Koo’s triple still not enough to give Augsburg a clear win

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Koo’s triple still not enough to give Augsburg a clear win

South Korean midfielder Koo Ja-cheol of FC Augsburg had a hat-trick yesterday in the match against Bayer Leverkusen at WWK Arena in Augsburg, Germany.

The 26-year-old started the Bundesliga match as the center mid-fielder against Leverkusen and scored the opening goal of the match in the fifth minute when he volleyed back the failed shot attempt by his teammate Alexander Esswein that bounced off the top of the goalpost with his right foot. This was Koo’s first goal since Feb. 22 when he scored against Hannover 96.

Koo’s positioning paid off again in the 44th minute. Augsburg’s Alfreð Finnbogason penetrated the penalty box to beat the goalkeeper, only to have his shot bounce off the right goalpost. However, as the ball bounced back out to the middle of the box, Koo rushed in to add another goal to his tally.

Koo’s final goal of the match came 56 minutes into the game when Finnbogason settled the ball off his chest from the cross by Philipp Max.

Scoring his fifth, sixth and seventh goal of the season, this was Koo’s first hat-trick not just in the Bundesliga but also in his professional football career. Koo also topped his previous per season goal record. Koo scored five goals for Augsburg in 2011-12 season and the same number of goals in 2014-15 season for FSV Mainz 05.

However, Koo’s scoring was not enough to secure victory for Augsburg as its defense line crumbled in the second half.

Karim Bellarabi of Bayer Leverkusen scored four minutes after Koo’s final goal in the 60th minute when his shot from the right corner of the penalty box crossed the goal line off the hand of Augsburg goalie Marwin Hitz. Augsburg conceded another goal 20 minutes later after an own goal during Leverkusen’s corner kick attempt. Finally during injury time, Leverkusen’s Hakan Calhanoglu scored with a penalty.

After Augsburg’s draw with No. 8 Bayer Leverkusen, the team is 14th in the league standing with six wins, eight draws and 11 losses.

BY CHOI HYUNG-JO [choi.hyungjo@joongang.co.kr]
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