Dazzling ‘Golden Boy’

‘Golden Boy’ Lee Kang-in (23-Paris Saint-Germain) has received a welcome call-up to the national team. The striker scored the winning goal to secure his first trophy since joining the club and give Klinsmann’s men a boost as they look to win their first Asian Cup in 64 years.

Lee opened the scoring in the third minute of the 2023 Trophée des Champions (French Super Cup) against Toulouse at the Parc des Princes in Paris, France, on Thursday. Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) went on to win 2-0 thanks to Lee’s goal and Kylian Mbappe’s 44th-minute strike. Lee’s goal proved to be the game-winner.

Established in 1995, the Trophée des Champions pits the winner of the French Ligue 1 title against the winner of the Coupe de France in the same season. PSG are the Ligue 1 champions for the 2022-2023 season, while Toulouse won the French Cup in the same season. PSG are the all-time winners of the Trophée des Champions, and this is their 12th title.

Against the ‘nemesis’ Toulouse, PSG made short work of the hosts as Lee Kang-In opened the scoring. In the third minute of the first half, Lee pounced on a pass from Ousmane Dembele down the right flank and finished with his left foot. It was Lee’s third goal of the season (one in the regular season, one in the UEFA Champions League and one in the Supercup) and PSG’s first goal of 2024.

Lee continued to impress in the second half. In the 35th minute, he sent the fans into a frenzy with a stunning left-footed overhead kick from a cross by Unai Emery. Unfortunately, the ball went straight at the goalkeeper and was not saved. Lee had a hand in Mbappe’s second goal in the 44th minute. After receiving a pass from Lee near the halfway line, Bradley Barcola played the ball straight to Mbappe, who dribbled in and finished with a neat right-footed shot.

Originally, Lee was supposed to join the national team in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), for a training camp for the Asian Cup on Feb. 2 due to A-match call-up rules. However, national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann granted him permission to play in the match, which ended in a victory, giving him a great start to the Asian Cup.

It has been five years since Lee tasted victory in the Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) in the 2018-2019 season when he played for Valencia (Spain). However, Lee was unable to be present during the 2018-19 season as he was competing at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. This is the first time he’s been able to play a part in a win and lift the trophy.

After the match, Lee was named Man of the Match on Ligue 1’s official Instagram account. According to Sofascore, a statistical publication specializing in European soccer, Lee has an 8.0 rating. This is the second highest rating for both teams, behind teammate Ashraf Hakimi (8.6).

In a post-match interview on local television, Lee said, “We had the ambition to lift the trophy. I always try to help the team and work hard for that,” he said, adding, “It helps a lot to play with the best players in the world. I’m trying to learn from them. I am very happy to be in this team.” Lee will now leave the team and arrive in the UAE on Friday morning local time to begin his preparations for the Asian Cup.


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