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Veteran midfielder closes in on milestones for goals, matches played

All News 09:26 February 26, 2021

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Feb. 26 (Yonhap) -- About a month from his 38th birthday but still going strong, veteran midfielder Yeom Ki-hun is on the verge of joining an exclusive club in South Korean football.

Just how exclusive? If Yeom scores four more goals for Suwon Samsung Bluewings, he will become the first player to record at least 80 goals and 80 assists in K League history. He'll be the founding member of the "80-80" club.

In this file photo from Sept. 13, 2020, Yeom Ki-hun of Suwon Samsung Bluewings takes a penalty against FC Seoul during a K League 1 match at Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Yeom, who has built a career out of making sharp crosses from the left wing, has already taken care of the assists department, with 110 helpers. No one in South Korean club football has set up more goals than Yeom, and he is 33 ahead of Lee Dong-gook, who retired last year.

Yeom scored three goals in 25 matches last season, when the schedule was cut short from 38 matches to 27 because of the coronavirus pandemic. With the league back up to the full, 38-match slate this year, Yeom should have ample opportunities to pick up at least four goals to make history.

Daegu FC's veteran forward Lee Keun-ho is eight assists shy of joining the 60-60 club. He has already scored 73 goals.

In this file photo from Sept. 13, 2020, Osmar of FC Seoul (R) makes a pass against Suwon Samsung Bluewings during a K League 1 match at Seoul World Cup Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Yeom is also four matches away from 400 for his career. There have been 17 players who've reached that milestone so far in the K League. In addition to Yeom, Choi Chul-soon of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (389 matches) and Oh Beom-seok of Pohang Steelers (379 matches) could also get to the 400 mark this season.

Elsewhere, FC Seoul defender Osmar is on the verge of becoming the first foreign player in the top division to appear in 200 matches.

The 32-year-old is on his second tour of duty with FC Seoul that began in 2019, following a first stint that lasted from 2014 to 2017.

Busan IPark have been relegated to the K League 2 for this season, but they're still in pursuit of a meaningful milestone. Sitting at 485 wins over their history, Busan could become only the fourth K League club to reach 500 victories.

Only Ulsan Hyundai FC (562 wins), Pohang Steelers (550) and FC Seoul (515) are ahead of Busan.

K League 2 clubs will play 36 matches, and 15 wins for Busan should put them in position to battle for a promotion to the top league.

In this file photo from Aug. 23, 2020, Choi Chul-soon of Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (L) takes a header against Sangju Sangmu during a K League 1 match at Jeonju World Cup Stadium in Jeonju, 240 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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