Chunnam and Melbourne in action at Gwangyang Stadium
And so it came to pass that South Korean team Chunnam Dragons were playing Melbourne Victory of Australia to preserve their faint hopes of reaching the last eight of the Asian Champions League.
Melbourne had been even worse than the Qq Online Dragons in the competition but the A-League outfit at least had the excuse that it was their first time. Chunnam’s centred on injuries to their best players.
Chunnam’s home stadium
As excuses go, it was reasonable. The club was without three or four of its best players for every match. It doesn’t however, explain why with all but one of those stars recovered, coach Park Hang-seo chose to leave out four first-team regulars. They watched the action from the stands accompanied by dried squid and ricecakes – snacks that keep mouths busy for hours.
Korean international Kim Chi-woo wrestles with squid
There was some football to keep eyes occupied but neither team seemed especially interested playing in front of a tiny crowd in the unusual setting of Gwangyang stadium.
In the crowded country that is South Korea,few places are really remote but Gwangyang, located around the middle of the south coast, is a trek to get to -though a very pleasant one at that. The place itself is small. Basically Gwangyang is a huge steel works and container port with a small town attached.
looking behind the stadium
The stadium is on the edge of POSCO’s steelworks. With the huge complex to the right behind the stadium and lush mountains to the left, the compact arena makes for a great place to watch football.
It wasn’t so great last Wednesday but it was entertaining enough. Perhaps coach Park was right to field a weak team. Runaway leaders Gamba Osaka later won in Thailand to confirm their place as Group G’s representative in the quarter-finals.
Chunnam coach Park Hang-seo
- League Results 11/05/08
Sunday, 11 May
Urawa Reds now lead the table after a hard fought 1-0 win away to Kawasaki Frontale at Todoroki Stadium as Antlers lost by the same score at Shimizu S-Pulse.
Kyoto Sanga, after a decent start are quickly falling in to the danger zone. Their latest defeat 1-0 at bottom club JEF
JEF United 1 Kyoto Sanga 0
Kawasaki Frontale 0 Urawa Reds 1
Niigata Albirex 1 Iwata Jubilo 0
Nagoya Grampus 0 Vissel Kobe 0
Omiya Ardija 1 Sapporo Consodole 2
Oita Trinita 2 Tokyo Verdy 0
Shimizu S-Pulse 1 Kashima Antlers 0
FC Tokyo 0 Kashiwa Reysol 1
Gamba Osaka 2 Yokohama F Marinos 2
Urawa P12 Pts 26
Grampus P12 Pts 25
Frontale P12 Pts 20
FC Tokyo P12 Pts 20
Reysol P12 Pts 19
In J2, Sanfrecce still lead the league followed by Bellmare and Vegalta.
Thespa Kusatsu 1 Cerezo Osaka 3
Sagan Tosu 2 Tokushima Vortis 1
Montedio Yamagata 3 Mito Hollyhock 1
Avispa Fukuoka 0 Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3
Yokohama FC 1 Ehime FC 0
Vegalta Sendai 2 Ventforet Kofu 0
Roasso Kumamoto 0 FC Gifu 2
Shonan Bellmare 2 Sagan Tosu 1
Sanfrecce P12 Pts 26
Bellmare P12 Pts 24
Vegalta P12 Pts 22
Cerezo P12 Pts 22
Sagan P12 Pts 21
Yokohama FC P12 Pts 20