Seol makes waves in English league Reading debutKorean national soccer team member Seol Ki-hyun of English Premier League’s Reading made a successful Premiership debut last Saturday, as he was named the Man of the Match in Reading’s 3-2, come-from-behind victory over Middlesbrough. It was Reading’s first-ever league win.
Middlesbrough went ahead with two goals in the first 21 minutes, but Reading scored three unanswered goals for the comeback win at Reading’s home field Madjeski Stadium. Seol assisted on his team’s first goal and had a hand in another one. He also had scoring chances of his own off two free kicks in the first half.
In the 44th minute, Seol, starting right midfielder, crossed for Dave Kitson to set up Reading’s first-ever Premier League goal. Moments later, Steve Sidwell scored the equalizer. Second-half substitute Leroy Lita capped it off with a 55th-minute goal.
The Korean player was pulled out of the game in the 83rd minute, and left to a standing ovation. And after the match, Seol’s performance drew rave reviews from Reading’s management and the English press.
The Guardian described Seol as “dangerous” throughout the match. BBC Sport reported that Seol’s play, especially his cross from right that led to Lita’s goal, “led to panic in [Middlesbrough’s] defense.” Sky Sports, a sports Web site covering European soccer, gave Seol a post-match rating of 9 out of 10, saying Seol made “an impressive debut.” It was the highest rating on Reading. Sky Sports also named Seol to its Team of the Weekend squad, which features top Premier League players in each position as selected by Sky Sports’ staff.
Steve Coppell, Reading’s manager, was also effusive about Seol. Korean online sports magazine Joynews 24 quoted Coppell as saying, “Seol is a key part of our offense, and he’s also a very energetic player.” The manager then praised Seol’s “ability to maintain possession of the ball.”
Another local online publication, My Daily, reported that Reading’s owner John Madjeski said after the game that “Seol was fantastic” in his debut.
Seol joined Reading in July from the Wolverhampton Wanderers for 1 million pounds ($1.84 million), the highest transfer fee in Reading’s history. He scored five goals in nine preseason games for Reading.
Seol is the third Korean to play in the Premier League, joining Park Ji-sung of Manchester United and Lee Young-pyo of Tottenham Hotspur. The other two players also played their first games of the season. Midfielder Park entered the game against Fulham in the 60th minute in place of Ryan Giggs, but didn’t record any point in the team’s 5-1 rout. Defender Lee started the match against Bolton Wanderers, but was substituted for in the 75th minute. The Spurs lost 2-0.
by Yoo Jee-ho