K-League players, hoping for national slot, fire away

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K-League players, hoping for national slot, fire away

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Cold weather didn’t dampen the fervor of the opening of the 2006 pro soccer K-League season on Sunday. Nearly 138,000 soccer fans filled seven soccer stadiums nationwide, with the 14 teams in the league producing 15 goals in one day.
It was the largest number of spectators for the opening day of games since 2003, when 144,000 people attended the games.
Park Chu-young of FC Seoul, Kim Doo-hyun of Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, Lee Dong-gook and Choi Tae-uk of the Pohang Steelers were all among the scorers, showing off their skills in front of the Korean national team’s head coach, Dick Advocaat.
The Dutch coach had said he would closely watch how national squad members played.
Two old rivals, the Suwon Samsung Blue Wings and FC Seoul, exchanged one each to end the game a tie in Suwon.
Suwon had no luck against FC Seoul last year, with one draw and two losses, and so employed Lee Jung-soo to mark Park, the rookie of the year in 2005.
FC Seoul was in the bottom half of last year’s ranking and so employed Choi Won-gun in midfield to create a solid defense.
Nineteen minutes into the second half, Denis Laktionov received Kim Nam-il’s long pass and drove deep into the left of the penalty area only to be fouled by Seoul’s Kim Han-yun.
Brazilian Itamar Batista Da Silva drove the resultant penalty kick into the net.
In the 33rd minute, FC’s Park responded with a penalty won almost the same way. Baek Ji-hoon sent a long pass to Park, who penetrated deep into the penalty area, but was pushed by Suwon’s Park Kun-ha.
Park’s penalty kick flew in to the back of the net when Suwon’s goalkeeper Lee Woo-jae dove right.
In Pohang, the Steelers beat Chonbuk Hyundai 3-1. Andre Luiz Tavarez scored first, and Choi Tae-wook celebrated his return from the J-league with Chonbuk’s second goal; Lee Dong-gook scored the third.
Gyeongnam FC, the last team to join the K-League, tied with Jeju United, formerly known as Bucheon SK, in its debut game. Incheon United defeated Busan I’Park 2-1 in Busan; the Ulsan Tigers beat Gwangju Sangmu 1-0 in Ulsan; Seongnam Chunma won against Daejeon Citizen 1-0 and Daegu FC tied Chunnam Dragons, 2-2.


by Jeong Young-jae, Limb Jae-un

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