JEJU WEEKLY

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Jeju bounces backTeam goes into break at second
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승인 2010.05.26  17:31:57
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Sport is not about the setbacks but about how you deal with them. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” “It’s about winning the war not the battle.” These types of maxim get trotted out every time an athlete or sports team loses, especially if losing isn’t something they are accustomed to. Jeju United suffered its first defeat of the season on April 10 away to Ulsan, going down one-nil to an early Ortigoza penalty.

How would the team respond, was a constantly asked question. Would it wither and die like a wildebeest calf left in the heat of the Serengeti or retreat and capitulate like Marc Anthony after Actium, eventually to fall on their own sword?

No! Jeju roared back, not intimidated nor chastened by defeat, but spurred on to greater heights. Since its loss to Ulsan, Jeju has won five on the bounce (one in the FA Cup) and are now second in the league, two points off the top and the only team to have only one defeat against its name.

The first step in this sterling comeback was a 2-1 victory over traditionally strong Suwon. This was another assured performance from Jeju, which dominated play and with two goals in the second half from Bae Ki Jong and Kim Eun Jung, looked firmly in control. It was only some sloppy defending that allowed an 84th-minute goal for Suwon that ensured a frenetic finish.

Next up was a FA Cup away trip to lower league Busan-Kyotong that resulted in a comfortable 3-1 victory. Back to Jeju and the impenetrable fortress that the World Cup Stadium has proved to be so far this season. A 2-1 victory over the Chunnam Dragons had more than a whiff of controversy about it.Jeju took the lead in the 15th minute with a goal by Lee Hyun Ho. Eleven minutes later Chunnam were level through a Kim Seung Hyun penalty. Then, at the 19th minute mark, Chunnam got a penalty that seemed less clear. Chunnam players proceeded to berate the referee in the manner of an Alex Ferguson. The Chunnam manager left the dugout for his protests. None of this affected the concentration of Lee Sang Hyup, who coolly dispatched the winner and sealed another excellent victory for Jeju.

On Children’s Day, Jeju managed their fourth win in a row, a one-nil defeat over Daegu courtesy of an excellent swerving strike from Koo Ja Cheol in the 16th minute. Jeju should have had at least one if not two more though, as Daegu was reduced to nine men late in the game whilst also pushing for an equalizer allowing Jeju to counterattack at will. The team couldn’t grab another but this time it didn’t matter, but one small criticism of Jeju is that it needs to be more clinical, especially when playing stronger teams that may not be as accommodating as Daegu.

Their last win in this fantastic run was a 5-2 away spanking of Asian champions, Pohang Stealers. Lee Sang Hyup, Koo Ja Cheol (2), Kim Eun Jung and Santos Junior all chipped with goals to send Jeju to second two points behind Ulsan with a game in hand going. The teams now have a break from the league until after the World Cup with Jeju looking very strong.

Another criticism has been the poor attendance at home games. The team is doing the island proud this year and deserves the residents of Jeju getting out there and giving them an atmosphere conducive to a football match, not ladies’ afternoon tennis. A mere 2,000 spectators per game is pretty pathetic.

Despite that poor support, Jeju went from strength to strength after defeat. Ten games into the season and it looks like the team has a serious chance in the league.






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