x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

South Korea's 'Spider Hands' returns

A year after being banned for a late-night drinking session, the veteran South Korea goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae is recalled for the World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia.

SEOUL // A year after being banned from the national team for a late-night drinking session during the Asian Cup, the veteran South Korea goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae has been recalled to the squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia. The South Korea coach Huh Jung-moo included Lee in his 25-man squad for the Nov 19 game in Riyadh as the side bid for a place at a seventh successive World Cup finals.

South Korea top Group Two with four points from two matches, leading Iran, Saudi Arabia and North Korea on goal difference. Manchester United's Park Ji-sung, striker Park Chu-young of Monaco and the Borussia Dortmund defender Lee Young-pyo were also called up to the squad announced today. Lee was axed from the national team last year after he and three other players left the team hotel to go drinking following Korea's shock 2-1 loss to Bahrain in the Asian Cup in Jakarta.

The goalkeeper, 35, nicknamed "Spider Hands", was also ordered to serve 80 hours of public service and his international career looked over after the Korea Football Association said the episode had tarnished the reputation of Korean football. However, Huh said the former captain had been given time to think about his mistakes and that he was in fine form in the K-League. "I know that he has reflected on the incident a lot on his own and he is looking very good in the Korean league," head coach Huh Jung-moo said in a press release.

The top two teams in the two Asian fourth round qualifying groups advance to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. *Reuters