Football Derby Matches in Korean Football League

Lim, Do Yeub

In Korea, there is a professional football league called the ‘K-league’. According to data of 2020 from the International Federation of Football History and Statistics, K-league ranked the world’s top 20th football league. It is the highest rank in Asia. Popular derby matches are one of those which make K-league competitive. There are many famous derby matches in the K-league. I would like to talk about three famous derby matches.


First one is ‘Super Match’. It is a match between FC Seoul and Suwon Samsung Bluewings. They are both considered as outstanding teams since the past. FC Seoul won the league 6 times, and Suwon Samsung won the league 4 times. Since the distance between Seoul and Suwon is not very far, supporters from each team always support enthusiastically when the match is held. The stadium has always been full of supporters. It is considered the best derby match in K-league. Until now, they had 85 matches in total, and FC Seoul is slightly leading with 32 wins, whereas Suwon Samsung won FC Seoul 30 times.

From Chosunilbo

Second one is the ‘Eastern Coast Derby’. It is a match between Ulsan Hyundai and Pohang Steelers. The name is decided because Ulsan and Pohang are both located at the eastern coast. It is the oldest derby match in K-league. Ulsan Hyundai won the league 2 times and Asian Champions League 2 times. Pohang Steelers won the league 5 times and Asian Champions League 3 times. The match became more famous when they had a final match in 2013. The winner of that match became the champion, and Pohang became the champion with a winning goal in extra time. This match is considered as the most dramatic match that explains the excitement of the Eastern Coast Derby. Pohang won Ulsan 64 times, and Ulsan won Pohang 59 times until now.

From Dailysportskorea

The last one is ‘Hyundai Derby’. It is a match between Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Ulsan Hyundai. As we can know from names of the teams, their main sponsors are both Hyundai. That’s why it is called ‘Hyundai Derby’. Since Jeonbuk was not a really good team until 2005, people didn’t think Jeonbuk was a rival of Ulsan. However, after Jeonbuk defeated Ulsan in the 2006 Asian Champions League semi-final and became the champion, Jeonbuk started to become an outstanding team. Jeonbuk won the K-league 8 times, and all of them are within 12 years from now. Jeonbuk is undoubtedly the strongest team in Korea now. Ulsan is also a very good team, but has ranked 2nd place two years in a row in 2019 and 2020, while Jeonbuk won the league in both years slightly leading Ulsan. Ulsan fans are really eager for defeating Jeonbuk and becoming a champion. Jeonbuk is leading Ulsan with 42 wins, while Ulsan defeated Jeonbuk total 40 times.

Enthusiastic fan culture is one of the most important factors for the development of sports. If there is an opportunity to watch one of the derby matches, why don’t you visit a stadium and experience amazing football culture in Korea?

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