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Hardworking defender makes most appearances for nat'l football team in 2017

2017/12/31 17:59

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SEOUL, Dec. 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korean defender Jang Hyun-soo made the most appearances for the men's national football team this year, the Korea Football Association (KFA) said Sunday.

The KFA said Jang played 1,123 minutes in 13 matches for South Korea this year. The FC Tokyo defender was followed by Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors left back Kim Jin-su, who played 728 minutes in nine matches, and Tottenham Hotspur attacker Son Heung-min, who racked up 698 minutes in nine matches.

Swansea City anchorman Ki Sung-yueng was fourth, with 628 minutes in eight matches, and Jeonbuk midfielder Lee Jae-sung was fifth, with 601 minutes, also in eight matches.

The KFA said Jang played till full time in 12 matches this year. The only match he didn't play until the final whistle was in the final Asian World Cup qualifying match against Uzbekistan in September, when he was substituted out just 43 minutes after kickoff due to injury.

Jang, 26, also made the most appearances for the Taeguk Warriors in 2016 after playing 728 minutes in nine matches that year.

The KFA said 50 footballers played at least one match for the national team in 2017 and nine players made their international debuts.

In this file photo taken Dec. 4, 2017, South Korean defender Jang Hyun-soo speaks to reporters before national football team training in Ulsan. (Yonhap) In this file photo taken Dec. 4, 2017, South Korean defender Jang Hyun-soo speaks to reporters before national football team training in Ulsan. (Yonhap)

South Korea posted a record of four wins, five draws and four losses in 2017. They scored and conceded 16 goals.

Son and Jeonbuk striker Kim Shin-wook were joint top scorers for South Korea, each bagging three goals. Kim netted all three of his goals at the East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) E-1 Football Championship in Japan, where South Korea defended the regional title earlier this month.

Jeonbuk's Lee, besides being the reigning South Korean pro football league MVP, was the top assist maker, with three helpers. He was followed by Crystal Palace midfielder Lee Chung-yong with two assists.

The KFA said South Korea made 162 shots in 13 matches. They made the most attempts in their 2-2 draw against China at the EAFF E-1 Football Championship, with 18 strikes. On the other hand, South Korea allowed 21 shots to Morocco in a friendly match in October in Switzerland, where they suffered a 3-1 defeat.

The KFA said this year's largest attendance for national team matches came on Aug. 31, when 63,124 fans visited Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul to see South Korea taking on Iran in a World Cup qualifying match.

kdon@yna.co.kr

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