By Michael Church
HONG KONG (Reuters) – Cho Gue-sung scored twice in the first half as defending champions Jeonbuk Motors handed Daegu FC a 2-0 defeat on Sunday to secure a record-breaking eighth South Korean title in 12 seasons.
Needing a draw to be sure of finishing ahead of nearest challengers Ulsan Hyundai, Jose Morais’ team were rarely troubled by Daegu and by half time the destination of the title was beyond doubt.
Veteran striker Lee Dong-gook, playing in his final league game ahead of retirement, sought to add to his K-League record scoring tally early in the game, only to send his shot high into the stands.
But Cho made amends for Jeonbuk three minutes before the half hour mark when he headed in from six yards out after a pin-point cross from Choi Chul-soon ensured the striker completed a fine move with the opener.
With five minutes remaining in the half, Cho struck again, this time stroking his effort home after Modou Barrow had seen his initial shot blocked by the Daegu defence.
The title win is Jeonbuk’s eighth since their first K-League success in 2009 and sees them eclipse the record they shared with the club now known as Seongnam FC who, under the name Ilhwa Chunma, previously dominated Korean football in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Jeonbuk now qualify for group phase next year’s Asian Champions League alongside runners-up Ulsan, who defeated Gwangju FC 3-0 on Sunday, while third placed Pohang Steelers will feature in the qualifying rounds of the continental club championship.
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