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Team K League Player Ratings

Team K League vs Juventus Player Ratings

While few eyebrows could be raised at the number of supporters who converged on Seoul World Cup Stadium in awe of Serie A heavyweights Juventus FC, there is a possibility casual fans and newcomers to the domestic game may have left surprised at the quality on display from a hastily constructed Team K League. We take a look at the hosts and how each player fared against Europe's best.

Team K League held Juventus to a 3-3 draw in what would have been regarded as a highly entertaining affair were it not for the off-field controversies that sadly marred what should have been a light-hearted evening. Fans were understandably dismayed and disgruntled at Juventus' delayed arrival at the stadium and refusal to introduce Christiano Ronaldo from their bench, despite their club's contractual obligations to do so. 

While 'The Old Lady' may have treated the showcase and their overseas supporters with little respect, the same could not be said about the K League side who did everything within their power to give the spectators a game to enjoy and shine some light on the talent the K League 1 possesses, serving as a positive advertisement for domestic football within this country.

The scores given below are partially awarded based on the context of the match. This was a game where eleven players within the squad were chosen via fan vote, with the remaining additions being made up of players that ensured representation of all K League 1 clubs, meaning that the coaching staff had to mostly manage with what they were given. Furthermore, the players only held one training session together prior to the match and were expected to compete against the champions of Italy's Serie A, even if it was only a friendly.

Starting Eleven

Jo Hyun-woo (Daegu FC)

Korean National Team goalkeeper Jo Hyun-woo won the popular vote by a sizeable amount when the selection was put to the public, and for good reason. Jo had perhaps a quieter night than envisaged with Juventus caught slightly off-guard in the first half, but he was still able to make a few reflex saves when called upon. He could not have done much to stop the goal he conceded but could have perhaps caught the ball on occasion instead of punching and ceding possession. Overall, a solid showing from the K League's best 'keeper.

Score: 7/10

Hong Chul (Suwon Samsung Bluewings)

Hong Chul was often required to contribute to the build-up as an attacking full-back but tracked back well when required and looked fairly secure in completing the tasks required of him. Overall, it was an assured performance from the Suwon full-back.

Score: 7/10

Stelios Valentinos (Gangwon FC)

As Gangwon FC's sole representative in this side, Stelios Valentinos put in a decent display and provided defensive solidarity for the majority of the match alongside centre-back Yun Young-sun. Arguably he was caught slightly out of position and subsequently created the space for Juventus' first goal but made up for it throughout the rest of the match with crucial interceptions.

Score: 7/10

Yun Young-sun (Ulsan Hyundai)

Yun Young-sun was called up into the side to replace his club teammate Dave Bulthuis who had to pull out through injury despite earning a spot through the fan vote. In terms of the initial back four, Yun was perhaps the standout, often doing well with his positioning and keeping the visitors at bay. Yun was involved in the build-up to Cesinha's goal, providing the smart, near-reflexive header to play Kim Bo-kyung into space to make the assist.

Score: 8/10

Lee Yong (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)

Perhaps more notable for his attacking movements than his defensive, manager José Morais utilised Lee Yong in a similar style to how he plays at club level; overlapping down the wing and providing crosses for the attack. While his crosses sometimes lacked the accuracy, his quick movement down this right channel was important to Team K League's build-up play.

Score: 7/10

Osmar (FC Seoul)


Osmar was arguably one of the best players on the pitch with a display that outshone some of the glamorous counterparts lined up against him. The Seoul midfielder set the tone for the match with a sensational opener in the sixth minute to jolt this delayed game into life, dispossessing Juventus' Higuain, on the halfway line, running towards the oppositions' goal and unleashing a lethal long-distance strike. He proved to be a dominant presence all night in defensive midfield and contributed well to build-up play. His removal late into the second half, prior to Juventus' two comeback goals, only further underlined how crucial his involvement was to this team.

Score: 9/10

Yoon Bit-garam (Sangju Sangmu)

Not a particularly strong night for the Sangju creative midfielder, although it did seem as if he was being asked to sit far deeper than his usual club role of attacking midfielder. Next to Osmar in a central midfield role, Yoon disappeared for long stretches, unable to support the attack. He did have two chances towards the end of his stint yet neither were enough to worry the Juventus goalkeeper.

Score: 6/10

Kim Bo-kyung (Ulsan Hyundai)

A solid performance from the attacking midfielder, complimenting the tireless work of Osmar and also picking up an assist for Cesinha's goal. Kim supported the build-up well when Team K League pushed forward.

Score: 7/10

Cesinha (Daegu FC)


The official man-of-the-match and with good reason. The Daegu attacking midfielder brought all the creativity and drive he provides at club level and transferred it seamlessly into a packed stadium against the champions of Italy. His goal was well taken to give the home side a 2-1 lead before half-time and his Ronaldo-esque celebration, initially paid in tribute to the benched player, was perhaps one of the more defiant and defining images of the evening. Who needs to bring over superstars for showpiece friendlies when you can watch this man every week?

Score: 10/10

Lee Dong-gook (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)

Lee Dong-gook was probably not surprised to find himself on the fan-voted list but, given his tiring schedule and recent fitness concerns, may have been forgiven if he wasn't as enthralled as he would have once been. His popularity and status remain high with local fans however and he eased his way into the squad. The 40-year-old striker mostly struggled for the first half and felt anonymous throughout proceedings despite having the most shots for the hosts. The Korean legend made up for his underwhelming display with his comments post-match, however, claiming Messi to be the best player in the world. Cheeky.

Score: 6/10



Eder (Seongnam FC)

There was some initial surprise to see Eder's name on the starting eleven teamsheet. However, those who know his contribution to Seongnam this season, not to mention having played alongside Lee Yong and Lee Dong-gook at Jeonbuk, and Cesinha at Daegu FC, would have known his inclusion would work seamlessly. Combining with Lee Yong, Eder caused problems down the right side on a number of occasions for Juventus, both in terms of pushing forward and tracking back.

Score: 8/10


Substitutes

Song Beom-keun (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)

While Jo Hyun-woo was rightly selected to start this match, it was left to Song Beom-keun to bear the brunt of Juventus' second-half resurgence. The two goals conceded late on were well worked from the visitors but the 21-year-old Song should be complimented for his composure and quick reactions to deny the Italian champions from leaving with what would have been an undeserved victory.

Score: 8/10

Park Joo-ho (Ulsan Hyundai)

Like Hong Chul, the player he replaced, Park put in a solid display that did not grab headlines for neither positive or negative reasons. Park was also involved in Adam Taggart's goal, providing the initial cross directly to the Australian's feet from the left-wing.

Score: 7/10

Lee Kwang-seon (Gyeongnam FC)

Gyeongnam FC representative Lee Kwang-seon entered proceedings in the second half and appeared to not have much to do initially as Team K League pressed forward for a third goal. Found it a challenge against some of Juventus' more physical forwards as the half progressed but did very little wrong.

Score: 7/10

Kim Jin-ya (Incheon United)

As one of the younger players in the team, Incheon United full-back Kim Jin-ya did not seem phased by the occasion nor his opponents, replacing Lee Yong and looking more effective than the established right back in doing so. Kim injected a degree of energy to proceedings and was persistent in his marking and tracking back.

Score: 8/10

Mix Diskerud (Ulsan Hyundai)

Having recently extended his loan with Ulsan Hyundai, ensuring his participation in this match, American international Mix Diskerud began the second half for Team K League and once again demonstrated the traits that have made him a fan favourite on the East Coast and across the division. He was solid in central midfield and did what he does best, playing the ball through to create chances for his teammates. He linked up well with Adam Taggart on a couple of occasions and complimented Osmar until the Spaniard's removal.

Score: 8/10

Wanderson (Pohang Steelers)

The Pohang Steelers' representative was somewhat of a pleasant surprise when he was introduced in the second half. Wanderson looked lively during his time on the pitch, linking up well with strikers Adam Taggart and Park Chu-young. He did become less effective when moved centrally later on, however.

Score: 8/10

Yun Il-lok (Jeju United)

Yun Il-lok came on with little time left on the clock to have any impact. His most notable contribution was replacing Osmar, a player who, if left on the pitch, may have kept Juventus from scoring their two late goals.

Score: N/A

Adam Taggart (Suwon Samsung Bluewings)


Australian international Adam Taggart carried his sublime domestic form into this friendly, scoring Team K League's third goal early into the second half. There were some concerns over why he was not starting, but it made sense come the second half when it was clear he'd be supporting the slightly lagging Park Chu-young in attack. The striker looked a threat all night and had a couple more chances to add to his tally.

Score: 9/10

Park Chu-young (FC Seoul)

Like Lee Dong-gook, Park Chu-young wound up in this side through the popular vote despite perhaps not being best suited for such an occasion. While the Seoul striker has had a slight renaissance this season, regular followers of the league would have perhaps pointed to far more potent strikers plying their trade this year who deserved this opportunity more. Park's performance was best summarised by a selfish effort on goal from on the edge of the area despite more suitable options around him. Somewhat expectedly, the subsequent shot bothered fans in the stands behind the goal more than the goalkeeper.

Score: 6/10

Manager

José Morais (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)


Jeonbuk manager José Morais and his assistants Choi Yong-soo (FC Seoul manager) and Kim Do-hoon (Ulsan Hyundai manager) should be praised for their handling of this match, offering up a positive and attractive display in a bid to take the game to Juventus and perhaps sway the negative opinions of the K League held by some of those in the crowd.

The manager and his staff did not overcomplicate things by focusing on how to stop the superior opposition but instead did what this friendly match called for and that was to allow the players to play and have fun, something this match was supposed to be about. Given the coaching team also had one training session with this collection of players, the bold starting team selection proved to be the correct decision and was only undone by the unspoken need to field all the players at some point throughout the match, subsequently undoing an initially solid setup.

Score: 9/10


Post-Match Reaction

Site editors Ryan Walters and Matthew Binns gave their thoughts on the match shortly after the full-time whistle at Seoul World Cup Stadium. Watch it below or on our YouTube channel here.

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