Park aims for magic 10
Park Chu-young scored the winning goal to lead AS Monaco to a French Cup round of 16 over Olympique Lyon at the Stade Louis II in Fontvieille, Monaco yesterday.
With the score knotted at a goal apiece, the 25-year-old forward connected on a cross from Francois Modesto to head in the game-winning goal past Lyon keeper Hugo Lloris in the 77th minute.
The goal was Park’s seventh of the season, and his first since the Christmas Eve match against Le Mans.
With the win, Monaco advanced into the next round of the French Cup - the equivalent of the French FA Cup. The team will face Bordeaux, the defending champions and the league leaders this season.
Lyon took the lead when defender Jean-Alain Boumsong headed in the opening goal just before halftime. It didn’t take long for Monaco to tie the match, with Nene connecting on a penalty shot after being brought down by Sidney Govou in the penalty box in the 52d minute.
Park is etching his place as one of the top forwards in the French Ligue 1. Playing in his sophomore season, Park’s aim is to reach 10 goals. In his rookie year, Park scored five goals and registered six assists in 35 matches.
Ten goals is considered the standard of excellence in Ligue 1. It is also a near-guaranteed ticket to a contract with a club in a bigger league, and Monaco has its share of former players who have made that leap.
Thierry Henry, who currently plays for Barcelona, was with Monaco for two seasons starting in 1996. He had nine goals and eight assists, and four goals and nine assists, respectively, to earn a contract with Italian club Juventus.
David Trezeguet signed on with Juventus after three seasons with Monaco starting in 1997 in which he scored 18 goals, 12 goals and 22 goals respectively.
The last forward to earn a big contract was Togo national Emmanuel Adebayor of Manchester City. The lanky Adebayor played with Monaco for two seasons starting in 2003, scoring eight and nine goals respectively before being lured by the English Premier League’s Arsenal with a lucrative contract.
If Park manages to reach 10 goals, he’ll get a lot of attention from bigger leagues around Europe.
“We have not had any direct contact with any big clubs yet, but we hear they’re showing a lot of interest in Park,” said Lee Dong-yeop, the director of Ten Plus Sports. “If Park continues to play well, good news will naturally follow. We won’t rush things.”
Defending champs Bordeaux crushed second-tier Ajaccio 5-1 yesterday.
Monaco is currently in sixth place in the league standings with a record of 11 wins, three draws and seven losses, while Bordeaux is in first with 15 wins, two draws and four losses.
Bordeaux won its only match against Monaco 1-0 on the home field on Sept. 31.
By Jason Kim, Kim Jong-ryok [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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