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Kinclaven Second Fiddle to Song

Friday afternoon’s clash between Kinclaven and AS Uijeongbu 07 for top spot in the HTU Managers federation ladder featured a little bit of everything in a match that required extra time to decide.

A quick goal for Uijeongbu delighted the away fans but the team conceded twice to find themselves on the back foot midway through the second half. Fortunately, Gim-chi Kim scored his second of the night to put the two sides level again and it was 宋 (Song) 紹正 (Shaozheng) who scored a brace in extra time to award Au7 the win to preserve the club’s status as best in the federation.

Derek ‘Dorky’ Urquhart was deservedly voted MOTM for Kinclaven and local pundits also recognized the impact the 28 year old Scottish player had on proceedings. Urquhart was unlucky to miss two golden opportunities in front of goal but no sign of his nasty personality or temperamental nature was visible despite things not going his way on the pitch; he remained a true professional throughout the full 120 minutes. It’s a shame that not everyone in Kinclaven colors shares the same philosophy.

Jimmy MacShannachan & Garry Goodburn: Terrible

It came as a shock to many to see that Kinclaven coach Matthias Mader was encouraging his players to dive and, apart from the two goals and Urquhart’s near misses, their only noteworthy achievement was being cautioned by the referee for unsporting behavior. Jimmy MacShannachan and Garry Goodburn were the perfect example of the Korean expression ‘Hollywood action’ to the point one might assume that they were trying out for a part in the next war blockbuster. Is that the state of Scottish football these days — that diving and poor sportsmanship are the main tools a team uses to achieve victory? Honestly, we expected better from a team competing in Division II.


French Class

Between experienced managers, highly-skilled players, and demanding fans there’s not much room for mistakes at the top of the footballing pyramid. AS Uijeongbu 07 may have been knocked out of the Korea Cup on Wednesday but there was no time to wallow in disappointment — the club is still fighting for the K-League title and also received notice this afternoon that Scottish side Kinclaven have decided to take advantage of the club’s weakened state to challenge Au7 for first place in the HTUM federation ladder.

With the ladder match on Friday and a K-League fixture against the league leaders on Sunday, staff at AS Uijeongbu recognized the need to act quickly to secure the services of a replacement keeper able to cover for the injured Eran Maman. Club manager paquebot spent most of the evening following his side’s cup defeat going through the transfer list and eventually picked out seven names as potential targets.

AS Uijeongbu 07 met some resistance from an unlikely source, however, when a quick bid on French stopper Nicholas Bigot put Au7 in an unexpected battle with Danish side Vi flæsker jer for the 27 year old’s signature. A third manager later joined the fray and Vi flæsker jer dropped out before the bidding ended, leaving Au7 as the side that finally got the young talent to put pen to paper.

The club has high hopes for Bigot and his first appearance for Uijeongbu is expected to be in the ladder match against Kinclaven. Can the Frenchman lead his new team to victory, perhaps with a bit of added panache as well? Find out Friday at 12:46.

Nicolas Bigot and his Citroën DS


The Pain of Defeat

Eran Maman

Wednesday morning saw AS Uijeongbu 07 make the short trip to Seoul for the club’s much-anticipated Korea Cup semi-final clash against FCFC Ulsan. In addition to progressing to the final stages of the cup the two sides are also competing for top honors in the K-League, with FCFC Ulsan currently second and AS Uijeongbu 07 sitting third with an eye on the possibility of earning a double come the end of the season.

Au7 has struggled in their previous fixtures against FCFC Ulsan — drawing 1:1 at home in the league earlier this season and controversially losing 5:2 in the final of the Korea Cup two seasons ago — which added an additional layer to the atmosphere of the match. Training took a backseat to winning and several of the club’s best players found themselves playing their second match of the week as head coach Hyun-Seok Baek focused on exorcising memories of the previous final and progressing to the last stage of the current edition.

However, it seems Uijeongbu were unable to escape the demons of seasons past; the team immediately found themselves under pressure and conceded four goals in the opening 15 minutes. Despite once more controlling play in midfield the Au7 players were unable to capitalize on their advantage and recorded a meager 6 attempts at goal compared to the 9 chances generated by FCFC Ulsan. Former Korea Cup top scorer Güçlü Püser has been serving as the team’s sports psychologist for the past several seasons but may soon face some strong questions about the effectiveness of his work given the poor goal-scoring record of the team in important matches.

Güçlü Püser won’t be the only one working late into the night though; club medic Bum Shin will also be hard at work doing everything he can to bring Eran Maman back to match fitness as quickly as possible. The Israeli keeper was unfortunate to pick up a collarbone injury 79 minutes into the match that has left him unavailable for the next four weeks — an agonizing length of time to be without such a vital player.

AS Uijeongbu 07 has a five point lead over traditional rivals Jinzerg in the K-League standings but are themselves four points behind leaders Gangnam_ Style with a match against the league leaders this Sunday. Back-up keeper Temuder Vachir has served the club faithfully for nearly 13 seasons but there’s understandable concern that his skills are no longer adequate for the country’s top division, leading to rumors that the club may be seeking a short-term replacement for Maman.