Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma v Jeonbuk Motors, Saturday 28th August 2010, 8pm

I’d made plans to go hiking on the day of this game but I slept in and was then discouraged by the weather from doing much else. At the moment it seems as if the rainy season is never ending. I try to only do interesting stuff on a weekend, but unfortunately ended up having to try and salvage something from the day with a trip to the big supermarket Homeplus for some shopping. I wouldn’t normally have mentioned it but I saw something on the way in that I thought you might like to know about. The Chuseok holiday is approaching and it’s quite a big deal over here. People get three days off work and they tend to go back to their home town to pay their respects to their dead ancestors.

If they have any live ancestors they usually give them a present and this years ’must have’ gift appears to be a Spam Box Set. You can get them in various sizes depending, I suppose, on the amount of respect you have for the intended receipient. Some of the more extravagant boxes include bottles of what I’m guessing is a suitable dressing for tinned chopped pork.

Happy Chuseok

After the excitement of a trip to the shops I took the forty minute ride on the subway to Seongnam’s ground. It’s actually the closest K-League stadium to me, so it’s a little surprising that it’s taken me six months to see my first game there. I wasn’t quite sure of the directions once I got out of the subway so I thought I’d take a taxi. The first three drivers that I tried appeared not to understand Tancheon Soccer Stadium, nor my mime of an exquisitely crafted chip into the top corner. When I got into taxi number four I realised why the others weren’t interested. We turned the first corner thirty yards away and I could see the stadium just ahead. It was no more than a ten minute walk.

The view on exiting the taxi.

I bought a ticket for the west stand for twelve thousand won on the basis that it had the biggest roof. The rain was still coming down and I wanted to be sure of staying dry. If I’d taken the option of joining the fans behind the goal then I could have got in for seven thousand won. The players were about to come out onto the pitch as I took my seat and a guard of honour was waiting for them, complete with balloons in the team colours.

Guard of Honour with balloons

The balloons were released as the players stood for the National Anthem and they floated a couple of hundred feet up into the air. Unfortunately the weight of the rain slowed the ascent of the balloons and then as they got wetter it caused them to drift back down again and litter the pitch. The ref had to stop proceedings at one point and enlist the help of a player to burst them.

Away they go, although not for long.

The stadium looked as if it used to be the classic multi purpose sports facility, with the pitch inside an athletics track, an open topped oval bowl and one big covered stand. A recent refurbishment though had added a roof to the rest of the oval and it had continued around to protect the people sitting in the lower tier of the main stand. It looked a bit odd and I think it would have been  better if the main stand had been left as it was. The roof on the lower section seemed to unnecessarily restrict the view, both of the sky and of the areas of the pitch that were obscured by the stanchions.

The main West Stand with the new lower tier roof and the Jeonbuk fans in the South Stand.

The pitch was in a terrible condition. Some areas were grassless and rutted as if someone had been tractor racing on them, other parts had been patched by new turf  that looked as if it had been freshly laid over the top of the existing surface. It cut and bunched up whenever anyone went within five yards of it.

Lee Dong Gook was captaining Jeonbuk. He was wearing a fluorescent orange armband reminiscent of the one I was given as part of a road safety campaign as a small child. If only I’d been able to see into the future all those years ago as I played football in the playground with the orange armband on my duffle coat, I could have imagined I was Lee Dong Gook rather than Georgie Best. He was wearing fluorescent orange boots too, something that would have would have been deemed akin to witchcraft if I’d turned up at Fredrick Nattrass Junior school wearing something similar in 1971.

Jeonbuk, in their white away strips,  played with their usual five man midfield formation,  Lee Yo Han and Sung Jong Hyun sitting deep and Eninho, Kang Seung Jo and Kim Hyung Bum supporting lone striker Lee Dong Gook. Seongnam, who were in yellow shirts and black shorts played a similar system with former Partizan Belgrade striker Dzenan Radoncic leading the line.

A Seongnam corner, attacking the South Stand.

Not a lot happened in the first fifteen minutes or so, Jeonbuk had a couple of long range shots, but I think both teams were struggling to adapt to the state of the pitch. There was plenty of support from the travelling fans, most of the three hundred or so that had made the trip were in their usual green shirts and they kept up the singing throughout. Seongnam had about fifty fans in the north stand, but they didn’t really make much of a contribution. There were perhaps a further thousand people in total shared between the east and west stands.

As the half went on Seognam seemed to be adjusting to the conditions better than Jeonbuk, who I felt were missing the influence of Luiz Henrique in midfield. The home side should have gone ahead after twenty six minutes when one of them broke from midfield like Alan Foggon used to do but then after a neat one-two put his shot over the bar in a finish that was more like Billy Woof. It was a temporary reprieve for Jeonbuk though as a couple of minutes later Radoncic took a pass on the edge of the box, turned well and put Seognam one up.

1-0.

I missed the build up to the goal unfortunately as I was trying to see what television programme the bloke sat in front of me was watching on his mobile phone.

I think it was what the Koreans call 'Dramas' and we call 'Soaps'.

It should really have been 2-0 to Seongnam a few minutes later when all Kim Jin Yong had to do was square the ball to Radoncic, but he greedily had a shot. That was it for the first half apart from a yellow card for Jeonbuk midfielder Lee Yo Han when he slid in two footed and might easily have got a red.

At half time we were treated to the sight of the groundsman trying to repair the large patch of new turf near the tunnel whilst being hindered by fans or sponsors standing on it to take part in a competition to see who could hit a thirty yard pass nearest to a target. Quite why they couldn‘t have moved out of his way and shot from twenty seven yards instead wasn’t wholly apparent and the turf didnt look much better as the second half kicked off.

That'll help the new turf settle.

There were a few chances in the second half, Lee Dong Gook played a nice lobbed through ball for Kim Hyung Bum which brought a good save from the keeper and Radoncic nearly added to his first half goal with a shot from out side the area that Jeonbuk keeper Kim Min Sik managed to tip onto the inside of the post. The Columbian international Mauricio Molina had a decent opportunity for Seongnam only to put it wide when clear through on the keeper, causing him to welly the advertising hoarding behind the goal in frustration.

Seongnam attacking the North Stand end.

Jeonbuk, despite moving Sim Woo Yeon up into attack from central defence, never really looked like scoring and it remained 1-0. The Senognam fans in the north stand celebrated at the end by lighting a flare as they moved ahead of Jeonbuk and into second place in the table.

Celebration time.

The defeat meant that Jeonbuk slipped back down to fourth position, although they were within three points of new leaders Jeju United.

2 Responses to “Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma v Jeonbuk Motors, Saturday 28th August 2010, 8pm”

  1. Cogstar Says:

    not that I worry about the weather but………..when does the rainy season become the sunny season?

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