Park Ji-sung scores first goal since 2012

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Park Ji-sung scores first goal since 2012

Park Ji-sung made an impressive return to the Dutch league on Saturday, scoring an equalizer that prevented PSV Eindhoven from getting its first loss of the season.

Park, who entered the game in the 66th minute, scored at the 81-minute mark, evening the game at 1-1 following Lerin Duarte’s goal just six minutes in for Heracles Almelo.

The draw extended Eindhoven’s undefeated run to four games. With three victories and a draw, Eindhoven is behind only PEC Zwolle, which opened the season with four-straight wins.

It was Park’s first game in the Eredivisie in eight years, when he last played in the top Dutch league before moving to England. Park left for a seven-year stint in Manchester United in 2005 and then signed with Queens Park Rangers. He moved back to Eindhoven this month on a season-long loan.

The 32-year-old Korean midfielder made his comeback for Eindhoven during a Champions League playoff match against AC Milan last Tuesday, helping the Dutch club to a 1-1 draw in the first leg at home.

It was the first time Park scored since during an FA Cup match between Manchester United and Liverpool on Jan. 28 of 2012. He never scored with QPR.

Park said in an interview with a Dutch television channel after Saturday’s game that he learned from a stint with Manchester United how to handle a difficult situation like when Eindhoven was trailing Heracles Almelo.

He said that he wanted to beat Heracles but was still satisfied with earning a point.

PSV, whose starting lineup did not feature a single foreigner, a rarity for Dutch football, had won their first three matches of the season, but rested several players with an eye on their Champions League playoff at AC Milan on Wednesday.

PEC Zwolle kept up their 100 percent start to the Dutch season when Guyon Fernandez and Rochdi Achenteh scored in a 2-0 home triumph over Cambuur Leeuwarden on Saturday.

In Italy, a debut double from 36-year-old Luca Toni gave Hellas Verona a surprise 2-1 triumph over AC Milan on Saturday while new signing Carlos Tevez was on target as champions Juventus won 1-0 at Sampdoria.

Trademark headers from former Italian international Toni in the 29th and 53rd minutes gave promoted Verona victory in their first Serie A match for 11 years, the opening league game of the season.

Milan produced a disappointing display despite taking a 14th minute lead through Andrea Poli who was also making his debut.

The win brought delight to the fans at the Stadio Bentigodi who have had to suffer for more than a decade in the second and third tiers of Italian football while their smaller local rivals Chievo Verona flourished in Serie A.

BY MOON GWANG-LIP, REUTERS [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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