all his players combining their full capabilities for the match. In particular, Park Ji-sung and Lee Young-pyo deserve credit for the victory.”

England’s Liverpool played to a 0-0 tie as the home team in the second match with Italy’s Juventus in the quarterfinals, but successfully advanced to the semifinals from a 2-1 mark in combined scores in its first and second matches. Liverpool will have to beat Chelsea to get a ticket to the finals.

Soon-Il Kwon stt77@donga.com