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K-League Playoffs Have Final Four

Posted November. 07, 2006 06:59,   


After finishing the long march of the regular season, the four head coaches that have entered the semi-finals are Kim Hak-beom (Seongnam Ilhwa), Cha Bum-geun (Suwon Bluewings), Farias (Pohang Steelers) and Lee Jang-su (FC Seoul).

In a joint press conference which took place at the football assembly hall on November 6 for the semi-final teams of the 2006 Samsung Hauzen K-league play offs, these four coaches promised to “forget about previous records in the league and give out all.” The semi-final playoffs will take place on November 11 (Seongnam-Seoul) and 12 (Suwon-Pohang), while the first and second rounds of the finals will take place on November 19 and 25, respectively.

Coach Kim Hak-beom, who has led Seongnam to win the second stage of the league and top overall rankings, said, “Playoffs are one-game matches in which regular league scores have no meaning. The win will depend on which teams are most focused on that day. Although we did have a problem with our players’ concentration after we won in the second stage, I am confident that we will be able to show the best plays in the playoffs.”

Seongnam’s best merit is its players. It has some of the best players in the country, including Koreans Kim Doo-hyun, Woo Sung-yong and Park Jin-sub, as well as Brazilians Itamar and Motta. The only worry is that the center of the defense, Kim Sang-sik, will be out due to injury.

The team running against Seongnam, Seoul’s coach Lee Jang-su, said, “We had to fight hard until the last minute for a ticket to the semi-finals. I am a little worried because Seongnam is a strong team and our players’ stamina is down. But during the time that we have, we will work to recover our strength and play a great game.”

Seoul has several goal strikers such as Kim Eun-joong, Jeong Jo-guk, Park Chu-young, and Dudu. In one-game matches, the moves of the strikers will be important. They also have stable midfielders with Lee Eul-yong, Choi Won-kwon and Ricaldo, but their weak defense is a disadvantage.

Coach Cha Bum-geun, who led Suwon to win in the third stage, said, “This has been a very hard and difficult season. Luckily the players and the team have worked together to come to an ideal result. We will go aggressive on offense, as we have done until now, and give fans a fun match. Needless to say, our purpose is to win.”

Suwon has found stability in striking and defense due to the strong midfield line led by Lee Kwan-woo, Baek Ji-hoon, and Kim Nam-il.

Coach Farias of Pohang said, “It’s an honor to get into the playoffs, which was our first goal. Suwon is a difficult opponent. But we will try our best and aim at winning.” It is said that Pohang’s striking power doubled with Lee Dong-guk’s comeback after recovering from his injury.