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Soccer Team Extends Unbeaten Streak to 25 Games

Posted September. 07, 2009 08:27,   


The national soccer team has remained unbeaten in its last 25 games (13 wins and 12 ties), with the latest result being a 3-1 friendly win over Australia Saturday evening in Seoul.

Park Chu-young (AS Monaco of France), Lee Jung-soo (Kyoto Sanga of Japan) and Seol Ki-hyeon (Fulham of England) each scored in the game in that order.

Korea last lost an international match Jan. 30 last year in a 1-0 defeat to Chile.

○ Two Parks are better than one

Park gave Korea the lead just four minutes into the game off of Lee Chung-yong’s (Bolton of England) pass and putting the ball in at a tough angle. The AS Monaco striker scored in his second straight international game .

He ended up playing the most among strikers in the game at 79 minutes before being replaced by Lee Keun-ho (Jubilo Iwata of Japan), showing how much head coach Huh Jung-moo trusts Park.

Team captain Park Ji-sung (Manchester United of England) also played magnificently. Beginning the game as left midfielder, he later shifted to the center and right positions in floating freely between positions and providing a good starting point for attacks.

Huh said, “Park (Ji-sung) smoothly led the team even at center. I’ll place him either at the center or on the wings depending on who we play in upcoming games.”

○ Return of stalwarts

Another interesting feature was the return of stalwarts Kim Nam-il (Vissel Kobe of Japan) and Seol, who rejoined the national team after a year. Their overall performance was rated average.

Seol scored Korea’s final goal in the 87th minute but seemed to need a bit more warming up since he had little experience back on his team.

Kim also fought hard despite wearing a protective mask to protect his injured nose, but failed to impress.

“Though he seemed awkward on the field at first because he hadn’t played for a long time, he got better. I’m going to keep him under watch,” Huh said.

○ Defense remains weak

Unfortunately, the team’s defense showed weakness in allowing Australia to score in the 34th minute on an easy header. Korean defenders also failed to block out Australian strikers in several set plays in the second half, putting Korea in a perilous position.

“We faced several risky scenes in set plays. I realize we must win in the air when playing European teams,” Huh said.