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   June 25, 2002 | 1430 IST


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Korea's Ahn to stay at Perugia

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Ahn Jung-hwan, the South Korean player axed by Italian club Perugia after he scored the goal that knocked Italy out of the World Cup, is to return to the north Italian side.

Perugia said Ahn and club director Alessandro Gaucci had spoken several times by telephone in recent days and patched up any differences caused after club president Luciano Gaucci said the striker would "never set foot in Perugia again".

"There is now complete satisfaction on both sides after misunderstandings created before and after the South Korea-Italy game... The issue, which caused too many arguments, is closed," the Serie A side said on its website on Tuesday.

Ahn, who is doubtful for Tuesday's World Cup semi-final against Germany, was dismissed by Perugia last week after scoring the golden goal in South Korea's 2-1 second round defeat of the three-times champions.

Hailed as a hero in his home country, Perugia said Ahn had been an under-achiever at the club he joined on loan from South Korean side Pusan Icons in the summer of 2000.

Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport suggested on Tuesday that Perugia's change of heart was based more on financial considerations, however, as Ahn has attracted the interest of other clubs after his World Cup performances.

Gazzetta dello Sport said Manchester City and Chelsea in the English premier league had expressed an interest in the player, but that West Ham United was the leading bidder and could offer as much as 10 million euros.

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