Friday, July 24, 2009

Manchester United Asia Tour 2009: FC Seoul, Korea

Manchester United continued their Asia Tour 2009 with a visit to Seoul, Korea. A huge crowd gathered at the birth town of their Korean football team captain and superstar, Park Ji-Sung.

As with the match in Malaysia, United started the game slowly and only began asserting themselves after FC Seoul scored the first goal. For me, I was very interested to see if Mickey Owen will make it three goals in three games. That did not happen but from what I saw, Owen has added an excellent passing range to his goalscoring repertoire. There were two to three occasions since coming on that Owen played excellent and accurate long passes to a United team mate, sparking off an attacking move. This will truly be an interesting season just to watch Owen's bid for an England World Cup spot.

Here is a report I picked up from Yahoo! News:
SEOUL (AFP) – English Premier League champions Manchester United saw off a determined FC Seoul here Friday night, taking a see-sawing exhibition match 3-2 with a brace of second-half goals.

With the scores levelled at 2-2 it was left to second-half substitute Dimitar Berbatov to save the Premier League champions' blushes.

Darron Gibson's sharp cross set up the game-winning header from close range in the 65th minute, as Berbatov redirected the ball inside the near post past the Seoul keeper Kim Ho-Jun.

The home side had opened the scoring in the 23rd, with Kim Seung-Yong's curling cross from the right finding the charging Dejan Damjanovic, who squeezed past two defenders and deftly slotted past the helpless Tomasz Kuszczak.

United equalised eight minutes later when an unmarked Wayne Rooney soared to convert a John O'Shea cross from the right, just out of reach of the diving Kim.

Damjanovic put Seoul back in front moments before half-time. A nifty pass from Lee Seung-Yeoul sent the Serb through alone against Kuszczak, and FC Seoul's leading scorer flicked the ball in over the Polish keeper for the lead. Federico Macheda tied the score again in the 57th when Rooney's through pass from just inside the halfway line set up the 17-year-old, who easily put the ball past the charging Kim.

Berbatov's strike edged United in front and Michael Owen could have put the game beyond doubt but headed wide after diving to redirect Gibson's low, curving cross from the right in the 73rd.

After going quiet for most of the second half, Seoul pressed for an equaliser but late strikes by Jung Jo-Gook and Ki Sung-Yueng went straight to the United keeper.

Seoul had managed to frustrate United early on by crowding their box but the England champions showed their class in the end.

Park Ji-Sung, United's Korean winger who was the star attraction for much of the crowd, did not start and entered the match in the 73rd minute to deafening applause.

Fans had cheered on and chanted Park's name as the giant screens showed him seated on the bench. United travel to China for their next match on the Asian tour against Hangzhou Greentown Sunday. FC Seoul resume their domestic league play on August 1.

Here are the video highlights ( of a very entertaining friendly match.

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