LG Twins v Samsung Lions, Sunday 8th August 2010, 5pm

This one should really have been all about Messi against Lee Dong Gook, Barcelona versus the K-League Allstars. The Catalans were in town last week, playing a pre-season friendly against a team made up of K-League players selected by popular vote. Lee Dong Gook got enough votes to start up front for the Allstars which would give him another opportunity to compare his talents with Lionel Messi, currently regarded as the World’s best player and only a few weeks after their last encounter in the South Africa World Cup.

It wasn’t a full strength Barcelona team by any means, all the World Cup winning Spaniards had been left at home and as the game drew nearer it looked as if Messi wouldn’t be playing either due to a lack of match fitness. The organisers kicked up a fuss, revealing that Barcelona had a clause in their contract stipulating thirty minutes of pitch time for the Argentinian and by match day the understanding was that he would make `an appearance’. I’m not a big fan of pre-season friendlies, particularly ones featuring mainly a reserve squad, but Messi is Messi. If I’m quite happy to travel a couple of hours to see a third division game, it doesn’t make sense for me sit at home when Messi is playing in the city where I live, even if he is likely to turn out for less than half an hour.

I’d seen him live before, playing for Barcelona in the Spanish and Champions Leagues and for Argentina in that South Korea World Cup game, but you can’t really have too much of a good thing. Unless it’s raining, that is. I came out of work at ten past six to torrential rain. Even with an umbrella I was soaked within fifty yards as the rain bounced back up from the tarmac and so I decided to go home and watch the match on the telly instead. Anyway, as I said to myself as I dried off, he’s no Georgie Best.

Messi came on as a sub after half an hour, with the K-League Allstars leading 2-1 courtesy of a very well taken Lion King header. The Argentinian missed a couple of chances and scored two good goals before being withdrawn at half time after what must have been the allotted fifteen minute compromise cameo. Barcelona’s reserves rarely seemed to break out of a stroll and finished up winning by five goals to two.

So, which of these two played for the Boro?

Jeonbuk were playing on Saturday, in a table topping clash with Seoul. I wasn’t going though as I was `teambuilding’ instead. This was a works day out that consisted of an early morning start, two and a half hours on a train, then an hour and a half on a bus, lunch at a seafood restaurant, ten minutes standing on a beach, fifteen minutes on the bus again, an hour at a tea plantation, another hour and a half on the bus, half an hour riding a `railbike’, another hour and a half on a bus followed by two and a half hours on the train.

My colleague Mr Park at the tea plantation. Later we had green tea ice creams.

Bonding through adversity was the objective I think, although the occasions where we weren’t being transported from points A to Z were very enjoyable.

The Sunday football games in the K-League were all kicking off too late in the evening for me to be able to get a train back the same day and anyway, I’d had enough of looking out of a window for one weekend. I went for a bike ride down by the Han river again, three hours this time, which just about finished me off. I’m starting to get the hang of the gears and so went a fair bit faster than usual. As I didnt fall off I regarded it as a successful morning out.

In the afternoon I went back to the river, this time for a boat trip in the company of the American girl I’ve been seeing.

The view to the North. It's the direction that the missiles will come from.

The trip was a very pleasant way to spend an hour or so, watching the waterskiers and people paddling about on surfboards. They had some pedaloes on the other side of the river, the ones that are shaped as swans, which looked like something that might be worth a future visit. One of the best things though was that the boat jetty was right next to the Jamsil Stadium Complex. That’s the one with the Olympic Stadium and amongst others, the Jamsil baseball stadium. As the boat trip finished at four thirty, it made perfect sense for us to pop along and watch the game between the LG Twins and the Samsung Lions.

The Olympic and Baseball stadiums. How convenient.

There were queues at the ticket office and so when we were approached by a tout I was quite happy to take a couple of tickets off his hands. He asked for twenty thousand won for two seats in the outfield, which is the bit furthest away from the action. I’ve never been in that part of the stadium so thought it might make an interesting change, but as the game had already started and I could buy tickets from the ticket office for six thousand won apiece, I certainly wasn’t going to pay over the odds. I offered him face value, which he accepted and then due to a bit of arseing around with the money he ended up with fourteen thousand. It didn’t seem worth arguing over a quid.

The seats in the outfield give you a great overall view of the stadium and made me wish that my camera could take wide angle pictures so that I could fit it all in. Actually, it has since occurred to me that it probably does take wide angle photos, it’s just that I’ve never done much more than use the automatic settings. Our seats were a little too far from the action though and next time I think I’d go back into the main stand. Still, like the boat trip, it was a very pleasurable way to idle away some time on a hot summers day.

It was wider than this.

Jen knows her baseball which is a bit of a bonus, and so I was pleased to be able to have someone to quiz on the bits that I hadn’t quite worked out. She has watched a fair amount of Major League Baseball in America and wasn’t overly impressed with the standard of the Korean League, particularly the amount of balls being hit behind. She was also a bit surprised at the way the fans supported their teams too. In America, you make a bit of noise to put the other team off. The inflatable sticks that the Koreans wave and bang together as part of their songs would be used at the likes of basketball games to try and distract the opposition at free throws. She was impressed though with the way that the losing LG Twins supporters continued to back their team all the way through the match, regardless of the score. In America, the fans demand success and a losing team would get the same sort of barracking that the Boro get these days whenever we aren’t a goal up within the first twenty minutes.

Samsung Lions, as you might expect from a team currently in second place in the standings, were always on top and finished up 8-3 winners. The defeat moved the LG Twins down in to sixth place and outside of the playoffs. With the season drawing to a close that’s not the position to be in unless you are looking forward to your holidays.

And whilst all this was going on, Jeonbuk Motors were playing at home to league leaders FC Seoul. Lee Dong Gook was suspended for that elbow in the chops last week but a goal from the Brazilian Eninho was enough to give the Lion King’s team the win and to move Jeonbuk ahead of Seoul. Jeonbuk were denied top spot though as former leaders Jeju United won 4-0 to regain pole position on goal difference. 

The crowd at Jeonbuk was listed as being over thirty thousand, but I’d expect it to have been more like twenty. It’s still a large turnout for this league though and probably not too dissimilar from the attendance at the baseball. Next week Jeonbuk travel to Changwon to take on third placed Gyeongnam who like Jeju and Jeonbuk are also on thirty one points. Before that though, it’s international week with Nigeria providing the opposition for South Korea. They don’t have anyone thats quite the standard of Messi, but I’ll pop along anyway.

3 Responses to “LG Twins v Samsung Lions, Sunday 8th August 2010, 5pm”

  1. Cogstar Says:

    you can’t write a blog based on watching football on the tele, that’s just silly

  2. onthetrailofthelionking Says:

    You didn’t see the rain. I wasn’t going out in that.

  3. Cogstar Says:

    And you didn’t bother your arse to take a picture of the rain either!

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