Suwon set to terrorise Central Coast
The domestic season is yet to kick off in South Korea but the Mariners' AFC Champions League opponents possess a spark that could ignite Wednesday's game in Gosford.
If there-s one thing Central Coast Mariners should avoid doing against South Korean side Suwon Bluewings this week, it-s give away free-kicks anywhere in their own half.
Lining up in defence for the Bluewings is one of the most destructive free-kick takers in the world.
Eddy Bosnar might not be a familiar name to some A-League fans but the Sydney-born defender has quietly made a career for himself in some of world football-s more exotic leagues.
That was until May 2012, when the veteran stopper smashed home an astonishing free-kick against Ulsan Hyundai, which clocked in at 123 kilometres per hour, sparking headlines worldwide.
And if fans think Bosnar is dangerous in the recently renamed KLeague Classic, just imagine what he-s like when he-s angry.
For years rumours have abounded of a falling out between Bosnar and Graham Arnold when they were player and coach at Northern Spirit in the late 1990s, and in the past Bosnar has pointed the finger at Arnold for his exclusion from the Socceroos.
Whatever the reasons for Bosnar-s continued omission, there-s no doubt he can do some serious damage from free-kicks.
The lanky defender perfected his technique at J. League clubs JEF United and Shimizu S-Pulse and while there-s every chance one of his long-range missiles might end up floating in Brisbane Water, when he gets it right there-s almost no stopping his blistering set pieces.
If the Mariners thought the prospect of facing a fired-up Aussie was tough to deal with, it gets worse for the Gosford side.
Suwon-s star recruit for this season made headlines around the world when he openly wept upon hearing the North Korean national anthem at the 2010 World Cup.
His name is Jong Tae-Se and the fiery striker has signed up for Suwon from Bundesliga side 1.FC Köln, becoming just the fourth North Korean to join a South Korean team.
Jong was actually born in Japan and started his professional career at J. League outfit Kawasaki Frontale, for whom he featured against the Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium back in 2009.
And who should have scored the opening goal for Kawasaki in that 5-0 rout? None other than Jong Tae-Se.
Suwon have got a few other handy foreigners in the form of the towering Montenegrin striker Dzenan Radoncic and 2009 AFC Champions League winner Stevica Ristic, while on loan Brazilian striker Rodrigo Pimpao has been around the block at a couple of J. League clubs over the years.
And in home-grown talents Jung Sung-Ryong and Kim Do-Heon, Suwon possess a couple more players who could prove decisive in Gosford.
Goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong is firmly established as South Korea-s No.1, while former West Brom man Kim Do-Heon will boss the midfield with his industry and incisive passing game.
There-s also little chance of the Bluewings being overawed by the occasion as the Korean giants are one of the most storied clubs in the competition.
They won back-to-back Asian Club Championships before the competition transformed into the ACL and they-re one of the few South Korean clubs to have a large football-loving supporter base.
In new coach Seo Jung-Won they have a famous name looking to prove himself in the managerial arena in what is his first posting as a K-League head coach.
The club from just south of Seoul will prove no pushovers and their last ACL jaunt in 2011 saw them reach the semi-final stage.
That ended in the ignominy of one of the most vicious brawls ever seen in Asian football when eventual champions Al Sadd beat the South Koreans in the fight and the tie.
It may have been a shameful night but it certainly brought the ACL some exposure.
The Mariners will hope they don-t leave themselves exposed when they face up to one of the competition-s heavyweights at Bluetongue Stadium.