Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

South Korea: Jeonbuk claim second K-League title over Ulsan (video)

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on December 4, 2011

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors logoJeonbuk Hyundai Motors are South Korean champions for the second time in three years following their play-off triumph over Ulsan Hyundai.

Jeonbuk were huge favourites going into this year’s final having finished top of the regular season standings whilst their opponents Ulsan had knocked out FC Seoul, Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Pohang Steelers en route to this year’s showpiece.

In the first leg of the final, which was played in Ulsan on Wednesday evening, Jeonbuk had Eninho to thank for giving the visitors a 2-1 win over their hosts and a useful lead going in to today’s crucial return fixture. With the first half of the second leg goalless Ulsan still had the capacity to cause one further shock in the play-offs and when Ki-Hyeon Seol scored ten minutes after the break an upset seemed on the cards. However any nerves which the home were suffering were extinguished just six minutes later when Eninho scored another vital goal, this time from the spot, to give the home side the aggregate lead once more. Luiz Henrique put the game beyond doubt with twenty minutes to play when he gave Jeonbuk a 2-1 second leg lead, and a 4-2 aggregate advantage, which Jeonbuk retained for the remainder of the game.

For Ulsan it was just one step too far but their team can be proud of their efforts this season which culminated in a League Cup win and winning a place in the 2012 AFC Champions League as a just reward for their play-off exploits. For Jeonbuk the triumph of a second K-League title in three years now brings greater challenges; retaining the national title is of great importance but the dream of winning a second AFC Champions League title will be uppermost in the minds of everyone at the club next season.


South Korea: Jeonbuk lead the way in final straight

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on August 10, 2011

K-League logoWith two-thirds of the K-League regular season completed the championship is reaching the business end in South Korea. Unlike most footballing top-flight divisions, the K-League determines its winners by a post-season play-off system in which the top six battle it out for the title. With 20 of the 30 regular season rounds played only league leaders Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and second placed Pohang Steelers seem to be virtually assured of their play-off places.

Jeonbuk top the table with 43 points and enjoy a six point advantage over Pohang Steelers. Jeonbuk’s only defeat in the last sixteen matches came at the hands of Pohang who are the only club to have won the play-off format in its current format, adopted in 2007, from outside first place. Jeonbuk’s Dong-Gook Lee has featured prominently in the top three of the goal scoring charts throughout the season having scored ten goals so far and lies four and five goals behind Jung-Woo Kim (Sangju Sangmu) and Dejan Damjanovic (FC Seoul) respectively.

Speaking of FC Seoul, the defending K-League champions currently lie in fourth place with equal points to third place Jeju United (both have 33) and seem to rely a little too heavily at present on their Montenegran striker Damjanovic in their quest to re-capture the title. Along with Jeonbuk and eighth placed Suwon Samsung Bluewings, FC Seoul will resume their AFC Champions League campaign in mid-September and it will be interesting to see how those clubs involved in Asia’s top club competition can balance out demands at home and abroad.

Amongst the other sides battling it out for the play-offs there are five points separating third-place Jeju United from ninth-place Ulsan Hyundai. Ulsan have already won the K-League Cup this season and are hoping to win a domestic treble this season with further success in the Korean FA Cup (their semi-final against Suwon Bluewings takes place in late August) and the K-League. Completing the play-off places at the moment are fifth-place Chunnam Dragons and sixth place Busan I’Park (32 points) who both narrowly lead nearest challengers Gyeongnam FC by just a solitary point.

The biggest shock this season is the woeful form of record champions Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma. South Korea’s most successful club with seven national league titles and two Asian Champions League titles, the most recent of those came only last year, currently lie in 14th place in the 16 team league just one point ahead of second-bottom Daejon Citizen but comfortably ahead of Gangwon FC who have won just one game all season.

J-League and K-League champions signal the old and the new

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on December 7, 2009
Kashima Antlers

Kashima Antlers have secured their third straight J-League title

Two major championships concluded in Asia this weekend, one championship congratulating a team who have turned winning into an art form on the domestic stage, the other congratulating a club who have finally landed their maiden national title.

Kashima Antlers were crowned champions of Japan this weekend securing a third straight title courtesy of a 1-0 win away at Urawa Red Diamonds. Shinko Koroki’s goal in the 66th minute proved enough as the Antlers finished two points clear of Kawasaki Frontale, whose 3-2 victory away to Kashiwa Reysol ultimately proved fruitless. Kashima cement their place as the most successful club in the J-League era as they have won the J-League championship seven times since its formation in 1993. At the bottom of the table JEF United, Oita Trinita and Kashiwa Reysol were relegated and they’ll be replaced in 2010 by Vegalta Sandai, Cerezo Osaka and Shonan Bellmare.

Things were different in South Korea where the K-League saw Jeonbuk Hyandai Motors lift their first ever league championship trophy. Jeonbuk had already clinched the regular league title finishing four points ahead of FIFA Club World Cup participants Pohang Steelers and FC Seoul. Following the regular season a play-off series was contested, Jeonbuk’s prize for finishing first in the regular table was a bye into the final. Five teams entering at various rounds were hoping to contest Jeonbuk in the final and, after three rounds, it was Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, who had finished fourth in the regular season, who were to be the lucky opponents with a shot at title glory. After the first leg of the final had finished in a goalless draw, Jeonbuk took no prisoners in the second match played at their home stadium in Jeonju. Eninho scored the first goal of the game after 21 minutes to set them on their way. After the Brazilian scored his second just before half-time, former South Korean international Lee Dong-Gook confirmed the match with a 72nd minute penalty for Jeonbuk to seal the deal, Seongnam getting a consolation goal through Kim Jin-Yong in the 84th minute.