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Big bad news…’Start the first game of the preseason!’ Lee Kang-in ‘hamstring injury → out’

Lee Kang-In exited in the first half with a hamstring injury.

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) won a 2-0 preseason friendly against Le Havre at Campus PSG at 0:00 p.m. ET on April 22.

PSG lined up in a 4-3-3 formation. Garvey, Asensio, Lee Kang-in, Luis, Ugarte, Zayn-Emerick, Kurzawa, Hernandez, Pereyra, Hakimi, and Lettelier started.

There was a lot of interest in which positions Luis Enrique would play and in what lineup. The first choice was a 4-3-3 formation. Enrique started Asensio, Ugarte, and Hernandez with new signing Lee Kang-in in the center.

Lee started the game as a right wing-forward, whose role was not to play wide to the flanks, but rather to narrow down to the center and link up passes to his teammates. Instead, the wide areas were used to support the attack with Hakimi coming up high.

He continued to link up with Hakimi. Lee Kang-in, in the half-space, would receive the ball from Hakimi and try to pass it back to him on the flank or play a killer pass to the attackers in the center.

But something bad happened. In the 43rd minute, Lee touched the back of his left thigh, signaling an injury. It was a muscle problem, as he felt it on his own, not through contact with an opponent, and he was immediately substituted off.

PSG made 10 changes at the start of the second half, bringing on Navas, N’Dour, Sanchez, Marquinhos, Vitinha, Naga, Ekitiqe, Ethan Mbappe, Lemina, and Skriniar. The changes paid off immediately. Eight minutes into the second half, Eketike opened the scoring and took the lead.

PSG responded with a wedge goal. Mbappe, who came on as a substitute in the 21st minute of the second half, added a second goal in the 45th minute with a light finish after a one-two with his teammate. In the end, PSG won 2-0 to close out their first preseason game.

Despite the victory, PSG had a reason to smile: Lee Kang-In’s injury. Up until now, Lee has been the type of player who doesn’t get injured. According to soccer stats site TransferMarkt, he has missed a total of three games due to injury. At Valencia, he missed six games due to a muscle injury and one due to the coronavirus. He then missed two games with Mallorca due to coronavirus.

Last season’s steel king Lee started 36 of 38 La Liga games last season. He’s not the type of player to get injured very often, but this time, it’s his hamstring. Hamstring injuries vary depending on the player, but it’s the kind of injury that requires a lot of rest for at least four weeks.

As a result, the upcoming preseason schedule is likely to be disrupted. PSG will start with a friendly against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nasr on May 25, followed by matches against Cerezo Osaka and Inter Milan in Japan. They will then travel to South Korea for a friendly against Jeonbuk Hyundai on May 3. However, if Lee’s injury is deep, it’s unclear if he’ll be available for those games.

It’s also a problem for PSG. Lee joined PSG on Sept. 9. The club announced on its website, “Lee Kang-in has signed for PSG. We are pleased to announce that he has signed a contract until June 2028. He becomes the first Korean player to join PSG.” He will wear the number 19 shirt, and the transfer fee is €22 million (approx. KRW 31 billion).

He was clearly set for the new season as a first-team player. However, injuries have made it unclear how much he will be able to play. And if he misses the start of the season, it’s a major setback, as Lee could be called up for the upcoming 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games 안전놀이터.

It’s not a certainty. “We are communicating,” said Hwang Sun-hong. He has a very strong desire to participate in the Asian Games. We were in talks with Mallorca, but with the PSG transfer happening so quickly, we have to work on it. (He) is very determined and we continue to work together. We are very positive and looking forward to it.”

If he’s not available, Lee will face stiff competition for a starting spot at the start of the season. PSG have a tough schedule to start the season. The club is scheduled to play Toulouse in the final of the 2023-24 Trophée des Champions, and the UEFA Champions League (UCL) schedule will be released soon. However, there’s also the possibility of Lee being sidelined for the Asian Games.

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