Asian Champions League round 2: K League clubs back to respectability (save for one…)

 

Quick update on ACL group stage round two: After going 3 losses and 1 draw in round one, this happened today:

Keep in mind, round 1 saw this dismal stats: no goals scored by any K-league teams (Suwon scored on an own goal).  This round didn’t see goal scoring as a problem, Ulsan and Jeju scored 10 goals combined.  Suwon and Seoul scored 4 combined.

 

Focusing on Suwon v Guangzhou: both had chances to put the game away, though Suwon will be contemplating their missed chances more as Evergrande came from behind with a Alan strike resulting from a failed Suwon clearance. 1st half was all Suwon: Yeom Ki-hun’s corner kick found the head of Santos. Evergrande’s Goulart equalizer was short lived as another Yeom corner well exeucted short pass to Jonathan one timed a shot beyond the reach of Liao Lisheng.  Suwon was in control of the game and stretched the pitch, taxing Evergrande’s defenses. However Suwon couldn’t manage a 2nd half insurance goal from open play, eventually punished with Alan’s equalizer. All in all, a fair result – and a pretty cracking entertaining game at that in the pouring rain. Suwon drew last week.  Scolari watching from the sidelines didn’t intimidate the K-League squad and Frente Tricolor, Suwon’s support group were in full voice. AFC website claims only 9,228  came out to watch at the big bird stadium (was anyone at the game – did it look at paltry?  It looked like ok attendance from the streams I watched, but maybe it was that low…)  More after the jump…

 

Meanwhile, Jeju flew to Osaka and surprisingly slayed their hosts Gamba Osaka. Jeju’s 1-4 victory could honestly have been 1-7 had Jeju not hit the crossbars and been just a tad more clinical.  Marcelo Toscano looked to impose his will on the game, netting one, but remember I mentioned hitting the crossbar? That would be Toscano, who probably should’ve scored more. In the ‘Scoring more’ distinction – that goes to Lee Chang-Min. His 2 goals were both stunning, particularly his 2nd as Jeju pressure forced Osaka to cough up the ball to Lee – he latched onto the loose ball. A moment later, seeing Higashiguchi off his line, Lee sent in an audacious curling 35 yard shot, to which Gamba’s keeper could only watch as it sailed over his head and on into the corner of his net. Boos rained down on the home team, but even a late penalty conceded wasn’t enough as the K-League side notched a 1-4 victory in Japan – auspicious perhaps as March 1 marked the beginning of the Korean resistance 98 years ago.

 

 

 

Yesterday saw two lopsided results:

 

FC Seoul’s Park Chu-Young did well to equalize (fabulous free kick that was textbook curler around the wall and into the corner of the net), but Seoul’s defense just sputtered out spectacularly.  They had no answer for the Urawa’s onslaught throughout the game. Dejan’s consolation goal didn’t take the sting out of the loss.  At the back, Seoul is missing Tagahaki, who left after last season – and somehow aren’t benefiting from the addition of veteran Kwak Tae-Hwi (is he finally getting too old for his boots?)

 

Ulsan – what was going on there – and who saw that scoreline coming? 6-0 was a statement win and the Aussie club limps away licking their wounds.  Goals by Orsic (brace), Kim In-Sung (brace), Kovacec and Lee Jong-Ho put the icing on the cake.  According to the AFC website, the attendance was a mere 1,303. [That seems kinda low – was anyone at the game to verify it looked that low attended? ]

 

 

 

I’m not getting twitter links to work so I’m manually laying out Group F’s table:

 

Group F

 

Teams
P
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
PTS
URAWA RED DIAMONDS (JPN) 2 2 0 0 9 2 7 6
SHANGHAI SIPG FC (CHN) 2 2 0 0 6 1 5 6
FC SEOUL (KOR) 2 0 0 2 2 6 -4 0
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS (AUS) 2 0 0 2 1 9 -8 0

 

 

As you can see, Urawa and Shanghai are running away with the group – but should FC Seoul get their defenses figured out, they’re still not out of the competition just yet.

 

 

Group G

 

Teams
P
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
PTS
GUANGZHOU EVERGRANDE FC (CHN) 2 1 1 0 9 2 7 4
SUWON SAMSUNG BLUEWINGS (KOR) 2 0 2 0 3 3 0 2
KAWASAKI FRONTALE (JPN) 2 0 2 0 2 2 0 2
EASTERN SC (HKG) 2 0 1 1 1 8 -7 1

Eastern, a Hong Kong club led by a female coach Chan Yeun-ting, earned a respectable draw with Kawasaki – a first for the club and much deserved kudos. Who says females can’t manage clubs – Chan seems to be doing a remarkable job.

 

Group H

 

Teams
P
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
PTS
JIANGSU FC (CHN) 2 2 0 0 3 1 2 6
JEJU UNITED FC (KOR) * 2 1 0 1 4 2 2 3
GAMBA OSAKA (JPN) * 2 1 0 1 4 4 0 3
ADELAIDE UNITED (AUS) 2 0 0 2 1 5 -4 0
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3 Comments

    • My previous comment wasn’t posted re the Ulsan game. Anyway, despite the low numbers he ultras made enough sound to create a decent atmosphere.

    • Thanks for that – 1300 correct -wow that is super low. But kudos for the ultras that came out to make some noise. Something continually going forward is how KLeague can fundamentally turn the tables on the declining attendance/fan base, get to the point where Koreans are talking about Kleague football that baseball in atmosphere/buzz/media coverage currently enjoys

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