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Park Won-jae, Goh Ki-gu, and Lee Gwang-jae Lead Pohang to Victory

Park Won-jae, Goh Ki-gu, and Lee Gwang-jae Lead Pohang to Victory

Posted November. 05, 2007 03:11,   


When the third goal flew into the net, Seongnam’s goalkeeper Kim Yong-dae (28) was unable to hide his despair. A former goalkeeper for the national team, Kim was planning to enter the military on December 7, ending a long postponement after the final game for the championship. He had hoped to enter the service after an honorable victory in the K-League. But his team’s defeat also defeated his dream.

Pohang’s sweeping victory was unexpected.

The championship of professional K-League is close for the Pohang Steelers. In yesterday’s opening game for the championship, which took place on Pohang’s home pitch, called the Steel Yard, on November 4, Pohang won, 3-1. It was a big leap toward a fourth title, following titles in 1986, 1988, and 1992.

The situation is favorable to Pohang. Unless Pohang loses the second final game scheduled for 3:00 p.m. November 11 in the Tancheon Sports Complex, it will win the championship.

For Seongnam, which was aiming for its eighth title and second in a row, the situation is a burden. The record shows that 88 percent of the teams that won the first final game made it to the championship.

Pohang played a careful game after six previous playoff games, including semi-final playoff, and regular playoff series, after ending the regular season in fifth place.

Seongnam, the top-ranked team in the regular season, was prepared with a deluxe group of attackers consisting of Choi Seong-guk, Itamar, and Kim Doo-hyeon, and a defensive group of national team caliber consisting of Kim Sang-sik, Jo Byeong-guk, Sohn Dae-ho, and Jang Hak-yeong.

Pohang’s capacity, from an objective perspective, was expected to be weaker.

In Game 1, Pohang looked for an opening with set plays, making use of Tavares, a master of free kicks. When one of Tavares’s free kicks flew toward the left corner of the net at the 31-minute mark of the first half, Seongnam’s defense players gathered in to mark Hwang Jae-won, who was positioned in front of the goal. But the goal bounced after hitting the left post and was kicked hard into the net by Park Jae-won, who was waiting behind it.

Pohang denied an all-out series of attacks in the opening part of the second half. At 28 minutes into the second half, Goh Ki-gu headed a ball that Park Won-jae sent high, and when Goh’s shot bounced back after hitting the post a minute later, Lee Gwang-jae made a successful attempt, widening the scoring gap to 3-0. Seongnam’s Jang Hak-yeong made up for a goal by scoring a goal right before the end of the game during the injury time.

bluesky@donga.com kimsk@donga.com