It could have all been so perfect for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors’ Kim Bokyung. The Korea Republic international’s 23rd-minute strike fired Jeonbuk in front against Club America in Osaka in the FIFA Club World Cup second round, and the prospect of a mouth-watering semi-final against Real Madrid seemed in touching distance.
But in the end, it wasn’t to be for Kim and the AFC Champions League winners. Despite going into the break as leaders, Jeonbuk were left to rue a Silvio Romero-inspired comeback. The Argentinian striker bagged two second-half goals to send the Mexican outfit into the semi-finals and leave the Korea Republic side’s dreams of playing Los Blancos in tatters.
“It’s an honour to play at the Club World Cup. Even though we didn’t get the result we wanted, it was an exciting match to play in and I’m happy to play at this tournament,” a philosophical Kim told FIFA.com after the match.
“It is disappointing to miss out on playing Real Madrid, our primary goal as a team was to face them. We would have loved to have played them but that’s football. The result on the day wasn’t enough to see us through.”
After Kim put Jeonbuk in front with a superbly-placed shot into the bottom corner, the 27-year-old midfielder capped off his opener with a trademark Cristiano Ronaldo celebration, accompanied by team-mate Lee Jaesung.
“We were focused on wanting to play Real Madrid in the semi-final, it was our main priority to play them at the Club World Cup,” said Kim. “Once I scored, it seemed like a likely scenario and the Cristiano Ronaldo celebration felt like the natural thing to do. It was the first time I had ever done the celebration.”