Park nets first league goal
In December, he scored his first goal in England, against Birmingham City in a Carling Cup quarterfinal ― his first for the club was in an exhibition match in China.
“I don’t feel pressure to score a goal. I just think now I scored a goal,” Park said calmly.
The home match between Manchester United and Fulham took place at the Old Trafford stadium and Park was on the starting roster.
Playing right midfield, Park applied pressure on Fulham from the start with his aggressive dribbling.
Six minutes into the game, Park positioned himself in the opponent’s penalty area. Receiving a pass from Gary Neville, he turned and shot the ball to the left of the Fulham goal and watched it ricochet off a defender into the back of the net.
It was his first goal in the English Premier League in 23 games or 177 days since he debuted in a match against Everton on Aug. 13. Park is also the only Korean to score a goal in the Premier League.
Following his goal, United went on to win 4-2, maintaining their second place in the league standings.
The Manchester Evening News, a local newspaper, reported that the lively and active play by Park contributed to the team’s victory and gave him a game rating of seven out of ten, the highest out of all the team members, shared with the striker Luis Saha.
Park joined the team in July last year and scored a header against Sendai in Beijing as part of an Asian Exhibition Tour. Unfortunately, Park then seemed to run into a dry spell and had no luck in scoring in the league despite his tenacious attacking ― he had five assists and is ranked ninth. He was the only regular player not to score a goal .
Park was an important part of the team’s offense, but kept missing opportunities ― a shot bounced off the crossbar against Aston Villa on Aug. 20 and another rattled the woodwork against Sunderland on Oct. 15.
Some of the British press reported that Park’s passing was not stable and his shots were not decisive enough for a world-class player. But Park persevered supported by his team and manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Park injured his right knee on Dec. 9 in training for the third round FA Cup match against Burton Albion and he had to skip six games before playing his next full match on Dec. 28 against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
by E Choong-Hyoung
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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