Lee’s on tap for a shot at Cup glory
Nigeria fans are looking for 34-year-old veteran Nwankwo Kanu to step onto the pitch. For Korea, manager Huh Jung-moo is looking at 31-year-old forward Lee Dong-gook as the man who’ll be able to provide an offensive spark in the second half. Fully healed from a right-hamstring tear he suffered during the friendly against Ecuador on May 16, Lee’s long-range shots can come in handy against Nigeria’s four-man defensive line, which has been prone to poor man-to-man coverage.
The veteran may lack the ability to penetrate his opponent’s defense and create his own chances, but he has an accurate shot and it can come in handy against a squad that often leaves open spaces in its zone. Nigeria’s defensive line has so far tended to sit back rather than pressure its opposing forwards, leaving a gap between the midfielders and defenders. The open spaces could give Lee enough time to set himself up for a big shot.
For Lee, it’s a chance at making good on early promise. He made his World Cup debut in 1998, when he was substituted into the game against the Netherlands in the 76th minute, and immediately grabbed attention by getting off a shot.
After a failed stint with Middlesbrough in the English Premier League, Lee topped the K-League with 21 goals for the Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors last season. He has continued his impressive pace with five goals in nine league matches this season.
By Lee Jung-chan [email@example.com]