The “New Parisian” is back in action after a month away from the pitch, and in the “Group of Death,” PSG got off to a strong start.

PSG won their 2023-2024 European Champions League Group F first leg 2-0 against Dortmund at the Parc des Princes in Paris, France on Tuesday (Oct. 20). PSG, who were drawn in the ‘Group of Death’ with AC Milan, Newcastle and Dortmund, started their campaign with a comfortable win. With AC Milan and Newcastle tied 0-0, PSG jumped to the top of the group. PSG will host Newcastle in the second leg of the group stage next month on May 5.

The highly-touted Lee Kang-in came on as a second-half substitute. In the “Predicted lineup for the first day of the European Champions League” released by UEFA on its official website on Aug. 18, Lee’s name was not on the PSG lineup against Dortmund. Manuel Ugarte, Weren Zaire-Emerick Aubameyang, and Vitina are expected to form the midfield alongside the Dembele-Lang Dal Kolo Mbappe trio. Instead, Lee Kang-In was named on the list of expected absentees. UEFA predicted that Lee will be absent alongside Fresnel Kimpembe, Nuno Mendes, Marco Asensio and Nordy Mukhiela.

Although he didn’t start, he took to the field as a substitute and succeeded in gaining practical experience in just one month. As it turns out, Lee has been groaning with injury. PSG announced the news on the club’s official website on March 22, saying: “Tuesday’s medical update focuses on Lee Kang-in. Lee has injured his left quadriceps. He will remain on the sidelines until the end of the September A match. Earlier, the French media also focused on Lee’s injury. L’Equipe reported that “PSG received the bad news of Lee’s injury ahead of the third round match against Reims.

This is his second injury since joining PSG. On July 22, Lee started a closed-door friendly against Le Havre AC and went down with an injury. The lively midfielder pulled his right hamstring in the 43rd minute and had to be substituted. Lee joined the team for their upcoming tour of East Asia, but was unable to play. He barely trained. After missing the Japan tour and focusing on his recovery, Lee finally made his comeback during the Korea tour. He came on as a 22nd minute substitute against Jeonbuk Hyundai and played 20 minutes. He wasn’t at his best, but he showed that he’s recovering quickly from his injury. In the midst of Neymar’s departure and Mbappe’s return, Lee has established himself as a key player for PSG.

He started from the opening game. Lee started the opening match against Lorient and had a great game. Playing on the flank, Lee was the most threatening PSG player on the pitch. After the match, Lee was named Lorient’s Player of the Match by the Ligue 1 secretariat. He started the next game against Toulouse. However, he didn’t bring the expected attacking points and instead received the lowest score of the starting lineup. After two games as a flanker, Lee was tipped to move to midfield with the return of key flankers like Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele, but an injury set him back.

Luckily, his recovery was quick. “I received an official email from him and heard that he is recovering quickly,” said Hangzhou Asian Games head coach Huang Sunhong, who has been in constant communication with Lee, “I know he has been training with the ball since the first week of this month. We are preparing for his return in time for the weekend games after the A match in September.”

This game was especially important for a reason. PSG allowed Lee to leave early for the Hangzhou Asian Games. “After discussions with Lee Kang-in’s club PSG, it was finally agreed on Thursday night that Lee Kang-in will join the Asian Games team after the conclusion of the European Champions League home match against Dortmund on the 20th,” the Korea Football Association announced on Friday. “Lee will travel to Hangzhou, China on the 20th to join the Asian Games team.”

Initially, PSG had informed Lee that he would be released after the sixth round of the 2023-2024 French Ligue 1 season against Marseille on May 25. In this case, Lee would have been available after the round of 16. In the worst case scenario, he could play from the quarterfinals. As Hwang’s worries deepened, a solution emerged. “After receiving PSG’s email on the 13th, we discussed with PSG until late at night on the 14th to allow the player to play in the Asian Games, subject to rescheduling the Asian Cup. Finally, on the night of the 14th, we received an official response from PSG stating that they will allow us to join the Asian Games team on the 20th without any other preconditions.”

Lee is scheduled to arrive in the Chinese city of Jinhua, where the soccer competition will be held, on the 21st. His arrival is scheduled for the second group game against Thailand. Therefore, he is expected to be available for the third match against Bahrain on the 24th after acclimatization and conditioning. All eyes are on the match against Dortmund on the 20th. It was a chance to see how he was doing.

Lee showed up at the team’s training center on December 12. In a video released by PSG, Lee did some physical training on the indoor training field with a trainer and later worked on passing drills with his teammates on the pitch. He even took a shot at a small goal. Lee returned to team training for the first time since his injury and showed that he is getting back to full fitness. Along with the video, PSG tagged Lee with an emoji that read “ON!” and a soccer ball. It was a sign that his return was imminent. After training with the team against Dortmund, Lee finally made his return.

He took the field in the 34th minute of the second half and didn’t have much to show for his short time on the pitch. However, he didn’t look out of shape. Lee attempted 12 passes on the day, a 100% success rate. There were no shots or key passes. Lee earned a 6.1 rating from With his performance, Lee returned to the Champions League after a four-year absence. Lee had previously played in the UEFA Champions League when he played for Valencia. When Lee came on as a 45th-minute substitute in the first leg of the 2019-20 group stage against Chelsea, he became the youngest South Korean to make a Champions League debut at 18 years, 6 months and 30 days. The previous record was 19 years, 2 months, and 8 days held by Jung Woo-young, who was playing for Bayern Munich at the time. Lee went on to play five matches.

The home team, PSG, pulled out a 4-3-3. Mbappe-Kolo Mouani-Dembele formed the back three. Ugarte-Bitinha-Zeir Emery in the middle. Hernandez-Skriniar-Marquinhos-Hakimi formed the back four. Donnarumma was in goal. Dortmund countered with a 3-5-2. Karim Adeyemi and Daniel Marlon started up top, with Julian Brandt, Emre Can, and Marcel Zabiczer in the middle. The left and right wingbacks were Julian Luegersson and Marius Wolff. The back three was Niko Schlotterbeek, Mats Hummels, and Niklas Zuerle. Gregor Corbel was in goal.

PSG had the early chances. Mbappe led the way. Mbappe was sharp and created several chances early on. Unfortunately, none of them resulted in a shot on goal. In the 12th minute, things changed. Dortmund midfielder Xavier went down with pain in his groin. The medical staff deemed him unable to continue, and Felix N’Mecha came on in his place. In the meantime, Dortmund had their first shot on target. Marlon tried a low, quick right-footed shot. It was headed straight at the keeper.

PSG had the decisive chance in the 18th minute. Vitinha took a sharp shot on goal. The ball deflected off the goalkeeper and hit the post. The two teams then went back-and-forth. Zhan’s shot was off target and Hakimi responded with a mid-range effort, but neither was on target. In the 32nd minute, Kolo Moani unleashed a powerful shot that was blocked by the Dortmund defense. PSG looked to take the lead in the 40th minute. A cross hit the hands of Dortmund defender Leroy Sane. The PSG players claimed handball. Video review showed no penalty.

The first half was one-sided in PSG’s favor. They dominated every statistic: 72-28 in possession, 12-3 in shots, and 10-4 in corners, but couldn’t find the back of the net. The first half ended 0-0.

At the start of the second half, PSG had a great chance. Hakimi and Dembele played a nice passing play, with Dembele breaking down the right flank. A low cross was sent in by Mbappe, whose shot hit the right arm of Zouleh, who made the tackle. The referee immediately awarded a penalty. The Dortmund players protested, but VAR confirmed the penalty. Mbappe stepped up to take the spot kick, and he did so cleanly. Kobel read the direction, but Mbappe’s kick was quick and accurate. PSG took a 1-0 lead. Mbappe had scored in five consecutive games. He was in fine form, with eight goals in five games.

With momentum in their favor, PSG added an early goal. In the 12th minute, Hakimi scored his second goal. Hakimi exchanged passes with Vitinha to get into the box. After beating one defender, he took on the keeper and rattled the Dortmund net with an outstretched right-footed shot. Dortmund fought back. Marco Reus, who came on for Brandt in the 17th minute, fired a mid-range shot in the 20th minute. Unfortunately, it hit a teammate in the head. Schlotterbek’s tackle on Dembele was harsh, and the atmosphere was heating up, with both teams playing for nerves.

Dortmund were not to be so lucky. In the 33rd minute, substitute Jamie Vignogitens fired a shot that hit the post as soon as he came on. PSG took off Kolo Moani and Vitinha in the 32nd minute and brought on Gonzalo Hamus and Lee Kang-in. In the 38th minute, Dembele’s low, quick cross was headed inside by Hamus, but his shot went over the bar. Dortmund doubled their lead in the 41st minute when Nicklas Föhlkrug tried to head home a rebound. It went just wide of the post.

With six minutes of second-half stoppage time, Mbappe collected a long pass from the back and unleashed a sensational strike to the far post, but it was off target. In stoppage time, Hammers rattled the Dortmund net with a calm shot after receiving a pass from Mbappe and finding himself one-on-one with the keeper. However, it was ruled out for offside. Hammers, who joined PSG in the summer transfer window, is yet to score a goal in his PSG debut. PSG went on to complete the 2-0 victory.

After struggling a bit in the league, PSG turned things around with a win in the first leg of the European Champions League. Hakimi was the highest rated player for PSG on the day. He has an 8.9 rating from Sofascore. In addition to scoring a goal, Hakimi had a stellar game in the attacking third with a 100% dribbling success rate (3 attempts), 3 shots on goal, 1 on target, 3 interceptions, 3 tackles, and 1 clearance. Dembele, who was active on the flanks, earned an 8, while Mbappe, who scored the opening goal, earned a 7.7. In defense, Shkreliar, who kept a clean sheet, was rated 7.8 and Marquinhos was rated 7.7. Among the starters, Kolo Moani was the only other player with a 6.5 rating. Dortmund had a poor rating overall. Only N’Mecha, who came on at short notice, scored a 7, while the rest were in the 6s.

Meanwhile, Lee Kang-in will be joining the Asian Games squad immediately. Hwang Sun-hong’s team won the West without Lee Kang-in. Hwang Sun-hong’s men’s soccer team thrashed China 9-0 in the first match of Group E at the Hangzhou Asian Games, led by a hat trick from Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart) and multiple goals from Cho Young-wook (Gimcheon Commerce), at 8:30 p.m. on Monday at Jinhua Stadium in Jinhua, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. In a game that was highlighted by the fact that it was the first match for the Korean national team at the tournament, the Koreans got off to a crisp start that energized the squad. With the win, Korea jumped to first place in the group. The earlier match between Thailand and Bahrain ended 1-1. With six different players finding the back of the net, Hwang Sun-hong, who scored a brace, took the pressure off the rest of the group stage.

In what was expected to be a difficult first game, South Korea took the lead in the third minute and never looked back. Hwang Sun-hong, who had been worried about his players’ lightness of touch, was tactically impeccable, especially in attacking the opposition’s backline, constantly creating chances. In defense, the team pressed hard from the front. With the big win over Kuwait, Korea’s hopes of winning a third consecutive Asian Games were raised.

The team moved on to the final match on the 16th. “I know how difficult and long the journey will be to win a third consecutive Asian Games title,” said Hwang, adding, “I will do my best to achieve the desired goal with all my heart and soul with the mindset of ‘breaking through’ with my players.” The phrase means “breaking the pot to cook rice and sinking the ship to return home,” which means to fight to the death. “The goal is definitely gold,” said captain Baek Seung-ho (Jeonbuk), “and we’re determined to win the gold medal with a good showing from the first game.”

The importance of the first match is self-explanatory. In 2014 in Incheon, a 3-0 group stage win over Malaysia set the stage for a seven-match winning streak, and in 2018 in Jakarta-Palembang, the defending champions thrashed Bahrain 6-0. Winning your first group game not only gives you three much-needed points to advance to the round of 16, but it also creates a sense of urgency in the locker room. It gives the head coach some breathing room. What’s more, it will be the first game for the entire Korean team at the Hangzhou Asian Games. “There’s a lot of pressure (for the first game for the entire squad), and I understand that,” said Hwang. “There’s also a morale issue for the entire Korean team, so we’ll try to give them good results and energy with the mindset of representing the country together.”

Hwang went with his best lineup. He put out a 4-2-3-1 card. Cho Young-wook (Gimcheon Sangmu) started up top. Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart), Go Young-joon (Pohang Steelers), and Uhm Won-sang (Ulsan Hyundai) formed the second line. The center backs were Baek Seung-ho (Jeonbuk Hyundai) and Jung Ho-yeon (Gwangju FC). The back four was Park Kyu-hyun (Dynamo Dresden), Park Jin-seop (Jeonbuk), Lee Yi-beom (Meatwillan), and Hwang Jae-won (Daegu FC). In goal was Lee Kwang-yeon (Gangwon FC). Another wildcard, Seol Young-woo, was benched after the A team’s trip to Europe.

He had a great chance right from the start. In the first minute, Hwang Jae-won overlapped and sent in a good cross. Unfortunately, it didn’t find the feet of Jung Woo-young. With momentum on their side, South Korea took the lead in the second minute. Jung Woo-young was the man to do it. Jung played a 2-on-1 pass with Cho Young-wook. The defense tried to clear it away, but Jung Woo-young actively held onto the ball. Facing the goalkeeper, Jung Woo-young calmly finished. South Korea continued to attack. In the sixth minute, Uhm Won-sang’s cutback was blocked by the defense. A minute later, Uhm Won-sang made a nice run into the box, but was called offside.

Korea’s one-sided offense continued. The right attack with Uhm Won-sang and Hwang Jae-won continued to shake the Kuwaiti flank. They got into the half-space and tried to cut back, but the opponent’s physical defense prevented them from shooting.

Another goal came in the 19th minute. Baek Seung-ho sent an exquisite penetrating pass to Uhm Won-sang. Uhm Won-sang’s left-footed shot beat the goalkeeper and hit the post. Cho Young-wook then grabbed the loose ball and scored the second goal with a powerful right-footed shot. In the 21st minute, Kuwait had their first shot on goal. The free kick went wide of the goal. Korea attacked again. Park Jin-seop headed in a corner kick from the right by Baek Seung-ho. It was off target.

South Korea continued to attack with time to spare. When Kuwait intermittently attacked, they were quick to press, and the central defense was quick to cover, giving them no chance. South Korea continued to create chances in the back. In the 35th minute, Cho Young-wook moved to the right and passed the ball to Uhm Won-sang in the center. Uhm Won-sang wasted no time in getting a shot off, but it was blocked. In the 37th minute, Baek Seung-ho attempted a powerful mid-range shot from distance. It was blocked by the goalkeeper.

Just as the two-goal lead seemed to be getting away from us, a goal storm erupted in the last minute of the first half. In the 43rd minute, ‘Captain’ Baek Seung-ho took a fantastic free kick. It was placed in an exquisite space with an exquisite trajectory. Just before halftime, he capitalized on an opponent’s mistake to add a wedge goal. Ko Young-joon sent a perfect through ball to Jung Woo-young, who ran onto it and calmly finished with his right foot. At 4-0, Kuwait seemed to crumble.

The Korean offense continued in the second half. Three minutes into the second half, another goal came, this time from Jung Woo-young. He sent a brilliant through ball to a diving Uhm Won-sang from the back. Uhm Won-sang cut back, completely breaking down the right side. Cho Young-wook’s shot beat the opposing goalkeeper. The loose ball was slotted home by Jung Woo-young. Jung completed his hat trick.

A minute later, there was a chance for a hat trick. Uhm Won-sang made a great run and sent the ball to Jung Woo-young on the left. Jung tried to shoot with his left foot. It wasn’t quite on target. In the sixth minute, Uhm Won-sang was the hero. Cho Young-wook led the opposing defense and sent a through ball to the penetrating Uhm Won-sang. Uhm Won-sang faced the keeper and calmly fired a left-footed shot past the keeper to rattle the Kuwaiti net.

Hwang made a change in the ninth minute. He took off Hwang Jae-won and introduced Ahn Jae-joon (Bucheon FC), Park Jae-yong (Jeonbuk), and Choi Jun (Busan IPark). Park Jae-yong started up top, Cho Young-wook dropped to shadow striker, and Ahn Jae-joon took over on the right. In the 12th minute, Choi Jun sent in a cross from the right. Park Jae-yong connected with a header, but it went over the crossbar.

To make matters worse, Kuwait lost a key defender to injury in the 19th minute. Kuwait tried to counterattack, but they were unable to break through the Korean defense. In the 20th minute, Korea had another crucial chance. Ahn Jae-joon moved into the center and sent a nice penetrating pass to Cho Young-wook, who jumped on it and tried his luck with a right-footed shot. It went just wide of the goal. A minute later, Park Jae-yong tried a header from a high ball. It went straight at the keeper. In the 23rd minute, Hwang made another change. He took off Jung Woo-young, who scored a hat trick, and brought on Hong Hyun-seok. With a big lead, Hwang had more room to maneuver, which gave him the opportunity to rest his players and control their physical condition.

South Korea continued to attack. Ahn Jae-jun broke down the right side and sent in a cross. Cho Young-wook jumped in and attempted a header, but it was not quite on target. In the 27th minute, the Koreans pressed from a high position and immediately went on the counterattack. They broke down the right side and sent in a strong cross, but it was met by the diving feet of Cho Young-wook and Hong Hyun-seok. South Korea added another goal. In the 28th minute, Cho Young-wook received an exquisite penetrating pass and calmly fired a left-footed shot. The ball went between the goalkeeper’s crotch and rattled the net. It was a multi-goal game for Cho.

In the 33rd minute, even Seol Young-woo, who was resting, came on. Baek Seung-ho, who had stabilized the midfield, was out. Park Kyu-hyun played as a left midfielder and Hong Hyun-seok moved to the center. Hwang experimented a lot in the first game. In the process, he added another goal. In the 35th minute, Seol Young-woo made a nice run down the left flank after a fantastic ball-delivery by South Korea. He sent in a sharp left-footed cross that Park Jae-yong slid in to finish.

South Korea’s pressure didn’t diminish as the game headed into the final minutes. Kuwait’s attempts at attacking were often cut off up front. Kuwait looked increasingly desperate towards the end. Players kept lying on the ground. They were physically exhausted and their back muscles were strained from fending off Korea’s quick attacks. South Korea remained focused. The passing and movement from the first half continued into the final minutes of the game.

There were six minutes of extra time. Korea pushed for a goal until the end. Park Jin-seop stepped up to the attack and attempted a powerful mid-range shot. The defense deflected it away. On the ensuing corner kick, Hong Hyun-seok’s cross was headed in by Park Jae-yong. It was saved by the keeper. Ahn Jae-joon also had a chance in stoppage time. He held onto a ball from the back and calmly finished. In the end, the game ended 9-0. It couldn’t have gone any better 굿모닝토토.

With a fresh start, Hwang will face Thailand in the second round at 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 21 at the same venue. With a win, Hwang will advance to the round of 16. The 23 nations in the men’s soccer competition were divided into six groups. There are four nations in Groups A, B, C, E, and F, and three in Group D. The 12 second-place finishers in each group plus the four best third-place finishers will advance to the round of 16. With two wins, you’re guaranteed at least a second-place finish. The second round is not a given; four years ago, South Korea suffered a shock loss to Malaysia after sweeping the first round. They can’t afford to let their guard down. The key against Thailand will be the availability of Lee Kang-in. His teammates are eagerly awaiting his return. Cho Young-wook, the multi-goal hero against Kuwait, said in a post-match interview, “After the game, Kang-in texted me. He said he could go a little slower, but he didn’t have a choice. I texted him back and said, “Hurry up. Although he won’t be able to play right away, we can expect him to play in the second half for the sake of the atmosphere.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *