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`China Fear` Plaguing Korean Pro Soccer Teams

Posted April. 23, 2009 09:09,   


The national soccer team has not lost to China since 1978, winning 16 games and drawing 11.

Korea is a formidable for China in international competition, but the situation is different in professional soccer.

The qualifiers for the Asian Football Confederation Champions League have passed the halfway point. The four Korean teams in the competition -- FC Seoul, Suwon Samsung, Ulsan Hyundai and Pohang Steelers -- are struggling partly because of Chinese pro teams.

The four Korean teams are 2-2-2 versus four Chinese teams due to what has been dubbed “Chinese fear.”

Korea`s K-League ranked 85th among world professional leagues last year. The K-League is lagging far behind Japan`s (27th) and surprisingly China`s (68th).

Korea’s rank has declined because Korean teams have lost to Chinese squads in the Asian Champions League over the past two to three years.

Korean pro teams have struggled versus Chinese clubs. In the 2005 competition, Suwon lost to Shenzhen Jianlibao 1-0, failing to advance to the quarterfinals. Last year, Pohang posted a draw and a loss to Changchun Yatai to be denied a trip to the second round.

Over the past three years, Korean teams have three wins, a draw and four losses versus Chinese teams. Notably, Korean teams are 1-8 against those of China since 2003.

The Chinese Super League is developing at an astonishing pace. Chinese teams are striving to get stronger by recruiting foreign players, including Korea’s Ahn Jung-hwan (Dalian Shide).

The Chinese league has 16 clubs, one more than Korea`s, and a major and minor league system that raises competition among clubs.