Sun first Chinese to play in Champions League

Updated: 22 March 2007 06:37 IST

Sun Xiang made history on Tuesday when he played the last 24 minutes of PSV Eindhoven's Champions League match against Arsenal.

Eindhoven, the Netherlands:

Sun Xiang made history on Tuesday when he played the last 24 minutes of PSV Eindhoven's Champions League match against Arsenal. The 25-year-old defender became the first Chinese player to appear in a Champions League match when he came on for Manuel Da Costa in the first leg of the second round. "I feel very happy and lucky because PSV won, which is the most important thing," Sun said. "Secondly, the fact a Chinese guy can play in the Champions League is very big news in China, I think." Sun signed for PSV in January after appealing to his Chinese club, Shenhua SVA, to be allowed to play for the Dutch league leaders. "It is very good for him personally, very good for China and he did well," PSV coach Ronald Koeman said. Koeman said he did not bring on Sun to make history but to plug a gap in his defense after Da Costa got cramps in both legs shortly after Edison Mendez scored what turned out to be the only goal in PSV's 1-0 win. "He had the first minutes for a Chinese player in the Champions League," Koeman said. "But we didn't only put him in the team for that but because he has demonstrated his qualities." Sun played solidly at left back as Arsenal threw players forward in search of an equaliser. "He did a really good job," Koeman added. Although Sun is the first Chinese player to appear in Europe's top club competition, his countrymen already are becoming a feature of teams in Europe, where Manchester United has Dong Fangzhuo under contract until 2010 and Charlton recently signed Zheng Zhi. Last month, Premier League champion Chelsea launched a Chinese language Web site as it seeks to tap into the potentially huge soccer market in the fast developing and most populous country in the world. UEFA agreed a television rights package with the country's free to air national broadcaster CCTV last year, which UEFA says reaches 350 million homes in the country.

Topics : Football Bayern Munchen
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