Lee responds to snub with 2 goals versus Bluewings

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Lee responds to snub with 2 goals versus Bluewings

Striker Lee Dong-gook responded to his exclusion from the national team with two goals for Jeonbuk Motors against the Suwon Bluewings on Wednesday, leading the team to a third consecutive win in the second half of the 2012 K-League season.

The Motors beat the Bluewings, 3-1, after Lee’s two goals in the first half. Park Hyun-beom got on the scoreboard for the visitors in the 25th minute, but Leonardo extended Jeonbuk’s lead with a goal in the 89th minute.

Earlier in the day, the national coach Choi Kang-hee announced the 23-member roster for Korea’s fourth World Cup qualifier against Iran next month, which did not include Lee for the first time since Choi took the helm of the national team in February. Choi, who was the Motors’ coach before assuming his current job, took issue with Lee’s slumping condition in recent months.

Before the Suwon match, Lee managed to score only two goals in eight matches, slowing down his 13-goal performance in the first half of the season.

With the two goals, the league’s most prolific player extended his career goal figure to 132. Lee broke the previous league record of 115, set by Woo Sung-ryong, in March. He also jumped to second place in the most goals in a season, with 17 goals.

“Not getting aboard the national team seems to have motivated me,” Lee, 33, was quoted as saying after the match by Inter Football, a local football news Web site.

“I was allowed to have the time to recharge myself, to look back.”

Lee Heung-sil, acting manager of the Motors, complimented the striker, saying he is able to score in any circumstances.

“If he shows a good performance with the club, I believe he will get aboard the national team again,” Lee said.

It was Jeonbuk’s third straight win. The team beat Jeju United 1-0 on Sept. 16 and then defeated Gyeongnam FC 2-1 on Sept. 22 to become the second club to reach its 20 victory of the season after FC Seoul.

FC Seoul also won their match on Wednesday against third-place Ulsan, extending their winning streak to fifth and maintaining their five-point lead over the Motors.

Seoul striker Dejan Damjanovic extended his league lead in goals with a winning goal for the visitors in the 90th minute.

By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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