Park may face United as QPR fights for survival

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Park may face United as QPR fights for survival

Park Ji-sung will be seeking a shot at redemption when the Queens Park Rangers meet his old team, Manchester United, tomorrow.

The matchup between the long-standing bottom-dweller and the dominant leader of the English Premier League could give Park the first chance to play against his old club, where the Korean midfielder became a world football star.

Since moving to QPR in July, he has been a shadow of the “three-lung Park” he was known as during his seven years with the Red Devils. This season, he’s failed to score one for QPR.

His role has grown more limited after Harry Redknapp took over from Mark Hughes at the helm of the team in November. The 31-year-old missed the first encounter of the season with Manchester on Nov. 24 because of an injury. Manchester won 3-1.

KBS football commentator Hahn June-hea predicted Redknapp will let Park play in the upcoming game to take advantage of his experience with Manchester, as the team tries to overcome the heavy odds against it.

QPR hasn’t beaten United at home since May 1989. And Manchester United are on 65 points, a mark no other team except Chelsea has ever reached in its opening 26 games.

QPR, with 17 points in 26 games, are seven points shy of a safety net. Redknapp told a British paper that his team will look to win 20 points in the remaining 12 games to avoid relegation.

One possible upside for QPR is that it has shown strength against the strongest teams under Redknapp. QPR upset third-place Chelsea 1-0 on Jan. 2, drew 0-0 with fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur on Jan. 13 and held runner-up Manchester City to a scoreless draw on Jan. 30.

Another focus of the game is whether Park will face off against Shinji Kagawa of Japan, in what would be the first encounter in Europe between the two Asian stars. Kagawa also sat out the November matchup due to a knee injury.

The game may also be the EPL debut for Yun Suk-young, a Korean defender who recently signed with QPR.


By Moon Gwang-lip, Kim Ji-han [joe@joongang.co.kr]
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