I waited for the day when Lee Kang-in (PSG) and Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad), who represent Korean and Japanese soccer, met at the “War of the Stars.”
UEFA held a draw ceremony for the round of 16 of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on the 18th (Korea time).
The draw to determine the eight teams that advanced to the quarterfinals of the Champions League has been completed. The first round of the round of 16 will be held on February 14-15 and 21-22, 2024, Korean time. The second round of the round of 16 will be held on March 6-7 and 13-14, and the eight teams that will advance to the quarterfinals will be determined through the combined scores of the first and second rounds. After all the round of 16 is over, the draw will be held again on March 15 to determine the list of the quarterfinals.
With interest in who will survive among the 16 teams in the tournament, PSG (Paris Saint-Germain) drew attention as it clashed with Real Sociedad in the round of 16.
PSG is a strong team considered one of the candidates to win the Champions League, but it struggled this season as it was formed in Group F of the “Death Group” along with AC Milan, Newcastle United and Borussia Dortmund.
They barely managed to advance to the round of 16. In the last six matches, PSG had a 1-1 draw at Dortmund, which seemed to turn on the red light to advance to the round of 16. Fortunately, a showdown between AC Milan and Newcastle at the same time ended with Milan’s victory, tying PSG and AC Milan with eight points.
If the points are the same, the Champions League determines the overall ranking of the opponents. The match between PSG and Milan was the same with one win and one loss, but their rankings were divided in terms of differences. PSG defeated Milan 3-0 at home and lost 1-2 on the road, barely securing a ticket to the round of 16 teams, ahead of PSG +2, Milan -2.
In particular, Lee Kang-in came out as a substitute in the second half of the third game against AC Milan and scored his PSG debut goal to complete the score 3-0, so Lee Kang-in contributed a lot to PSG’s advance to the round of 16.
As PSG managed to advance to the round of 16 as the second-ranked team in the group, Lee Kang-in reached the Champions League round of 16 for the first time in about four years since his days as Valencia in the 2019/20 season. At that time, Valencia met Atalanta in the round of 16 even though they went to the tournament as the top of the group, but attention was focused on whether Lee Kang-in could advance to the quarterfinals or higher this time. In addition, Lee Kang-in, who missed both the first and second rounds of the round of 16, is set to advance to the round of 16 for the first time this season, raising fans’ expectations.
PSG, which advanced to the second place in its group and was assigned to the Beside team, increased tension as it could meet potential champions such as Bayern Munich and Manchester City from the round of 16, but its opponent was Real Sociedad, the No. 1 player in Group D. Sociedad beat Inter Milan, the runner-up in last season’s Champions League, to the second place in Group D and secured a ticket to the round of 16 as the No. 1 player in its group.
Sociedad is a strong team that cannot be ignored, allowing only two runs in six group matches of the Champions League this season and boasting a solid defense that ranks first at least in lost points. Still, PSG, which was concerned about the possibility of facing Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Real Madrid, expressed relief that it met Sociedad, who was relatively small in weight.
In particular, Korean soccer fans showed great interest in the news that Lee Kang-in and Takefusa Kubo may face off in the round of 16 due to PSG and Sociedad’s clash.랭크카지노
Both Lee Kang-in and Gubo moved to Spain as children and grew up learning soccer. In the 2021/22 season, they played for RCD Majorca in La Liga and worked together.
Since Lee Kang-in and Gubo were born in 2001 and are the same Asian players, they quickly became close and maintain a close relationship to this day. In the summer of 2022, Gubo left Mallorca first when he moved to Sociedad, and a year later, Lee Kang-in also moved to PSG.
While the confrontation between young players representing Korea and Japan excited domestic soccer fans, Gubo did not hide his expectation that he will face Lee Kang-in. After the draw ceremony, Gubo posted the results of the draw for Sociedad on his SNS and tagged Lee Kang-in’s name. Lee Kang-in, who confirmed this, also captured Gubo’s SNS post and posted it on his SNS, expecting the round of 16 match against Gubo for the quarterfinals.
Lee Kang-in and Kubo were disqualified as prospects last season when they played for Sociedad and Mallorca, respectively. Last season, Lee Kang-in played as an ace in Mallorca and spent his career high season with six goals and six assists in 36 league games. Lee Kang-in’s performance led him to PSG, one of the best clubs in the world, ahead of the 2023/24 season.
Kubo also improved his skills significantly, finishing La Liga with nine goals and seven assists in 35 games in the 2022/23 season. In particular, La Liga won the most MOM among La Liga players last season, receiving nine Man of the Match (MOM) only given to the best player after the game.
This season, Gubo has recorded six goals and four assists in 23 games, and Lee Kang-in is in the process of adapting by recording two goals and one assist after transferring to PSG. In terms of Champions League performance, while Lee Kang-in appeared in five games and scored one goal, Gubo made one assist in six games.
The first leg of the Champions League round of 16 between PSG and Sociedad will first be held on Feb. 15, 2024 at the Parc des Princes, PSG’s home stadium. The two teams will then play their second leg of round of 16 at the Lele Arena in San Sebastian, Spain, on March 7.
However, there is a possibility that Lee Kang-in and Gubo will not meet in the first round of the round of 16 due to the continental cup schedule. The 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup will be held in Qatar in January next year, and both Lee Kang-in and Gubo are likely to participate in the tournament as members of the Korean and Japanese national soccer teams, respectively.