Ulsan Hyundai's former QSL midfielder: "Comfortable playing in Qatar "

  • 2 months   ago

DOHA: South Korean midfielder Koh Myong-jin, familiar to football lovers of Qatar as the hard-working, tough-tackling professional of Al Rayyan SC’s romp to the Qatar Stars League title in 2015-16, has displayed another dimension of his skillsets upon his return to the 2022 FIFA World Cup host nation with K.League club Ulsan Hyundai in the 2020 AFC Champions League.

Deployed as an attacking midfielder by coach Kim Do-hoon in the Group F game against Australia’s Perth Glory at 2022 FIFA World Cup venue Education |City Stadium, Koh produced a standout man-of-the-match winning performance as his side triumphed 2-0 to emerge group leaders with 10 points and two games remaining.

Though he was not on the scoresheet, Koh was a constant source of threat for the Aussies throughout the 90 minutes with his darting runs and piercing passes and his efforts led to the Korean side’s total dominance in the midfield.

The 32-year-old, who made 82 appearances for Al Rayyan between 2015 and 2019, had no hesitation in attributing his masterclass to the comfort level he had in once adopted home Qatar.

“I feel really pleased to be back in Qatar,” Koh told media after the match. “I have played here for four years and hence I was comfortable while playing. That is why I wanted to show my quality. Also, this time I was coming back as a member of a South Korean team – so I wanted to do well. I am glad I did and once again I am so pleased to be back in Qatar.”

The two-time K.League winner and 2013 AFC Champions League runner-up with FC Seoul was part of Jorge Fossati’s Al Rayyan squad which, endowed with the attacking riches of Qatari internationals Rodrigo Tabata and Sebastian Soria and Spanish forward Sergio Garcia, had bagged the title with a 14-point gap over the second placed side in 2015-16.

With Koh’s Ulsan midfield compatriot Yoon Bit-garam, who started along with Koh against Perth Glory, having spoken about his share of glorious Qatar memories after his man-of-the-match winning performance against Shanghai Shenhua on 21 November, it looks like coach Kim Do-hoon will be banking on his midfield duo to derive motivation from their exploits of the past in the 2022 FIFA WC host nation as his team looks to cement its place in the knockout stages.

As a member of the South Korean national team, Yoon had scored the extra-time winner against a strong Iranian side in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup held in Qatar. “I scored a good goal here [against Iran] and have good memories of Qatar. It was not only me – my teammates also showed a strong will,” he had told media after his brace in the 3-1 win against Shanghai Shenhua.

 

 

Ulsan Hyundai next take on Japanese side FC Tokyo on Monday and complete their group assignments by taking on Shanghai Shenhua on 3 December.

Source: Qatar Football Association

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