The regular season of K-League has ended, and patient FC Seoul made it to the final of the Championship play-offs, after taking the top spot that Gyeongnam and Jeju United have contested for week after week. Gyeongnam itself barely made it to the top six, while Jeju was on the second spot. International midfielder Kim Chi-Woo became Seoul’s savior after his last minute goal gave Seoul 2-1 advantage over Daejeon and four points clear off Jeju, which were held 0-0 by Incheon United.
Defending champions Jeonbuk entered the Championship by humiliating former giants Suwon 1-5 at home, with two goals from Kim Jee-Woong. Paraguayan striker Jose Ortigoza took Ulsan to the playoff after scoring two goals to Gwangju’s goal, while Seongnam and Gyeongnam drew 2-2 to take themselves to the next round. Seongnam, which will contest the AFC Champions League trophy this Saturday should take caution – they were able to score at the final minute, and was also able to lose their guard and got one back immediately after the kick-off.
Speaking of the cup, Al-Ittihad of Aleppo, Syria, won the AFC Cup after penalty shootout against Qadsia SC of Kuwait before 58 thousands men (hey, not bad) in Kuwait City. It will take long, long time before East Asia has a chance to win the cup, as it’s very hard for teams from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand (yes, modern Thai football is pretty sad) to compete with rivals from Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Syria.
The Asian Games’ football tournament has begun in Guangzhou, China. Japan faced a very hostile crowd and received heavy escort and not many Japanese dared to come to the stadium. The final result was a sound beating of the host, with goals coming from Ryohei Yamazaki (Jubilo), Keisuke Nagai (Fukuoka Univ.), and Daisuke Suzuki.
It was a great show by the Southeast Asians: Malaysia won over Kyrgyzstan 2-1, Vietnam defeated favorite Bahrain 3-1, Singapore held stronger Qatar 0-0, and Thailand destroyed Pakistan 6-0. Otherwise, South Korea lost to its poorer and angrier brother North Korea 1-0.
Asian midfielders sparked in Europe: Park Ji-Sung scored two goals as troubled Manchester United skimmed past Wolverhampton 2-1, and Shinji Kagawa opened Dortmund’s 4-0 shelling of Hannover. Finally, Park Chu-Young scored two goals in Monaco’s comfortable 4-0 against Nancy – it was the second win for Monaco’s after twelve games.
In Australia, Brisbane won the big match against Adelaide with a mean score – 4-0. Costa Barbarouses made his second brace of the week, while Central Coast trailed in third with 1-0 win over North Queensland. In Japan, Kashima defeated league leaders Nagoya 1-0 thanks to its talisman, Marquinhos. Gamba Osaka failed to catch up with Kashima as they were held 1-1 by Tokyo.
Indonesia has its first foreign-born international player. Former Uruguayan striker Cristian Gonzalez has taken the Indonesian citizenship, and is expected to play for Indonesia in the Southeast Asian international tournament, the AFF Cup, in December.