Sunday, November 30, 2008

Never Leave Before the Final Whistle

I went to Sangam today to watch the K-League semi-final between FC Seoul (who I rooted for, of course) and Ulsan Hyundai Horang-i. Horang-i is the Korean for Tiger, which explains the stripes on the uniform, but not the fact that they're powder blue.

OTOH, FC Seoul have a fetching red and black scheme with gold piping but no discernable mascot. Their logo is a soccer ball that appears to be on fire. And the weather was cold. Brrrr cold. You could have burned a soccer ball to keep warm. Or at least the guy next to me could have, since he caught one of the promo balls the players kicked into the stands when the official warm-up began. Signed by the team and everything!

I paid 20,000 W for a seat (that's $15 these days) at midfield in the sixth row. Right behind the home bench. Amazing. For a playoff game, at that!

Anyway, the game was quite exciting, with FC Seoul controlling the first half and scoring about 20 minutes in; Ulsan picked up the pace and responded about the same point in the second half. Right after halftime, a Seoul player was stretchered off, only return at the next substitution opportunity. A 1 - 1 tie at the end of regulation resulted. Uh-oh, a repeat of the pair of ties during their regular season matches loomed.

However, one good feature of the K-League playoffs is a 30 minute fulltime extra period before advancing to a PK shootout. I hate PK shootouts. Probably because I've only ever won one. And a half-hour is a good, long time to determine who wants it more. Anyway ...

FC Seoul scored about 3 minutes into the OT and held the lead until they switched sides. The Tigers scored to tie it up again, but Seoul took the lead back 1:00 later with a throw-in play I totally saw coming, and would have filmed if I had batteries left. Throwin-backheel-cross-header. 3 - 2. Red and black scores again to make it 4 - 2. Seoul will play Suwon Bluewings in two-legged final to determine the Korean champions. To recap: first 90:00, 2 goals; last 30:00, 4 goals. Never leave a soccer game before the final whistle.

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