Seongnam v Tianjin Teda, Wednesday 21st March 2012, 7pm

I probably wouldn’t have bothered with this game normally as it’s a bit of a rush to get to Seongnam’s Tancheon Stadium for a 7pm mid-week kick-off. I was having a browse through the squad of their Chinese opponents though, as you do, to see if they had recruited any ageing superstars, when I spotted that they had an English player.

I’d never heard of the fella listed, Akpo Sodje, but all that means is that he probably hasn’t scored too many goals against the Boro over the years. Google is your friend though and it turns out that he’s played all over the place.

He started off at QPR as a kid and then had spells at Stevenage Borough, Margate, Gravesend & Northfield (That’s one team, not two), Heybridge Swifts, Erith & Belvedere (that’s one team as well), Huddersfield Town, Darlington, Port Vale, Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton Athletic and Hibernian. The last couple of names are actually two teams.

So, he’s been around a bit. It was his spell at Darlington that clinched it though. If he’d played for Darlo, I’d have to go and see him. I suppose you could describe Darlo as being like the Boro’s kid brother. They play nearby but are too crap to be considered a rival.  A bit like the way it was with Sunderland when they had Mick McCarthy in charge.

I must admit, I did wonder just why a team in the China Super League, particularly one that had qualified for the Asian Champions League, would have wanted to sign him. After all, Anelka is playing over there now and we keep reading reports that Chinese clubs are prepared to pay Frank Lampard or Rio Ferdinand a quarter of a million pounds a week to make the move. Still, that’s a matter for Tianjin Teda.

Akpo Sodje gets booked in the Sheffield derby for messing with Boro legend Ugo Ehiogu. Serves him right.

I hurried out of work and got to Tancheon a minute or so before kick-off. It was 10,000 won to get in and I sat in the East Stand, near to the half-way line. Akpo Sodje and his Chinese team mates didn’t seem to be much of a draw to the people of Seongnam as I’d reckon that there were only about a thousand spectators present. The official attendance was 2,553, but there’s no way that there were as many as that in the ground. In fact Akpo had probably played in front of bigger crowds at Darlo.

Seongnam had their usual twenty ultras behind the goal to my right and as happens every week they were outnumbered by the away fans. It was closer than most games though, with only about fifty people at the other end supporting the visitors.

Tianjin Teda fans.

The pitch was looking good, probably the best I’ve ever seen it as Seongnam kicked off in their Watford strips with Tianjin Teda in all white. So, what about our English fella? Well, he wasn’t there. Despite having scored the week before, he hadn’t made the starting eleven. I scoured the subs bench, but he wasn’t there either. Marvellous.

Not there either.

So, that was a waste of time. As for the game, Seongnam went a goal up early on when a glancing header from Han Sang Woon dropped perfectly inside the back post. The visitors equalised twenty minutes from the end with an effort that the Seongnam keeper should have done better with.

This one didn't go in.

I cleared off with ten minutes to go, it was a bit too cold to hang about on the off-chance that Sodje might suddenly appear from nowhere like a Sunday League player who had slept in and missed his lift. Nobody else scored and the game finished one each.

2 Responses to “Seongnam v Tianjin Teda, Wednesday 21st March 2012, 7pm”

  1. Charles Says:

    The player in question (Akpo Sodje) was not even registered for the competition (Asian Champions League) because he signed for the club over 2 weeks after the deadline of registration of players. I ‘d strongly suggest you ask questions and do proper investigations before jumping on your computer to miseducate /misinform your readers.

  2. onthetrailofthelionking Says:

    I’d strongly suggest that you go fuck yourself.

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