The 2005 A3 Nissan Champions Cup, a meet for professional soccer teams of Korea, China, and Japan, began on Sunday in World Cup Stadium in Seogwipo, Jeju Island. In the opener, the Pohang Steelers, runners up in the K-League last season, tied the Yokohama Marinos, the champions of J-League last season, 1-1.
Brazilian defender Santos of Pohang made a mistake at three minutes into the game and allowed his opponents to score the first goal of the game that gave them an early lead. But Santos went on to compensate for his misdeeds, scoring a goal with a beautiful header in 19 minutes into the second half.
Santos, the core defensive player of the Steelers, was dribbling the ball out of the rear defensive zone. As he tried to run past Yokohamas striker Norihisa Shimizu, the ball was cut by Shimizu, and Shimizus right-footed shot went into the net. In the 19th minute in the second half, Nam Ik-gyung made a free kick from the right side of the field, and Santos threw himself at the ball and scored the equalizer.
Ahn Jung-hwan of Yokohama, whose right anklebone was broken in November last year in a game against Maldives in the second round of preliminaries in Asia for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, was not included in the roster, and watched the game in the stands. I feel that I can go out there and play, but I dont want to rush things. I think I can participate in the training starting late this month, said Ahn.
There were 27,573 people in the audience. Among them were the head coach of Korean national soccer team, Johannes Bonfrere, observing the movements of Steelers and Samsung Bluewings to find hidden gems.