February 26, 2007 09:11
The website of Middlesbrough FC summed it up on Sunday, calling Lee Dong-gook's debut for the English professional soccer team a "fairy tale" that was missed by "inches."
But while his shot at a dramatic opening was off, the Korean star received a fantastic ovation from Boro' fans at Riverside stadium, and, according to the website, coach Gareth Southgate hopes that will be enough to help Lee settle on the club.
Some 25 days after he joined Middlesbrough, Lee made his debut for the English Premier League with a tremendous shot on goal that was only just deflected by the post.
Lee took to the pitch as a substitute for Aiyegbeni Yakubu at the 85-minute mark and played 10 minutes including injury time. Teammate Steward Downing gave Lee a cross from the left-hand side of midfield that Lee stroked into a hard volley towards the goal with his left foot. The shot nicked Reading's goal post, and Lee, seeing his fairy tale opener rejected, buried his face in his hands.
Lee got another opportunity a bit later, this time from further out and off his right foot, but he was less accurate. Middlesbrough managed two goals in total; the first by Australia National team member Mark Viduka at seven minutes and the second by Yakubu at 69 minutes. Reading came back with John Oster's late goal at 87 minutes and the match ended with Middlesbrough up two to one.
"It was a good chance. I'm sure I'll be thinking about it when I go home," Lee said after the game. "I feel happy to have a good chance in my first game. I'll try to get used to the grass field soon and show my strength more often so that I can have more playing time."
Despite his brief pitch time, Lee's efforts were rated seven out of ten by a Middlesbrough fan website, one point below Viduka who scored a goal and an assist.
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