This weekend was another one of those cut short by a trip to Oman late on the Saturday night and to make matters worse there were no football fixtures scheduled in the National or Challengers Leagues. There were only three games taking place in the top-tier K-League and as two of them were too far away to get back from in time, I was left with Seongnam’s visit to Incheon United.
I took the subway to Dowon and, as I didn’t want to sit in the sun, I bought myself a 12,000 won ticket for the west stand. If I’d been prepared to have the sun in my eyes then I could have got in for 8,000.
I wandered around outside for a while and had a look at some of the merchandising stalls. They didn’t seem to be doing much business although a tent at the end of the line where three Incheon players were signing autographs had a queue sixty yards long.
There was plenty of room inside the twenty thousand capacity stadium. The official attendance was announced as 3,540 but I’d estimate that there were probably only half that number there at best and maybe even less than a thousand when the game kicked off.
The home fans were behind the goal to my right in the ‘safe-standing’ area. There were almost as many banners and flags as people, but they made a decent effort and sang for most of the game.
Seongnam had the open end of the stadium and had brought about fifty fans with them. That is probably more than they have actively supporting their team at their own ground, although I suppose there’s more of a temptation to join in with the singing at away games.
About twenty of the Seongnam supporters were wearing identical tee-shirts. On the back there was a picture of Father Jack with the slogan ‘Feck Off’ underneath and on the front, beneath the badges of FC Seoul and Incheon United were the words ‘I hate these scums’.
Whilst I quite like the idea that Father Jack has a relevance in Korea fourteen years after Father Ted finished, I find it hard to imagine that either of those teams, FC Seoul in particular, would give a monkey’s about Seongnam or the dodgy tee-shirts worn by their fans.
Football-wise, there wasn’t much to mention in the first half. I’d backed Incheon to win at 13/10 but they didn’t ever look like scoring. Seongnam had a couple of chances on the break but nothing that really caused me any concern.
At half-time I got myself a bag of three hard-boiled eggs to eat. They were the toughest eggs that I’ve ever eaten and I was relieved not to have lost any teeth by the time I’d finished them. I was left wondering if they had bought a large quantity at the start of the season and then six months later been left with a stock surplus when the people of Incheon turned out not to be that interested in football. Next time I’ll just get an ice-cream.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with Incheon having most of the possession, but Seongnam looking the more dangerous with their counter attacks.
Everything livened up when, with fifteen minutes to go, Incheon’s Son Dae Ho picked up a second yellow. It seemed a bit harsh to me, although had it been his first card I doubt anyone would have complained. I know that’s not how it should be, but it is. He and his teammates argued with the ref for a while, but in the end he had to go.
Dropping down to ten men seemed to spur Incheon on and within a minute they had hit the post. They then forced a good save from Seongnam goalie Jung San. The visitors had a chance or two themselves but in the end it finished goalless.
The result didn’t really matter apart from to those of us who’d had a wager. The mid-season split of the league had left both clubs in the bottom section but without any real threat of relegation and with nothing to play for. In hindsight, I suppose it may not have been the best circumstances to have had a bet.