FC Seoul v Jeonbuk Motors, Sunday 25th November 2012, 2pm

0 - champagne

I’d had my eye on this game for a while, mainly because for a long time it looked as if it could be the title-decider. Jeonbuk’s loss of form towards the end of the season though meant that Seoul had already clinched the league by the time the game came around and therefore the result meant little to anyone.

The fixture had been designated ‘Foreigner’s Day’ by the home club. It’s their annual attempt to swell the crowd by appealing to non-Koreans who like to turn up at ‘fun’ foreigner activities. There’s a circuit of these things that seem to be obligatory to gap-year kids and when they aren’t being enticed to football games with cheap tickets and free beer, you can find them throwing mud at each other on the beach or making paper lanterns and practising their bowing at a temple-stay. I’m not particularly comfortable in the company of strangers at the best of times, but having to watch a game with a couple of hundred people who know as much about the game as I do about baseball is pretty much my idea of hell.

Still, the stadiums are big enough to keep yourself to yourself if you want to and I caught the subway up to Sangam. There was a fella in my carriage wearing a pair of glasses without any lenses in. I’ve seen this a few time and I presume that they are going for the nerdy look. Fair enough, whatever gets the girl.  What I can’t grasp though is why they don’t get some glasses with plain lenses in them and do it properly. I’m not a violent bloke by any means but I wouldn’t quibble with anyone who advocated a swift poke in the eye for these tosspots.

Fortunately the foreigners were all to be corralled in one particular part of the stadium around towards the North Stand. I declined the cheap ticket and free can of beer and bought myself a regular fourteen thousand won ticket for the opposite Jeonbuk end. There was a relatively poor turnout from the Jeonbuk fans, maybe three hundred or so, although with their season being over it was understandable.

The Jeonbuk fans.

The Jeonbuk fans. Not all of them, but not far off.

The game hadn’t caught the imagination of the home fans either and once again the ground was a lot emptier than I’d expected. The official attendance was announced as 25,316 but in reality there were somewhere between twelve and fifteen thousand people there. The Seoul fans behind the goal were in good form though, celebrating their championship season with cardboard cut-out golden stars and trophies.

The Seoul fans show off their new star and trophy.

The Seoul fans show off their new star and trophy.

Despite the extreme cold I got myself a couple of cans of Max. Drinking beer seems to be the right thing to do at a Korean football game and I didn’t really want the close to freezing temperature to change my matchday routine. I was pleased that I’d brought my gloves though, as I doubt holding an ice-cold can would have been tolerable otherwise.

The opening quarter of an hour belonged to Seoul. Jeonbuk picked up a couple of early bookings and Seoul’s Jung Jo Gook messed up a good opportunity to put the home side ahead when he handled as he tried to bundle the ball home. It didn’t matter though as a few minutes later Molina scored with a header  that bounced up off the ground and then went in off the post. The unusual flight of the ball seemed to wrong-foot Old Man Choi in the Jeonbuk goal. Not only did the whole Seoul team join in with the celebration but most of their subs seemed to be on the pitch too. It culminated in them posing for the cameras in front of their own fans at the opposite end of the stadium.

Whatever happend to a simple handshake?

Whatever happened to a simple handshake?

Jeonbuk had their chances as the half progressed with three of them falling to Lee Dong Gook. None of them were sitters but he has scored from much more difficult opportunities throughout the season. The game moved further away from Jeonbuk five minutes before half time when Escudero went down. I didn’t see what happened but the recently booked Eninho looked to have got the blame and amidst a melee of players, subs and coaches he picked up a second yellow. It looked as if one of the Jeonbuk officials was sent to the stand too although I’ve no idea who or what for. I’m not convinced that the ref knew either.

Bye bye.

Bye bye.

Two beers in freezing conditions was enough to send me scuttling to the bogs at half-time and there was a bloke in there brushing his teeth. That’s not something I’d expect to see at a football match. Now, it’s easy to slag off Korean fellas for their lack of personal hygiene as for every one that bothers to wash his hands after having a piss, there are another ten who just hog the mirror to flick at their carefully waxed hair without going anywhere near the sink. With teeth though it’s a different  matter. I’m convinced that most blokes at work brush their teeth after every coffee, never mind every meal. I’m surprised they have any enamel left on them.

I missed the first five minutes of the second half queuing for another couple of cans as too many of the people in front of me in the queue seemed to be doing their weekly shop. I didn’t miss much though. In fact there wasn’t really that much to miss throughout the second half.

Random action shot.

Random action shot.

Both sides had minor chances, the best of which brought an excellent double save from Old Man Choi in the Jeonbuk goal. Damjanovic very graciously acknowledged his efforts, which I suppose comes a little easier when you are about to win the game and have already won the league.

At the final whistle we got the obligatory ‘We Are The Champions’ and a shower of paper at the trophy ceremony from what must be a specialist celebratory blowing machine that travels the country catering for occasions like this.

"No time for losers..."

“No time for losers…”

I watched for a while as the players sprayed each other with champagne and skipped around with their families. The celebrations culminated in some horse dancing. Of course. No event is complete in Korea these days without a bit of imaginary horse-riding. I suspect that they even do it at funerals. It’s generally my cue to bugger off though and so that’s what I did.

One Response to “FC Seoul v Jeonbuk Motors, Sunday 25th November 2012, 2pm”

  1. Nikolay Says:

    Judge yourselves! I think it’s about times for you pepole to get a good education and improve your writing skill and learn to analyze things well before you make any comment. I am Vietnamese and I married to a Korean woman. What do you have to say about my case? Just stop being ignorant and mind your own miserable lives folks!

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