“Seongnam are the second strongest team in the league but we are the strongest,” said Pohang Steelers boss Sergio Farias after his team defeated the K-League leaders 2-1 last Saturday. The Brazilian is exaggerating his team’s abilities but at the moment in Korea, just as the weather finally settles into seasonable temperatures, the football scene has gone haywire.
How else can you explain Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors’ 5-2 thrashing of Suwon Samsung Bluewings in the once-feared Big Bird Stadium? Earlier in the season, Suwon couldn’t stop winning and the Motors couldn’t start. Now the Jeonju club collected three successive wins; Suwon have lost five of their last seven.
For the Jeonju-based team, the fried egg on the Dominoqq Online bi-bim-bap was the five star showing in Suwon, after the meeting between the two earlier in the season had been a bad-tempered one.
In May, the Gyeonngi team went to Jeonju to win 2-1 with the last kick of the game. By that 94th minute, emotions were running high after Jeonbuk striker Cho Jae-jin scored and then, in the view of the Suwon fans, celebrated provocatively in front of the massed blue ranks. Cho told them he was only following what Suwon’s Seo Dong-hyun had done earlier in the game. Suwon fans told him that they would ‘see him at the Big Bird’.
Cho Jae-jin pumped up for Suwon
They came, they saw but Cho conquered. The much-maligned male model was roundly booed and jeered on his return to Gyeonggi but he quickly made the catcalls stick in blue craws. Cho put Jeonbuk ahead and although Suwon soon equalized, four goals from the men in green in ten second half minutes stunned the home fans and kept the visitors’ hopes of a place in the top six and entry to the championship play-off series alive. It was also the most goals that Suwon goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae has ever conceded in a single match.
“I expected it,” smiled Cho after the game, not referring to the 5-2 scoreline of course but the reception from …