Football history to be made this season

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Football history to be made this season

The 30th K-League season could be one for the history books, with numerous players and teams on the verge of setting new records.

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors striker Lee Dong-gook, last season’s MVP, is just one goal behind all-time scoring leader Woo Sung-yong with 115 goals. Woo retired in 2009.

Lee, the 33-year-old striker, has tallied 45 assists in addition to his goals in 278 matches.

The milestone may be reached on kickoff day, when Jeonbuk is scheduled to host Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma FC.

Lee’s friend and former rival Kim Eun-jung, who will play this season with Gangwon FC after moving from Jeju United, could become the second footballer in K-League history to reach 60 goals and 60 assists in a career.

The 33-year-old striker currently has 103 goals and 52 assists in 364 matches and so if Kim collects eight more assists, he will be the second player to achieve the feat, the other being current Seongnam coach Shin Tae-yong who bagged 99 goals and 68 assists in 401 matches during his 13 season career.

But if Lee and Kim are about to write history, Gyeongnam FC goalkeeper Kim Byung-ji will be extending his own record every time he plays.

The 42-year-old is the oldest active player in the K-League. Since making his professional debut in 1992 he has played 568 matches.

As there are 44 matches this season, Kim, who played 33 matches last year, is expected to reach the milestone by the end of this season as long as he avoids injury.

He can also stretch his record number of clean sheets, which so far stands at 193.

“Both records go together whenever I play,” Kim said to Ilgan Sports yesterday.

“But if I have to pick one, I want to achieve 200 clean sheets first and then reach the 600 mark.”

As for club honors, Ulsan Hyundai and Pohang Steelers will again square off for the most victorious club in league history.

Ulsan, who became the first club in the K-League to surpass the 400-victory mark last season, has so far amassed 408 wins, but Pohang is only nine victories behind.

Interestingly, both teams will begin the new season by facing each other on Saturday at Pohang’s Steel Yard.

By Joo Kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]
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