Ki Sung-yeung strikes early, stuns Man U.

August 18, 2014
Swansea City's Ki Sung-Yeung, left, celebrates with teammate Gylvi Sigurdsson after scoring against Manchester United during their English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Saturday Aug. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

Swansea City’s Ki Sung-Yeung, left, celebrates with teammate Gylvi Sigurdsson after scoring against Manchester United during their English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Saturday Aug. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

By Nam Hyun-woo

Swansea City midfielder Ki Sung-yueng ruined newly hired Manchester United coach Louis van Gaal’s English Premier League (EPL) debut with his team’s 2-1 win during the 2014-15 season opening match.

The 25-year-old scored a goal in the 28th-minute past United goalkeeper David de Gea into the right corner of the net, after Gylfi Sigurdsson set up the ball in the center of the penalty box.

The goal was the first of the season. Ki is the second Korean to score in the first round of an EPL season, following Seol Ki-hyeon when he scored for Fulham against Hull City on Aug. 17, 2008.

“No one would have expected us to win this game… I’ve waited for a year to score,” Ki said during an interview with his club.

“I didn’t think about it too much when it happened, apart from wanting to help the team to do better. I am back on the team and I want to play for Swansea and fight for my place,” He said.

Ki’s opener helped Swansea maintain their lead against Manchester United until newly appointed United captain Wayne Rooney hit an overhead kick to square the game.

However, United’s sloppy defending allowed Sigurdsson to ravage them with a 72nd-minute winner.

With the victory, Swansea claimed a consecutive victory against United following a FA cup success in January and became the first away team since 1972 to open the season with a win at Old Trafford.

The defeat came as a disappointment for United fans who had pinned their hopes on Van Gaal to revive the team, which finished seventh last season under David Moyes’ reign.

“We never played as a team — that is our error,” the Dutchman told BT sport television. Van Gaal began his official managing duties about a month ago after he successfully won third place honors for his country during the Brazil World Cup.

During the game, Ki played full time as a box-to-box midfielder, effectively distributing the ball to the front and created dedicated defenses.

His moves effectively worked against the disorganized United players, who lost experienced defenders such as Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra this season.

While United’s roster was depleted, Swansea enjoyed the return of Ki and Sigurdsson this season.

Ki joined Swansea again this season finishing his loan spell at Sunderland. Several clubs, including Sunderland and Aston Villa, showed interest in him, but he refused, claiming he places greater emphasis on playing more games than signing a new deal.

“I don’t want to chase money, I don’t want to spend my life just chasing money. I just want to play, perform well on the pitch so that then maybe I can earn more money. But the important thing is that I feel great when I’m on the field,” he said in an interview with a Welsh media outlet.

With his successful performance which gave United a stinging loss, Swansea boss Garry Monk is expected to give Ki greater responsibilities in the near future.

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