▲ Incheon takes on Jeju United at a July 24 match. Photo courtesy Jeju United FC
Seems a long time ago doesn’t it? That night in June when Uruguay’s Luis Suarez broke everyone’s heart with a curling 80th minute shot into the corner of the South Korean net. The despondency, the hurt, the face paint washed away in a shower of tears; drinking outside Family Marts to dull the earth-shattering soul-crushing horror of it all.
But — and here I’m going to let you into a little known secret —there is life after the World Cup. It may be greyer, less sunny; a more depressing life it may be, but still there is life. Though, there is at least one bright spot on the horizon to help brighten the days, bright orange in fact. The Jeju United.
Since coming back from the World Cup break, Jeju have continued their impressive form, albeit with a couple of blips. First up was an away defeat to Gyeongnam in the K-League Cup, the less important of the two domestic cups. Jeju were unlucky conceding a last minute equalizer in normal time and going on to lose on penalties. Let’s be honest though, with their new found league form, such Mickey Mouse competitions could now be viewed as a distraction for Jeju.
Next it was back to the all important K-League and Jeju bounced back in the best way possible with a 5-0 crushing of Gangwon. The only times that the words crushing and Jeju have inhabited the same sentence before Jeju have been the metaphorical tin can. Not anymore though, with goals from Kim Eun Jung, Gu Ja Cheol, Hong Jeong Ho and two from Santos Junior put paid to lowly Gangwon and sent Jeju to the top of the league.
Next up was the FA cup which saw Jeju prevail 1-0 over Ulsan keeping up hopes of a domestic double. Back to the league and Jeju secured an excellent 3-2 away victory at Incheon. Jeju were down 2-1 with as little as 6 minutes to go but an equalizer from Santos Junior and Eun Jung Kim’s second of the game in the 90th minute gave Jeju another precious win.
Reality reared its ugly head again in the following game a 2-0 away defeat to Seoul which knocked Jeju off the top and down into third. However this was only Jeju’s second league defeat of the season and with exactly half the season gone Jeju are well placed for a serious tilt at the title.
The league is ridiculously tight though with only three points separating the top six teams making for what should be a much more exciting championship than the banal two horse slog that is about to begin in the supposed “home of football” England.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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