Ulsan Horangi v Al–Ahli, Saturday 10th November 2012, 7.30pm

Korean teams have done pretty well in the Asian Champions League in recent seasons. There’s been a K-League representative in each of the last four finals with Pohang Steelers and Seongnam winning in 2009 and 2010 respectively, whilst Jeonbuk Motors lost out on penalties last year. This season it was Ulsan Horangi’s turn to fly the flag with a home game against Saudi club Al-Ahli.

Jen and I had travelled down from Seoul that morning and had spotted a group of what we thought were Al-Ahli fans at the station. A closer look at their identical kit suggested that they may very well have been players or officials. Some of them didn’t look particularly athletic, but then again, neither did the likes of Alan Foggon or Branco when they were turning out for the Boro.

They were all very similarly dressed.

I’d spent the afternoon at a second-tier National League game in the company of some lads I know from a football forum and after continuing our drinking at a table outside of a convenience store, we caught a taxi to the Munsu stadium.

I took this photo the previous time I was there.

There weren’t any queues at the ticket office, although that was probably more a consequence of us having got there early rather than an indication of the potential crowd size. Tickets were very reasonably priced at 8,000 won, a fair bit cheaper than those at a European Champions League final.

Munsu is one of the better World Cup grounds in my opinion, mainly because it doesn’t have a running track. There’s a decent view from everywhere apart from those seats directly behind the giant inflatable tiger positioned close to one of the corners.

Initially only the East and South stands were open for home fans with a decent turn-out from the Al-Ahli fans in the North.

The Al-Ahli fans shortly after kick-off.

After queueing in vain for more beer we took seats in the upper tier of the South stand behind the goal and it wasn’t long before Kwak Tae Hwi put the hosts a goal up. As the first half wore on it was interesting to see the ground fill up. There wasn’t enough room in the two open stands allocated to the home fans and so people were just hopping over the fence and finding seats alongside the away fans in the North or in the posher West stand.

Ulsan fans behind the goal.

By the time second half goals from Rafinha and Kim Seung Yong clinched the trophy for Ulsan the place was almost full. The official attendance was 42,315 and for once I couldn’t argue much with the announced figure. Sadly, as with last year’s final in Jeonju, the size of the crowd resulted in the beer running out far too soon.

The view from behind the tiger.

I cleared off with a few minutes to go and caught a taxi back into town, leaving Ulsan to celebrate their first success at this level and the tenth in total for a Korean club.

One Response to “Ulsan Horangi v Al–Ahli, Saturday 10th November 2012, 7.30pm”

  1. Kiss Time Couple « jenniferteacher2pointø Says:

    […] and adding to my “free” diary stamp collection. If you are interested in Ulsan soccer, Craig wrote up the […]

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