Despite being in the midst of an injury crisis, Jeju United have made a very promising start to the 2009 football season. They enter May just behind the top six and with good prospects of making the Peace Cup quarter finals.
Brazilian head coach Arthur Bernardes completed some astute signings during the close season including that of Korean international defender Kang Min-Soo from Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and popular attacker Bang Seung-Hwan from Incheon United. Early signs suggest Bernardes has put together a squad which has a genuine chance of challenging for a play-off place in this season’s K-League.
After defeat on the opening day of the season to new boys Gangwon, Jeju hit back in style by winning their next two games, including one at 2008 K-League champions Suwon. Whilst an injury crisis in defence and midfield have led to several defeats in April, Jeju United enter May just one point off the play-off positions.
That’s not to say April was without its successes. The club celebrated the 300th win in its history on April 22 thanks to a 4-1 victory over Gwangju Sangmu Phoenix in the Peace Cup. New Brazilian signing Oveira showed great potential as he scored twice and generally caused mayhem in the Gwangju penalty area.
May will be a key month for Jeju as they have the opportunity to make progress in three competitions. In the K-League they will be anxious to get back to winning ways by beating Jeonbuk, Pohang and Daejeon. The club will also progress to the Peace Cup quarter finals if it can take at least four points off midweek ties against Gyeongnam and Jeonbuk. Finally, the FA Cup first round will be held this month with Jeju United entertaining National League minnows Gangneung City. The winners will face either Busan I Park or Ulsan Mipo Dockyard in the final 16.
Jeju United play most of their home games at the beautiful World Cup Stadium in Seogwipo, perhaps most famous for its staging of the Brazil V China and Germany V Paraguay matches at the 2002 World Cup. As a first class sporting venue, it makes an ideal backdrop to Jeju United matches.
For those who live in Jeju City, the club provides a free bus to all games. The bus departs from the bus terminal, City Hall and Halla College areas of the city. Some Saturday games are played at the Jeju Athletics Stadium situated just behind the Jeju City bus terminal.
With six key games ahead, May should be an exciting month for Jeju United fans and should show the potential of Arthur Bernardes’ 2009 squad.
Sat 2nd May Jeonbuk (h) 15:00 K-League (Jeju Athletics Stadium, Jeju City) Tues 5th May Gyeongnam (a) 15:00 Peace Cup Sat 9th May Pohang (a) 15:30 K-League Wed 13th May Gangneung City (h) Time/Location TBC, FA Cup Sun 17th May Daejeon (h) 15:00 K-League (World Cup Stadium, Seogwipo) Wed 27th May Jeonbuk (h) 19:00 Peace Cup (World Cup Stadium, Seogwipo)
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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