No Lee-Park matchup, just a 4-0 win for Manchester

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No Lee-Park matchup, just a 4-0 win for Manchester

The much-anticipated match-up between two Korean national team wingers never came to pass.

While the Bolton Wanderer’s Lee Chung-yong played the entire 90 minutes in the 0-4 loss to the Manchester United on home ground at Reebok Stadium in Bolton, England, early yesterday, Manchester’s Park Ji-sung did not receive any playing time.

Park was coming off a three-game stretch in which he recorded two goals and an assist, and he’s been playing his best football of the current season. While Park was seen warming up for the game in the second half, Manchester manager Alex Ferguson decided against using the left winger in the lopsided match.

English Premier League-leading Manchester United was also without its star forward Wayne Rooney and defender Rio Ferdinand in the lineup, and may have been saving itself for the Union of European Football Associations Champions League quarterfinal coming up Thursday, Korean time, against Bayern Munich of Germany’s Bundesliga.

Lee for his part, showcased his usual up-tempo and offensive style of play in the loss.

“I felt good in the early stages of the match but we gave up opportunities and they took advantage of the chances,” Lee said in a post-match interview.

“I learned a lot from the match.”

With both sides playing tentatively in the early stages, the turning point turned out to be Bolton defender Jlloyd Samuel’s own-goal in the 38th minute.

“We tried to play well on defense. Our opponents didn’t come out overly offensive in the early goings. After the own-goal, the match didn’t go our way,” said Lee.

Dimitar Berbatov received much of the spotlight for his strong play yesterday. With star forward Rooney out of the lineup, the Bulgarian scored two goals in the second half and Darron Gibson added a late goal to give Manchester a convincing 4-0 away win. With the two goals, Berbatov’s total improves to 10 goals on the season.

With the win over Bolton, Manchester United retained its spot as the English Premier League’s top team with a record of 23 wins, three draws and six losses.

Chelsea remains hot on Manchester’s trails as it trounced Aston Villa 7-1 yesterday to improve its record to 22 wins, five draws and five losses on the season.

Chelsea and Manchester will square off on April 4.

Bolton, on the other hand, is in 15th place in the 20-team league with a record of eight wins, eight draws and 16 losses.


By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]

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