SEOUL, Sept. 8 (Yonhap) — As the country enjoys one of its biggest holidays over a four-day weekend, there will be no shortage of sporting events to keep fans entertained.
The Chuseok holiday begins Friday and continues until Monday, just as the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) pennant race heads into the home stretch.
The five games on Friday and Sunday will begin at 2 p.m. On Saturday, the Doosan Bears will host the Kia Tigers at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on national television starting at 2 p.m. The other four games of the day will start at 5 p.m.
Virtually every game over the weekend has playoff implications.
The teams will complete their two-game series on Friday. The SSG Landers, who are trying to hold on to first place, will conclude a set against the Tigers, who hold the fifth and last place in the playoffs. The LG Twins and Kiwoom Heroes, the two Seoul-based clubs ranked second and third respectively, will fight for a direct ticket to the second round of the playoffs.
Then, for the weekend series from Saturday to Sunday, the heroes will host KT Wiz at the Gocheok Sky Dome. The Wiz had passed the Heroes for third place before falling back to fourth last week. The heroes started this week to hold a 1.5 game lead over the Wiz, but have since fallen back to fourth place, now half a game behind the Wiz.
The Lotte Giants and NC Dinos, the two clubs trying to hunt the Tigers, will meet at the Giants’ home in Busan for the weekend’s two games. The Giants are 8-5 against the Dinos this year.
The Landers will have a road streak against last-placed Hanwha Eagles, while the Twins will face the Samsung Lions, who they went 11-3 against this season.
In K League 1, the biggest football competition, four matches are scheduled for Saturday and two more for Sunday.
One of the matches on Sunday will be the ‘East Coast Derby’ between league leaders Ulsan Hyundai FC and third-placed Pohang Steelers at 4:30 p.m. in the southeastern city of Ulsan .
Ulsan won the first game of the season in March by 2-0, and Pohang got their revenge by the same scoreline in July.
Ulsan enjoys a 10-point lead over Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in first place. Jeonbuk will face Daegu FC on Saturday, hoping to reduce that margin to single digits heading into the final stretch of the season.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Seongnam FC host Gangwon FC at 4:30 p.m. as they look to climb out of the league cellar. Their two-game winning streak ended with a 1-0 loss to Daegu FC on Wednesday.
FC Seoul will bring Suwon FC back at 7:00 p.m. in a battle between the teams vying for the sixth and last place in “Final A”, or the top group during the split stage of the season.
After 33 matches, the top six teams will be paired in Final A and the bottom six will meet in Final B. They will then play five matches within their own groups to complete the season. After Chuseok, the teams will each have played 31 matches.
During the four-day weekend, night owls can catch European football matches involving South Korean internationals.
In England, Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min will look for his first Premier League goal of the season when he visits reigning champions Manchester City at 1.30am on Sunday (Korean time).
Son is the reigning Golden Boot winner with 23 goals in the 2021-22 season, but has been shut out in six league appearances so far. He is already 10 goals behind league leaders Erling Haaland of Man City.
At 11 p.m. Saturday night here, Wolverhampton Wanderers and their Korean striker Hwang Hee-chan will play Liverpool.
In the Spanish La Liga, RCD Mallorca midfielder Lee Kang-in will look to maintain his solid form against Real Madrid at 9pm on Saturday.
Napoli’s new centre-back Kim Min-jae, a national team stalwart, has already scored two goals while playing his rock-solid defense in his first season in Italy. The Serie A leaders’ next match is on Saturday at 10 p.m. against Spezia.
Three South Koreans are plying their trade in Germany’s top Bundesliga league this season. Hertha BSC’s Lee Dong-jun is yet to feature in the new season but that could change against Bayer Leverkusen at 10.30pm on Saturday. Mainz 05’s Lee Jae-sung will face 1899 Hoffenheim, also at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday.
SC Freiburg and Korean striker Jeong Woo-yeong, sitting well at the top of the tables, host Borussia Mönchengladbach at 00:30 on Monday.
At 4am on Friday, South Korean duo Olympiacos FC Hwang In-beom and Hwang Ui-jo could make their continental debut in an away game against Nantes in the Group G of the Champions League. UEFA Europa League.
In the United States, Major League Baseball‘s (MLB) regular season is also drawing to a close, with two South Korean players poised to reach the playoffs.
In the National League, San Diego Padres shortstop Kim Ha-seong showed impressive defensive skills in his sophomore season, helping to keep the team in the hunt for wildcards despite increasing numbers. wounds. The Friars, holding the last wild card spot at 76-62, will host baseball‘s best team this year, the Los Angeles Dodgers, for a three-game set this weekend.
The rebuilding Pittsburgh Pirates called up utility Park Hoy-jun for the third time this season on Wednesday, and he could see his first major league start since June this weekend.
In the American League, the perennial contenders Tampa Bay Rays are back, leading the wildcard standings by 1.5 games over the Seattle Mariners at 77-58. Their Korean first baseman, Choi Ji-man, has been steadily losing playing time after batting just 0.109/0.255/0.196 in 18 games last month. He will look for his first hit of September on the weekend, as the Rays take on division rival New York Yankees for three games.
Golf enthusiasts can also have their links repaired while on vacation. The Kroger Queen City Championship, an all-new LPGA tournament, kicks off Thursday in Cincinnati. Fourteen South Koreans will be in action, including rookie Choi Hye-jin. She is currently second in the Rookie of the Year standings with 1,041 points, 55 behind Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand.
On the men’s side, the Korean Tour, Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour will co-sanction the Shinhan Donghae Open at Koma Country Club in Nara, Japan from Thursday to Sunday. South Korean Seo Yoseop is the defending champion and has won the last two tournaments on the Korean circuit. Seo is the first player on the Korean Tour in two years to win two consecutive weeks and will try to become the first to reach the winner’s circle in three consecutive weeks.