Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma v Jeonbuk Motors, Wednesday 25th July 2012, 7.30pm

Seongnam is the easiest K-League team for Jen and I to get to from Yeoksam and with their Tancheon Stadium being only a ten minute walk from Yatap subway we were there a good ten minutes before kick-off.

As the teams lined up for the National Anthem I noticed that Lee Dong Gook wasn’t starting despite having scored the winner against Gangwon three days earlier. He was on the bench though, his place having been taken by Jeong Seong Hoon. I’m not much of a fan of Mr. Jeong, to me he just seems like a fairly static target man with not much of a first touch. Still, with the K-League teams currently playing twice a week, I suppose you’ve got to make changes now and again.

All stand for the National Anthem.

We’d decided to sit in the East Stand mainly because it meant we didn’t have to walk as far to get into it as we would have if we’d chosen the larger West Stand opposite. It was busy by Seongnam standards with a few hundred people in it and we had to walk most of the length of it to find the quietest section.

View from the East Stand towards the Jeonbuk fans behind the goal.

Jeonbuk had a new right back that I hadn’t seen before, Ma Chul Jun. He hadn’t been getting a game at his previous club Jeju and had been brought in to replace Choi Chul Soon who has recently cleared off to do his military service. Ma looks a bit of a character. I can’t work out if he has an odd shaped head or whether it’s just a particularly dodgy haircut. Nevertheless, he made a good impression, both defensively and in getting forward to support the attack.

Ma Chul Soon chases back.

Jeonbuk had brought a couple of hundred fans with them, whilst Seongnam had their usual hardcore of thirty or so behind the goal to our right. They also had a couple of dozen fans over in the West Stand. These fellas had a few banners but didn’t seem to get too involved in the singing. When you’ve as few fans as Seongnam has it strikes me as a bit counter-productive to split them up.

The ‘other’ Seongnam fans.

Seongnam are in the bottom half of the table but managed to take the game to league leaders Jeonbuk. They carved out the better of the opening forty-five minutes but didn’t really give the veteran visiting keeper Choi Eun Seong anything overly strenuous to do.

The half-time entertainment consisted of about fifty people milling about and taking part in something that I couldn’t fathom. With Seongnam being owned by Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church I was hoping we might be in for a mass Moonie wedding. If they did all manage to get married before the teams came back out again then they did it with a minimum of fuss and even less confetti.

Moonie Wedding.

After an hour Jeonbuk made the change that I’d been waiting for and replaced Jeong Big Spud with Lee Dong Gook. The ex-Middlesbrough man contributed more to the general play, but opponents Seongnam still looked the better side. In the absence of any goals to report I’ll pad this out with a photo of the sun going down.

I used a fancy setting on my camera.

Now normally I’ll raise the excitement levels by mentioning what I had for my tea. Not this time though. But I can let you know that the lads in front of us were eating dried squid. It wasn’t the usual rubbery stuff that you heat up on a portable gas stove and could re-sole your shoes with, it was more of a wafer. As they look nothing like squid I’m a little dubious about what goes into them and suspect that, as with sausages, it’s probably the eye lids, lips and hooves that form the basis of the ingredients.

Mmmm, reconstituted squid.

Seongnam couldn’t make their superiority count and the game finished goalless. Jeonbuk stayed top of the table whilst Seongnam continued to potter around below halfway.

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