More domestic action this past weekend. There’s a new league leader at the top and familiar faces down at the bottom. The K League Challenges’ two pointless teams got their first, and there’s also a new leader there too.
K League Classic Results – Round 8
Jeonbuk Motors 1 – 0 Ulsan Hyundai
FC Seoul 0 – 0 Gyeongnam FC
Pohang Steelers 3 – 0 Jeju United
Seongnam FC 0 – 0 Sangju Sangmu
Jeonnam Dragons 2 – 1 Busan IPark
Incheon United 0 – 3 Suwon Samsung
K League Challenge Results – Round 4
Goyang Hi 1 – 0 Suwon City
Chungju Hummels 2 – 3 Daegu FC
FC Anyang 2 – 0 Ansan Police
Bucheon 1995 2 – 2 Gangwon FC
Daejeon Citizen 4 – 0 Gwangju FC
Jeonbuk 1 Ulsan 0
A upper-table clash between two sides that were expected to be fighting for the title. Both have shown glimpses of their expected promise, but not consistently. Ulsan was coming off a shocking 1-0 loss to Seongnam midweek while Jeonbuk also lost midweek to Jeju United 2-0. The only goal of the game came from the spot. The call a bit harsh perhaps. A cross came in from the right, and in the middle Lee Dong-Gook went to ground, supposedly pulled down by Ulsan captain Kim Chi-Gon. Fair or not, Lee Dong-Gook stepped up and blasted the penalty into the roof of the net, Kim Seung-Gyu going the wrong way. Ulsan pushed and pushed for the equalizer, but it didn’t come with Kwon Soon-Tae up to anything they threw at him. Lee Dong-Gook could, and should have doubled the Jeonbuk lead in the second half after a defensive slip by Ulsan let him in one-on-one. But the Jeonbuk skipper took too long, took the ball to wide, and Kim Seung-Gyu saved.
Seoul 0 Gyeongnam 0
A battle down towards the bottom. Seoul desperate for points and some hope, Gyeongnam just needing to keep their heads above the relegation line. A fairly ugly game to be honest. Both teams really struggled in the first half to create any real chances. Seoul had a good one early in the second half, but the effort was saved. Unfortunately the game didn’t pick up much more than that and a dull 0-0 was the result. Reportedly the Seoul fans booed the team off the pitch after the final whistle. One wonders if we’ll see the ultras protesting again like we saw a few years back.
Pohang 3 Jeju 0
A top of the table clash, with both on 13 points (along with Ulsan). Both teams had been in good form as of late, so predicting a winner was tricky. Jeju came close early, but the shot went wide. Pohang then did take the lead a few minutes later, Kim Jae-Sung got the goal from a cross from Kim Seung-Dae. Kim Jae-Sung doubled the lead 10 minutes later. Lee Myeong-Joo chipped the ball over the top of the Jeju defense and Kim was there to slot home. Worries for Pohang in the second half when Ko Mu-Yeol was carted off with an injury. 12 minutes from the end, Kim Seung-Dae wrapped up the points for Pohang, rounding the keeper and putting it home. Hugo Droguett almost got a consolation goal for Jeju, but Shin Hwa-Yong was up to it and tipped it round the post.
Seongnam 0 Sangju 0
Hwang Eui-Jo got the first shot on frame, but it was from a tight angle and Kim Min-Sik was up to the task. Kim Cheol-Ho also got a shot on target for Seongnam, but it lacked power as he scuffed it a bit. Valdivia was up next with an acrobatic overhead kick, but it was well over. Seongnam continued to push in the second half, but to no avail. Lee Keun-Ho had a difficult diving header miss the target in a rare venture forward by Sangju. From there the slowly lost whatever steam it had and 0-0 was the result.
Jeonnam 2 Busan 1
There are games that are the proverbial ‘tale of two halves’, this was a ‘tale of one half’. Virtually everything of note happened in the first half, with very little happening in the second half. Jeonnam took the early lead after a defensive slip up from Kim Chan-Young. Stevica Ristic’s first shot was blocked by Lee Bum-Young (who also managed to block the second shot), but the third shot by Ahn Yong-Woo found the back of the net. Busan responded almost immediately with Yang Dong-Hyun netting his fourth goal of the season. A nice through ball from Jang Hak-Young found Yang, who cut back inside and curled it around Kim Byung-Ji. Lee Jong-Ho scored Jeonnam’s second, and decisive, goal. Lee received the ball in the Busan box, held off the challenge from Park Joon-Gang, and shot through Park’s legs and beat Lee Bum-Young. The final incident of note was a goal not given that possibly could have. A corner was flicked on, and Leandro flew in at the back post. Lee Bum-Young pushed the ball away, but there were calls that the ball had gone over the line before Lee saved. Replays were inconclusive.
Incheon 0 Suwon 3
A chance for Incheon to move off the bottom if they could pull an upset of Suwon. But hopes of that were quickly dashed as Kim Eun-Seon scored in the 14′ after a howler from Incheon keeper Kwon Jung-Hyuk. Kim’s freekick was a good one, but didn’t carry a lot of power. Kwon should have collected easily, but his attempt to catch it bounced out of his hands and rolled into the corner of the net. Some nice interplay from Incheon should have gotten them level an equalizer shortly before halftime, but Ivo’s shot was straight at Jung Sung-Ryong. Incheon got a let off minutes later when Suwon hit the post. Poor decision making by Jung Sung-Ryong almost cost Suwon early in the second half when he came for a free kick, but didn’t get there in time. Stefan Nikolic headed towards the empty net, but his shot was just wide. Suwon did get their second goal, this time from the spot. A clumsy foul by Incheon defender Yong Hyun-Jin, who simply ran into Jong Tae-Se as he was tracking another man. Jong took the spot kick and fired home. Suwon got their third goal in style. A nice cross came to Santos Junior who controlled with his chest and volleyed across into the net.
K League Classic Table – After Round 8
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K League Challenge Wrap
Anyang defeated Ansan 2-0 in a top of the table clash to move one point clear at the top. Daejeon thrashed Gwangju 4-0 in a match of former K League Classic clubs. The large margin of victory moved Daejeon up to 2nd place on goal difference. Down at the bottom Gangwon and Bucheon both picked up their first point of the season after the two drew 2-2 with each other. Choi In-Chang thought he gave Bucheon the win when he scored in the 90′ only for Gangwon’s Han Suk-Jong to level the score moments later. Goyang Hi defeated Suwon City 1-0 to keep hold of the final playoff spot, while Daegu defeated Chungju 3-2 to keep the pressure on the Gyeonggi club.
K League Challenge Table – After Round 4
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Another Seoul Team Official
Yesterday afternoon the E-Land Group officially delivered their petition/application to the Korea Professional Football Federation to start a new team in Seoul beginning next season. The group also outlined their hopes for the project, which to put it simply, are lofty to say the least. The team will play in the K League Challenge next year, and the group is hoping to get an average attendance of 10,000. By comparison all five K League Challenge games drew a total of about 8,500 people last weekend, and FC Seoul drew about 12,500 people. The group hopes to achieve promotion in two years, and has set a target of being domestic and Asian champions by 2020 (basically within five years of coming into existence). The group is targeting an average attendance (once in the K League Classic) of 25,000.
More fanciful things the group would like to do is emulate MLS’ Seattle Sounders, A-League side Western Sidney Wanderers, and *huk* Germany’s Borussia Dortmund. Team officials did say that they realized that a significant investment would be needed, and they apparently are willing to put in the cash. However, fans shouldn’t expect any big names to come soon as the officials said that signings such as Diego Forland and Marcello Lippi as, “the first task is not pursuing such superstars, especially in the beginning. For now, we can say that importing big stars will be an option in the future.”
Personally I’m skeptical about how successful the team will be, especially without any marquee signing. The last time a new sports team came into existence (at the top level) was a baseball team last year (NC Dinos) down in Changwon (Gyeongsangnam-do). The team got support from the city, but there wasn’t a pro baseball team in the city already. Seoul fans are not without football options now. While Seoul is officially the only top flight team in the city, the satellite cities around Seoul all have teams. Add to that the three baseball teams in the city (plus two more in surrounding cities), basketball, and volleyball, and Seoul is quite heavy with sports team. At at time when the league is already struggling with attendance, is now the right time to bring in a new team? I wonder if it may have been a better idea for the E-Land Group to buy one of the city owned clubs (like Incheon or Seongnam) and then just re-vamping ala PSG or Man City style. If they wanted smaller, perhaps they could have purchased one of the K League Challenge sides are relocated them? *Admittedly I am not familiar with league rules involving the purchase and selling of clubs*
Korean FA Cup 3rd Round Draw
The draw for the 3rd round was held (K League Classic teams join in) and the matches are as follow:
Gangwon FC vs Hongik University
Pocheon Citizen vs Daejeon Citizen
Jeonnam Dragons vs Jeonbuk Hyundai
Ulsan Hyundai vs Sungsil University
Jeju United vs Suwon FC
Changwon City vs Daejeon Korail
Seoul Jungnang Chorus Mustangs vs Busan IPark
Sangju Sangmu vs Suwon Samsung
Gangneung City vs Gyeongnam FC
Ulsan Hyundai Mipo vs Gyeongju HNP
FC Seoul vs Incheon United
Aju University vs Youngnam University
Cheonan City vs Hannam University
Gwangju FC vs Bucheon FC 1995
FC Anyang vs Pohang Steelers
Seongnam FC vs Daegu FC
Highlights of the round will be the Jeolla derby between Jeonbuk and Jeonnam, plus top flight matches between Sangju-Suwon and Seoul-Incheon.
Park Eun-Seon Gets the Call
Women’s team coach Yoon Duk-Yeo named his 23 woman squad for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Vietnam (starting next month), and he has included Seoul City’s Park Eun-Seon. The call up will certainly be a big boost to Park, both personally and professionally.
The AFC Champions League is back in action midweek, and then there is a full spate of domestic action on the weekend. Just four more rounds of K League matches before the league goes on a six week or so break for the World Cup.