Former neighbours, forever foes

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Suwon Bluewings and FC Seoul may no longer share a base, but they continue to share an intense rivalry. FIFA.com takes a closer look at a fixture that fixates an entire nation.

The origins
Suwon Bluewings and FC Seoul, who were previously known as Anyang Cheetahs, were destined to become the arch-rivals from 1996. That is when the former became the ninth member of the K-League and the latter moved their home from Seoul to Anyang following the league's decision to decentralise the congested capital area. That initiated the era of the Jijidae derby, named after a hill on the Anyang-Suwon border.

However, their rivalry was not too intense until Cho Kwang-Rae, a ex-assistant coach at Suwon, was handed the Anyang reins at the start of the 1999 season and former Cheetahs marksman Seo Jung-Won moved in the opposite direction following two-year stint at Strasbourg.

The two teams contested the campaign's traditional curtain-raiser, the Super Cup, on 20 March, when Anyang supporters set fire to jerseys of Seo. However, it only provoked him into a two-goal performance that inspired the league champions to a 5-1 victory over the cup holders. He remains the only player to have scored for both sides in the fixture.

Facts and figuresSuwon hold the edge in encounters between the two sides, having won 22, drawn 14 and lost 18 of their 54 games in domestic competitions. The Bluewings have also seized more silverware, after a 3-2 aggregate victory over FC Seoul last term earned them their fourth K-League crown - one more than their arch-rivals.

The fixture has always enticed huge crowds and the record was set on 8 April 2007, when 55,397 fans flocked to the Seoul World Cup Stadium. The visitors spoiled the party, however, with Korea Republic youngster Ha Tae-Goon scoring the only goal in the first half. The success was even sweeter for Suwon, given that a fortnight earlier they had gone down 4-1 to FC Seoul in a League Cup game, in which Park Chu-Young became the first player to post a hat-trick in the derby.

Tales of derbies pastThe nine-goal thriller in the 2000 League Cup still goes down as one of the most dramatic matches in Korea Republic's history. With the game tied 3-3 at half-time, Suwon established a two-goal cushion post-interval but had to withstand a nervy finish after their rivals made it 5-4 with minutes remaining.

The biggest game between the clubs ended a draw, and it was not played on Korean soil. Having fought out a 0-0 stalemate in the group stage of the Asian Club Championship 2001/02, Anyang and Suwon met again in the final at the Azadi in Tehran. After 120 minutes failed to produce a goal, the Bluewings went on to defend their continental crown thanks to a 4-2 penalty shootout success.

Six years later, they crossed swords in another final - this time with the K-League prize at stake. Suwon had beaten their one-time neighbours 2-0 twice on the road, with FC Seoul responding with back-to-back 1-0 away wins during the regular season. But the decider itself went according to the script of the Bluewings, who drew 1-1 at their enemies' home before a 2-1 win in front of their own supporters.

The rivalry todayAnyang left for Seoul just before the 2004 season, and grabbed all three points against Suwon at their new home that May. However, Cha Bum-Kun's side had the last laugh by winning their third K-League title that year.

The sides drew four times in 2006, when Baek Ji-Hoon was the subject of another high-profile transfer between the clubs. The move energised the career of the Korea Republic midfielder, who, having scored only four goals in as many years, netted five time for the Bluewings in the second half of the campaign.

The arrival of Senol Gunes at FC Seoul the following year added a new dimension to this rivalry, as the Turkish coach revealed his priority to play attacking football. Although his first year ended in bitter disappointment, with his charges narrowly missing out on a play-off berth, Gunes has thereafter successfully transformed the capital club into a force to be reckoned with.

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