Asan Citizen v Seoul Martyrs, Saturday 21st May 2011, 3pm

7-3. That’s not  a result that you see very often and it’s what my Mam would describe as ‘playing shotty in’. It’s the type of scoreline that makes you think of a kick about with your mates. Particularly with those mates who aren’t really keen on staying back in defence. Or those who have never played football before. If you hear of that result in an organised match, you’d think it would have had to have been a schools game, probably between under eights where they all chase after the ball like, well, seven year olds playing football.

But, it’s not necessarily always that way. There’s Real Madrid 7 Eintracht Frankfurt 3. The 1960 European Cup Final at Hampden Park that’s recognised as one of the best games ever. It was a bit before my time but my mate John Green was there as a boy and I don’t remember him ever describing watching Puskas, Di Stefano and Gento playing in a game of ‘shotty in’.

No defence?

 Alex Ferguson was there too watching that game and he was to subsequently meet Mr Green in a pre-season friendly maybe a dozen years or so later. The future Man Utd boss was winding down his playing career and my mate was by that time captaining his home town team Buckie Thistle.

John told me that he took great delight in letting Fergie know he was there with the sort of tackle where any contact with the ball is purely incidental. Fergie, after a muttered “FFS big fella, lets just take it easy” had what was probably one of the quieter afternoons of his life after that. If he had spent the second half constantly looking at his watch, I doubt that it was for the purpose of encouraging the ref to add more time on.

This game though, as I imagine that you had already suspected, was more like the kick around between mates. Mates, that is who were small boys and not mates who turned out each week for Real Madrid. Still, it was worth the trip.

Actually, the trip itself was worth the trip. Most people when they go to Asan will go by train. Generally the fast KTX train, sometimes the slightly slower Saemaul or Mugunghwa trains. All of them are fine and will get you there from Seoul in anything from thirty five mins to maybe an hour and a quarter.

There is another way though. Line One of the subway lines extends to about eighty kilometres south of Seoul and finishes just beyond Asan.  I wasn’t in a rush and so I thought I’d give it a try. Five stops west from Yeoksam to Sandang on Line 2 were followed by ten stops south on Line 4 to Geumjeong. Both of those trains were pretty full but fortunately I got a seat fairly quickly.

At Geumjeong I switched to Line 1 and rode that for twenty three stops until I reached Asan. I’d had to change trains for some reason at Cheonan and it took me just over two and a half hours in total. The Line 1 train was pretty quiet though and I caught up with my reading and my sleep at different points in the journey. Plus, at 2,500 won, you would probably have to walk to get there any cheaper.

Seoul subway - Line 1

As I got a taxi to the Yishunsin stadium I passed the next station along the line, Baebang. It would probably have been better to have continued on to there rather than get off at Asan. In fact the following station, Onyang Oncheon, might have been better still.

I still had fifteen minutes to spare when I got to the ground and so I had a wander around before I went in. There was a little shop with a beer fridge outside of it, but unfortunately the fridge was padlocked and the girl behind the counter didn’t have a key. So, I’d be watching this one without the benefit of a drink or two.

Yishunsin Stadium

Asan’s ground is probably one of the biggest that I’ve been in over here. Not in terms of capacity but in surface area. As usual there was a running track around the pitch, but there was sufficient space between the track and the stands to add another six or eight lanes to it, should they ever want to bid for the Olympics.  The main quirk at this place was an actual grass pitch as most teams at this level play on an artificial surface.

It had taken me a while to find my way in and as I emerged at the side of the pitch I realised that I had arrived just as the players were taking the field. I was tempted for a moment to follow them onto the pitch and walk along the line shaking hands but it was starting to rain so I left them to it and took a seat in the only stand which had the benefit of a roof. Asan were in yellow shirts and black shorts, Seoul in red shirts and black shorts.

Seoul Martyrs

Now, as I’ve already given the score away, I don’t know if you need bother with the rest. Besides, with ten goals it’s going to go on a bit. But as I got photos of some of the goals I might as well tell you what went on.

Asan got their first goal a minute into the game with a soft glancing header that I believe is usually described as something that the keeper could have thrown his cap on. Well, this keeper didn’t have a cap, although the header was so slow that he would have had time to nip home and get one if he’d wanted and still have been able to keep the ball out of the net.

It might have been an idea for him to have picked up a goalie shirt whilst he was getting the cap as well. His yellow shirt clashed with the home team’s kit and so he was wearing a blue bib. A lot of the time I mistook him for steward or a ballboy. Usually, it has to be said, whenever the other team had a shot at goal.

He's tall for a ballboy.

Half an hour in and there was still just the one goal in it. That was all about to change though and the award of a penalty to the Martyrs opened the floodgates. It had to be taken twice due to encroachment before Seoul got their equaliser.

They stayed out of the box for the second attempt.

Seoul’s goal didn’t really do them any favours as it just seemed to piss the home team off and by half time Asan were four one up.

A cross from the left brought Asan’s second goal. Everyone, including the keeper left the ball and it arrived at the back post where the loitering striker was able to stamp the ball home with his studs in the nonchalant manner of someone casually vandalising a cucumber frame.

The third came from a counter-attack where Asan found themselves with two men over. A shot from ten yards out was palmed up into the air by the keeper and it landed behind him and just over the line.

Right on half time Asan got another free-kick near the corner flag. Once again everyone left the ball alone and this time it went straight in.

Oh dear.

The second half started just as badly for the Martyrs as they conceded their fifth goal within a minute or two of the restart. I think the couple of players who had occasionally been hanging back in defence for Seoul had forgotten that they had changed ends and the Asan strikers had an easy enough task in walking the ball in.

There was better news five minutes later as Seoul pulled one back. The lad who scored even grabbed the ball afterwards and sprinted back to the centre-circle, bless him.

With twenty minutes left, Seoul got another one to make it 5-3. I’ve no idea if it was a shot or a cross and I suspect the player didn’t either. Whatever, it sailed over the head of the Asan keeper who may have been texting on his mobile and landed in the net.

The comeback was short lived though and Asan added a couple more in the closing minutes to extend their lead to 7-3.

That's all folks.

After the tenth goal of the afternoon Seoul revised their tactics and shot direct from the re-start. The Asan goalie mustn’t have had a phone signal as he managed to see that one coming and gather the ball as the final whistle blew.

I shared a taxi back to the station with Seoul Martyrs fan, Simon, who watches them regularly and who assured me that they weren’t normally as bad as that. It was just as well really, as I suspect that he might have had to take a turn in goal otherwise.

I wasn’t complaining though. It had been an entertaining afternoon. The standard might not have been up to the famous Real Madrid-Eintracht Frankfurt game, but it had been better than a kids match involving under-eights. At times, anyway.

9 Responses to “Asan Citizen v Seoul Martyrs, Saturday 21st May 2011, 3pm”

  1. Cogstar Says:

    enjoyed that….still not much to do at work then!!

    • onthetrailofthelionking Says:

      It’s effective time management. Something I do particularly well, as seen by my choice to transport to the game.

    • Nuri Says:

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  2. Martyrs Forever Says:

    I got a mention! Hooray!!!! We won this week though. You are a bad luck charm, mate!!!! See you soon for another game…..but not Martyrs…please!

  3. onthetrailofthelionking Says:

    It seems that way. I’ll stay clear until the play-offs are out of the question and concentrate on the Doosan Bears instead.

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