Jung Jo-gook scores first goal in French league

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Jung Jo-gook scores first goal in French league

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Auxerre striker Jung Jo-gook celebrates after scoring against Olympique Marseille during French Ligue 1 play in Marseille on Sunday. [REUTERS/YONHAP]

Korean footballer Jung Jo-gook finally notched his first goal in France, saving his team AJ Auxerre from defeat against Olympique Marseille in the 33rd round of French Ligue 1 competition on Sunday.

Jung didn’t enter the game until the 71st minute but the 27-year-old striker clinched an important equalizer off the bench just six minutes later.

Thanks to Jung, Auxerre tied 1-1 against the defending champions on the road. The goal helped the visitors to remain out of the relegation zone. Now 15th, Auxerre is just one point ahead of AS Nancy, which is in the relegation zone with 38 points.

The first half ended in a scoreless draw but Auxerre allowed Marseille’s Mathieu Valbuena to score early in the second half.

Then came Jung, who replaced midfielder Frederic Sammaritano in the 71st minute. Just six minutes later, Jung received a long pass from Polish teammate Dariusz Dudka and slipped through Marseille’s offside trap. The striker then put the ball into the net with his right foot between Argentine defender Gabriel Heinze and French goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.

His goal brought silence to the Marseille fans in the Stade Velodrome, who no doubt wanted to see their team regain the league’s top spot with the win. Last season’s champion is now one point behind league leader LOSC Lille.

It was a long awaited goal for Jung, who joined Auxerre in January and failed to score in his 10 league games to this point. His best performance was probably when he notched an assist against Arles-Avignon back on Feb. 20 - also his only assist of the season.

Jung signed two-and-a-half-year deal with Auxerre on Jan. 30 after helping FC Seoul win the K-League and K-League Cup title last season. The striker was the second-leading scorer for Seoul.

Jung hasn’t had much of an opportunity to play since he joined the team, starting just one game and, including Sunday’s game, coming on as a substitute in league games on nine occasions.

It might have been a bit frustrating for Jung, who announced he will not come back to Korea until his contract ends in 2013, but his first goal on Sunday could boost his confidence and keep his hopes of becoming Auxerre’s regular striker next season alive.

According to several reports, the team’s main striker, Ireneusz Jelen, is set to leave Auxerre after this season, which could provide Jung with a prime opportunity to claim the starting spot.

Meanwhile, two other Korean players in the French league failed to make appearances last weekend.

Jung’s former FC Seoul teammate and AS Monaco striker Park Chu-young missed his team’s 1-1 stalemate against AS Saint-Etienne on Sunday with a sprained ankle. The 26-year-old is the team’s top scorer with 12 goals.

He played the full game against Stade Rennais on April 26 but reported an ankle injury to his team shortly after. Park is expected to play next week.

Nam Tae-hee of Valenciennes FC also missed weekend action against Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday. The 20-year-old attacker was on the game roster but didn’t play due to a coach’s decision. Valenciennes lost 3-1.

Valenciennes and Monaco both have 39 points but two teams, at 13th and 14th in the league, are ahead of Auxerre on goal differential.


By Joo Kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

정조국 프랑스 데뷔골, 오세르를 구했다

후반 투입 6분 만에 동점골
강팀 마르세유와 1-1 비겨
강등 위기 팀에 승점 챙겨줘

정조국(27·AJ오세르)이 프랑스 프로축구 리그1 데뷔골을 터뜨렸다.

정조국은 2일(한국시간) 프랑스 마르세유 스타드 벨로드롬에서 열린 리그1 올랭피크 마르세유와의 원정 경기에서 팀이 0-1로 뒤지던 후반 32분 동점골을 넣었다. 정조국은 이날 후반 26분 프레데릭 사마리타노 대신 투입됐다. 그는 다리우스 두드카가 중앙선 부근에서 길게 연결해 준 공을 페널티지역 정면에서 오른발로 슈팅해 득점을 올렸다. 지난 1월 오세르 유니폼을 입은 지 10경기 만에 나온 마수걸이 골이다. 정조국은 마르세유 중앙수비수 가브리엘 에인세와 골키퍼 스티브 만단다가 달려드는 상황에서 침착하게 슈팅을 날렸다.

정조국의 골에 프랑스 언론도 관심을 보였다. 리그1을 대표하는 강호이자 인기팀 마르세유의 승리를 저지한 골이라서다. 마르세유는 지난 시즌 우승하며 리그1에서 역대 둘째로 많은 9차례 우승을 했다. 올 시즌 릴(승점63)에 이어 2위(승점62)를 달리고 있다.

프랑스 일간지 레퀴프 인터넷판은 2일 정조국이 골을 넣은 사진을 리그1 톱 뉴스 자리에 배치했다. 리그1 공식 홈페이지는 “정조국이 오세르를 구원하는 포인트를 기록했다”고 전했다. 강등권에서 벗어나기 위해 노력하고 있는 오세르는 정조국의 골에 힘입어 1-1 무승부를 기록하면서 15위(승점 39)가 됐다. 리그1에서는 18위부터 20위까지 다음 시즌 2부리그로 떨어진다.

정조국이 골을 넣자 몸을 풀던 벤치 멤버들까지 달려와 축하를 해줬다. 오세르의 골키퍼 올리비에르 소린은 현지 언론 프랑스스포츠와의 인터뷰에서 “정조국이 노력의 결실을 맺었다. 모든 선수가 그의 골에 기뻐했다”고 말했다. 정조국의 에이전트사 지센의 류택형 이사는 “오세르가 전통적으로 가족적인 분위기다. 또 정조국의 긍정적인 성격이 팀 동료들에게 좋은 인상을 줘서 팀에 빨리 적응한 듯하다”고 설명했다.

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