Getting to know Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma

WHILE the Central Coast Mariners have a vital Hyundai A-League Finals Series encounter with Brisbane Roar coming up this Saturday 31 March, the team is also acutely aware that just around the corner is an AFC Champions League Matchday 3 meeting with the K-League’s Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma.

WHILE the Central Coast Mariners have a vital Hyundai A-League Finals Series encounter with Brisbane Roar coming up this Saturday 31 March, the team is also acutely aware that just around the corner is an AFC Champions League Matchday 3 meeting with the K-League-s Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma.

With just seven days to the crunch clash at Central Coast Stadium, we at ccmariners.com.au deemed it time to delve into coach Shin Tae-Yong-s side to discover a little more about Korean visitors.

AFC Champions League Matchday 3 Central Coast Mariners vs. Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma Central Coast Stadium - 7:30pm kick-off Tickets: Please CLICK HERE to purchase tickets to the match. Twitter: Join the match conversation on Twitter! The official match hash-tag is #ACLccmseo

Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma Winners of the Asian Club Championship in 1995, Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma were crowned continental Champions for a second time in 2010 when they beat Iranian side Zobahan 3-1 in the AFC Champions League final.

The victory in Tokyo helped to banish the painful memories of their previous appearance in the AFC Champions League final in 2004 when they lost 6-3 on aggregate after a stunning 5-0 home reverse against Al Ittihad of Saudi Arabia in the second leg.

The club suffered further heartbreak in 2007 when they went out in the semi-finals after losing to eventual winners Urawa Red Diamonds in a penalty shootout.

Despite their victory in 2010, Seongnam were unable to defend their title last year after failing to finish in the top three in the K-League. The seven-time Korean league winners slipped even further in 2011, dropping to 10th and missing the play-offs. But victory in the Korean FA Cup secured them a spot in the AFC Champions League once again.

Hailing from the Seoul satellite city of Seongnam, Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma was originally founded as Ilhwa Chunma Football Club in 1989. They have won a record seven Korean league titles, two Korean FA Cups and three League Cups.

Domestic form Seongnam have started their 2012 K-League campaign slowly with just four points from their opening four matches so far. Up until Sunday, the team sat right near the relegation zone, and while it is early days in Korea-s top flight, a 2-1 away win against fellow strugglers Gangwon will have lifted spirits on the domestic front in the chase for pacesetters FC Seoul.

2012 AFC Champions League form On Matchday 1 of the AFC Champions League, Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma denied Nagoya Grampus all three points in Japan. Indeed, the Korean FA Cup holders grabbed a sensational last-ditch equaliser at Mizuho Athletic Stadium in a 2-2 draw.

Brazilian striker Hevertinho had given Seongnam the lead in their first AFC Champions League match since they won the 2010 final in Tokyo but a penalty by Josh Kennedy and Mu Kanazaki-s neat finish in the 74th minute put the Japanese side ahead.

But Hevertinho scored his second of the match with a brilliant overhead kick in the third minute of stoppage time to ensure that the spoils were shared.

In Seongnam-s next assignment, the team drew 1-1 with China-s Tianjin Teda at the Tancheon Sports Complex, Korea. Sang-woon Han-s 14th minute effort was cancelled out by Teda defender Lucian Goian-s 68th minute equaliser.

Coach Name: Shin Tae-yong Born: 11 October 1970 (41) Nationality: Korean Having lifted the Asian Club Championship in 1995 with the club then known as Ilhwa Chunma, Shin Tae-yong became the first man to win continental titles as both a player and a head coach when Seongnam clinched the AFC Champions League two years ago. After he retired as a player in 2005 because of an ankle problem, the Korean served as an assistant coach at Australian side Queensland Roar before he returned to manage Seongnam in 2009.

Star Players Hwang Jae-won Hwang Jae-won began his professional career in 2004 with Pohang Steelers, a club where he enjoyed much success over six and a half seasons. He helped Sergio Farias- side to win the K-League in 2007 and the Korean FA Cup the following year before he captained them to victory in the 2009 AFC Champions League final.

A nominee for the AFC Player of the Year award in 2009, he joined Suwon Bluewings the following year and helped to shore up their defence as they won the Korean FA Cup. The 30-year-old Korea Republic international signed for Seongnam during the off-season after he missed much of the 2011 campaign because of a knee injury.

Yoon Bit-garam The captain of the Korea Republic team at the FIFA U17 World Cup in 2007, Yoon Bit-garam made his professional debut for Gyeongnam in 2010, winning the K-League-s Rookie of the Year award that season and being named in the league-s best XI the following year.

Regarded as one of the brightest young talents in his country, the 21-year-old midfielder shot to international fame at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup when he came on as a substitute against Iran in the quarter-finals and scored a spectacular injury time winner.

Hervertinho Two goals in his first ever AFC Champions League appearance - one a bicycle kick in injury time to earn his team a point - instantly endeared Hervertinho, full name Heverton Duraes Coutinho Alves, to the Seongnam faithful.

With a striking, shortly cut blonde head of hair, the 26-year-old attacking midfielder is one to keep an eye out for.

Nagoya Grampus vs. Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma AFC Champions League Matchday 1 Highlights