Anyang, or more accurately Boemgye, was the destination for this week’s fiesta of K-League. Tonight was unusual in that it was a Friday night kick-off due to the National holiday for Memorial day. Originally I’d thought about taking in my first ever rounders game in order to see what all the fuss was about but luckily came to my senses and K-League won my favour.
The day started when I met a friend at Noksapyeong Stn (near my home) for the walk to Samgakji to take line 4 to Beomgye. Noksapyeong to Samgakji for those who don’t know is a 15min max walk but in the heat we had no choice but to stop halfway for a cheeky can of Cass to keep us cool. We got to Samgakji just in time to miss the train to Beomgye and so had the joy of standing on a non air-conditioned platform for 10mins waiting on the next one. Lesson learned.
Once at Beomgye we had a 25 min or so walk to the stadium and so obviously another refreshment was called upon to see us through. We stopped at the nearest GS25 and sat down to a few ‘big’ Cass. We were soon interrupted by a rather proud and eager father who claimed his son wanted to speak ‘English’ to my friend. Unfortunately the son didn’t share his father’s raw enthusiasm and a few awkward “Hellos” later and it was back to the job in hand of finishing our Cass.
Anyang Stadium is not going to win Korea’s finest any time soon. Like Bucheon, it too has an incredibly unused running track but unlike Bucheon they decided that a roof was in fact optional. I haven’t been in a stadium without a roof since the dark days of traveling to such romantic places as Boghead and Den’s Park. As well as the open air memories Anyang also brought back memories of SKY TV’s long running football program ‘Dream Team’ as they play in a purple strip strikingly similar to that of Harchester United, the fictional team from the series.
As we entered we pretty much had our choice of seats as the stadium wasn’t exactly bursting with fans. Goyang had brought their usual band of 2 girls and 1 guy (he holds the drum, they sing), and Anyang had their usual band of passionate fans behind the goal to the left of where we were sitting. The fans may not be the most vocal but they seem to have more banners than any other fans in the whole of the K-League. My favourite was the ‘You Go, We Go’ banner with about 100 fans behind it, I’m guessing the rest of them ‘Went’ somewhere else.
Not for the first time this season the match started painfully slow, after about 20 mins I was beginning to wonder if there might be something in that rounders lark that I should’ve investigated. There wasn’t really much to write home about in the first half and the 0-0 scoreline when the whistle sounded was made even worse by the realization that the 2-for-1 Cheetos I’d purchased before the game had been consumed. It was all to change though as a long walk to the bathroom was welcomed by the sight of a temporary convenience store and the promise of more Cheetos goodness. It should be noted at this point that the Anyang team of old had the nickname ‘The Cheetahs’ and the fans used to sport a banner with a Cheetah *ahem* ‘getting friendly’ with a chicken in relation to their rivalry with Suwon Bluewings.
The second half started with promise as Anyang looked up for it, they seemed to have found their feet in the game at last and started probing and pushing Goyang. A goal was always coming and in the 58th minute Anyang took the lead through Joo Hyun Jae who turned home the opener after some clever play from midfield. Even though they looked good for the lead nothing really prepared for what was to come. A few minutes after the goal the section I was sitting in got a treat as we received a visit from what appeared to be the new Anyang mayor. Now the cynic in me could’ve questioned if he would have made said appearance had Anyang not scored but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.
The visit of the mayor no doubt had the desired effect and it wasn’t long until we were treated to a ‘goal of the season’ contender. With the ball seemingly out of danger Kim Jae Woong picked it up inside his own half, beat his man and unleashed a quite incredible shot from just inside the halfway line. The goalkeeper was completely deceived and probably embarrassed as the ball zipped past him and into the top corner. It was an amazing goal and it put Anyang 2-0 up and on easy street.
Sensing Goyang were there for the taking, Anyang continued to pour forward in numbers and within 10 minutes it was 3-0. An inch-perfect cross into the box was met perfectly on the volley by Ka Soel Hyun. What a turnaround from the dismal and disappointing first half, suddenly coming to Anyang made perfect sense. There was still time for one more goal as Roniere, one of Goyang’s two Brazilian’s pulled one back with an unstoppable shot from just outside the area. It was a pretty sweet strike and was described as ‘a proper FIFA goal’ by my friend beside me. The game finished 3-1 to Anyang and a good day out was had by all, with perhaps the exception of the Goyang contingent.
As we made our way back to Beomgye Stn much of the talk was about Kim’s halfway line goal and obviously the visit from the mayor. We found our favourite Galbi restaurant midway down the Beomgye strip and settled down for a night of meat, fine beer and finer chat. World issues such as the upcoming World Cup, Scottish Independence, benefit fraud and which member of Girls Day looks hottest with brown hair were all resolved. Next up is Bucheon v Suwon on the 14th.
Other K-League Challenge Results
Daejeon 1 Bucheon 0 – Daejeon continue their march to the title.
Ansan v Suwon Postponed
Gwangju 1 Gangwon 1 – Both teams stretch to three games without a victory.
Daegu 2 Chungju 1 – Chunju remained rooted at the bottom and look unable to buy a victory.