Park Chu-young voted MVP in All Star GameNineteen-year-old Park Chu-young of FC Seoul was named the most valuable player of the K-League All Star Game at the Seoul World Cup Stadium last Sunday.
The national team’s recent slump led to a decline in the number of spectators and the game was less dynamic, but the central all-star team’s Park gave a fine performance. Park debuted in the professional league this year, and this was his first all-star game appearance, but he was always in the right place at the right time, executing powerful shots and making precise passes. The central team, however, lost the game to the southern team 3-2 on a decisive goal by Brazilian forward Sandro Hiroshi Parreao Oi in the 43rd minute of the second half. Park earned 22 of the 55 available votes from journalists as well as the prize money of 10 million won ($10,000).
In the 13th minute of the first half, left forward Park won a penalty while dribbling the ball alone in the penalty area after a foul by a southern team defender. Even an experienced goalkeeper like Kim Byung-ji was helpless in the face of Park’s cunning shot. The spectators roared when the ball hit the back of the net.
The southern team’s first goal came from defender Rogerio Pinherio Dos Santos of the Pohang Steelers scoring the equalizer from a powerful header off a corner kick, 20 minutes into the first half. Lee Dong-gook of the Pohang Steelers, the three-time winner of the All-Star MVP award, scored another goal off a pass from Chung Kyung-ho for the central team in the 38th minute, but Kong Oh-kyun of the Daejeon Citizens again evened the score with a left-footer only 20 seconds after the half-time break.
Park sidestepped the defense and shot from a corner of the penalty box in the 14th minute of the second half, and sent another powerful shot in the 37th minute after rushing in between the defensive players, though neither of these produced a goal.
National team head coach Johannes Bonfrere was watching the game in the stands and said, in a reply to questions from reporters, that the Korea Football Association has not asked him to resign. Mr. Bonfrere’s future with the national team has come under scrutiny after the team’s poor performances, including a loss last week to Saudi Arabia in the final qualifying round for the 2006 Germany World Cup and a fourth place finish in the East Asian Football Championship early this month.
by Sung Ho-jun, Limb Jae-un