PSG lost 1-2 in a pre-season match against Inter Milan held at the Tokyo National Stadium on the 1st at 7:00 pm (Korean time).
PSG started with a friendly match against Le Havre on the 22nd, and played pre-season matches against Al Nasr on the 25th and Cerezo Osaka on the 28th. PSG showed less than expected performance with 1 draw and 1 loss in the last 2 matches played on the Asian tour, but lost in the match against Inter Milan this time as well, leading to a winless streak in 3 pre-season games.
PSG manager Luis Enrique has appointed Gianluigi Jonnarumma as goalkeeper, Ashraf Hakimi, Marquinhos, Luca Hernandez and Milan Sckriniar in the defensive line. Vitinha, Manuel Ugarte and Fabian Ruiz were in place, and Waren Zaire-Emeri, Marco Asensio and Carlos Soler formed the front three.
Lee Kang-in, who recently participated in team training and raised expectations for his return, was named on the replacement list. Neymar also started as a replacement for three consecutive Asian tour matches despite team training.
Inter Milan had Filipp Stankovic in goal and a back four of Matteo Darmian, Francesto Azerbi, Alessandro Bastoni and Denzel Doomfries. In the midfield, Nicolo Varela, Hakan Chalhanolu, Henrik Mkhitaryan and Federico DiMarco worked together. Up front were Marcus Thuram and Lautaro Martinez.
It was PSG who led the game early in the first half. PSG increased possession of the ball and put pressure on Inter Milan, but in the 14th minute of the first half, Asensio received a cutback pass from Soller who was rushing in front of the goal and attempted a shot, which bounced off the post and was embraced by Stankovic.
Inter Milan also launched a counterattack. In the 25th minute of the first half, Di Marco’s cross flew threateningly in front of PSG’s gate, but it failed to reach Barella’s head and was not finished.
The two teams failed to create threatening opportunities as more attacks were blocked by the opponent’s pressure in the middle of the first half, and the first half ended 0-0 without scoring.
At the beginning of the second half, Inter Milan seemed to be trying to attack PSG, but in the 10th minute of the second half, Inter Milan replaced some of the key players and PSG took the lead again.
It was a mid-range shot that broke through PSG’s frustrating attack. In the 19th minute of the second half, as soon as Vitinya, who was located a little far from the opponent’s penalty box arc, received Soler’s pass, PSG attempted a powerful mid-range shot, and the shot went straight into the corner of the goal and scored.
Inter Milan also launched a counterattack. In the 34th minute of the second half, in an attacking situation, Cuadrado broke through the right side of the penalty box and even tried to shoot, but Donnarumma’s save blocked it and went out of the goal.
Inter Milan, who kept knocking on the PSG goal, eventually balanced the match. In the 35th minute of the second half, Esposito, who received a pass from Fratesi, finished with a low and quick shot inside the PSG penalty box to equalize.
The extra goal also belonged to Inter Milan. In the 38th minute of the second half, Fratesi’s cross passed by Esposito, and Stefano Sensi, who was rushing from behind, pushed it in and turned the game around.
Even in the free kick opportunity PSG obtained in extra time in the second half, Vitinya’s shot flew over the goal. In the end, the game ended with PSG losing 1-2.
Meanwhile, this match also received a lot of attention from PSG fans whether or not Lee Kang-in participated. Lee Kang-in was on the substitute list in both previous Asian tour matches, but his appearance in the match was missed. Neymar, along with Lee Kang-in, also kept the bench for three consecutive games.
The part that raised expectations for the initial appearance was that Lee Kang-in had not even digested team training until the last game, but he returned to team training ahead of this Inter Milan match.
French media L’Equipe said on the 30th, “PSG will head to Korea after a friendly match against Inter Milan (Italy) on August 1. Cruza, who was injured in the match against Cerezo Osaka, is receiving treatment.” Lee Kang-in, who did not participate in training after arriving in Japan, participated in part of the training organized by PSG coach Luis Enrique and coaches over the weekend,” said the news of Lee Kang-in’s return to team training.
Lee Kang-in had spent his Asian tour schedule doing individual training while being excluded from team training, because of an injury in a friendly match held in Paris on the 22nd.
On the 22nd, Lee Kang-in started the first pre-season friendly match against Le Havre held at ‘Campus PSG’ located in Poissy, outside Paris, France, PSG’s training ground. At the time, Lee Kang-in performed excellently throughout the first half, but bad news came just before halftime. He felt thigh pain during the sprint in the 42nd minute of the first half, and was later replaced due to a hamstring injury.
Lee Kang-in lowered his head right in front of coach Enrique and touched his right thigh. Coach Enrique, who did not need to overdo it because it was a friendly match, immediately replaced Lee Kang-in with another player.
Contrary to concerns, the condition did not appear to be serious. He was also listed on the Asia tour roster released by PSG, and appeared on the team’s official schedule, and was not in a state where he had to focus on rehabilitation due to injury.
However, PSG did not rush Lee Kang-in’s return. Lee Kang-in hasn’t trained with his team since arriving in Japan, and spent most of his training time doing individual training at the indoor training ground. In the open training before the friendly against Al Nasr, it was also confirmed that he greeted the fans and went straight to the indoor training ground.
Recently, there was news that Lee Kang-in joined the team training, and there was a prospect that he would be able to participate in the Jeonbuk Hyundai War during the remaining Asia tour.
The French media Paris team also said, “Lee Kang-in arrived in Tokyo this week with good news. He was able to participate in training hosted by coach Enrique and coaches. Participation in this training is an encouraging signal for players who are preparing for the season. There is a high possibility that he had in mind the match against Jeonbuk Hyundai, which will be held at .
On the other hand, Kang-in Lee showed tremendous popularity in Japan despite his failure to participate, and was evaluated as a new asset of PSG pioneering the Asian market.
French media RMC Sports said on the 31st, “PSG expects Lee Kang-in to increase its brand value in Asia.” “Lee Kang-in’s appearance is a strong argument. PSG, which wants to conquer the Asian market, is obviously a popular player like Neymar. However, according to some news, the signing of Lee Kang-in is also an important argument to seduce the Korean and Asian markets. Lee Kang-in will enable PSG to develop in Korea and all over Asia.”
In fact, Lee Kang-in has already proved his popularity by showing uniform sales that exceed Neymar.
French media ‘PSG Talk’ said, “PSG midfielder Lee Kang-in has risen to the star position after joining PSG. He is gaining popularity on the Asian tour starting with Japan this summer and heading to Korea. Lee Kang-in is in the midst of budding romance with Neymar. , Now I can say that I am selling more jerseys than Neymar.”
Citing a report by Fabrice Hawkins, an influential reporter from RMC Sports, the media reported that “Lee Kang-in and Neymar are the PSG stars with the most followers on the Japanese tour. Lee Kang-in is also the player with the most sold jerseys in the store. , Neymar and Marquinhos are following him,” he explained, explaining that Lee Kang-in’s uniform sales ranked first in the team, beating superstar Neymar and PSG captain Marquinhos.
Spain’s Marca also said, “Lee Kang-in’s craze has already exploded in Korea. 70 percent of the uniforms sold are Lee Kang-in’s, and the sales figures at the Champs Elysees store exceeded expectations.”
Lee Kang-in was not only popular, but also had a huge ripple effect. From friendly matches between clubs, he became a bridgehead for pioneering the Asian market.
Spanish media Marca released an interview with Mallorca CEO Alfonso Dias and said, “PSG will play in a new hand.”
Regarding whether the friendly match between Mallorca and PSG was included in Lee Kang-in’s contract, CEO Dias said, “It was a contract that included a match against PSG. This summer was complicated, and if everything goes smoothly, we will have a match against PSG in January or next summer.” “Thanks to Lee Kang-in’s transfer to PSG, Mallorca can play its first match against PSG after the stadium remodeling,” he said.
Regarding pioneering the Asian market, “It was really surprising to see so many fans from Seoul staying in Mallorca for a week. We created an identity in Asia. There were a lot of ticket sales and jersey sales, and it’s a pride that they accepted the club. It was the source,” he said, adding that the club was able to have an identity in the Asian market thanks to Korean fans who visited Mallorca as a ripple effect of Lee Kang-in.
PSG is already experiencing the ripple effect of Kang-in Lee mentioned by Mallorca CEO. The Korean account opened by PSG is already followed by nearly 20,000 fans. After joining Lee Kang-in, PSG continued to upload his photos and videos and did not stop attracting interest through Lee Kang-in.
Even though Lee Kang-in had already left Mallorca, it seems that Lee Kang-in’s performance and influence were so great that the CEO of Mallorca directly mentioned the ripple effect of last season caused by Lee Kang-in.
While Lee Kang-in, who only left the match against Jeonbuk during the pre-season game, missed the Inter Milan match just before, attention is focusing on whether he will be able to show his appearance on the ground in front of Korean fans.