For at least two of South Korea’s four representatives in the Asian Champions League, this week is make or break time. The quartet stands at the halfway point of the group stage with three games gone and three to go. With the top two in each group of four progressing to the second round, now is the time to start picking up points.
Interestingly, each of Korea’s four hopefuls occupies different positions in their respective groups. Suwon Bluewings are first in Group G, Pohang Steelers second in Group H, FC Seoul third in Group F and Ulsan Hyundai Horang-I fourth in Group E. All four are in with a chance of the next round but equally, all four could fail.
Much will depend on this week’s action when, for the second Data Hk successive matchday, the four Korean teams take on Chinese opposition. In football, China has something of an inferiority complex when it comes to South Korea. This stems from the fact that in 27 meetings between the two national teams at senior and Olympic level, Korea has never lost.
This gave rise to a term in the Chinese media called ‘Koreaphobia’ – the fear of playing Korea on the football pitch. As you may expect, it was something that was gleefully adopted by the Seoul press too.
Before every meeting of the respective national teams, the Chinese coach tells reporters how this time, the jinx will be lifted and the curse broken …