Korean great Lee helps Jeonbuk to title in final game

·2 min read
Lee Dong-gook (C) is the all-time top-scorer in the K-League and Asian Champions League
Lee Dong-gook (C) is the all-time top-scorer in the K-League and Asian Champions League

Celebrated South Korea striker Lee Dong-gook bowed out as a K-League champion for the eighth time as Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors beat Daegu FC 2-0 to seal the title in his final game.

The 41-year-old played the full 90 minutes in his 548th K-league match, but did not add to his record tally of 228 goals in the competition.

Lee, who played for South Korea at two World Cups, is also the joint all-time top-scorer in the Asian Champions League with 37 goals, a record he shares with Daegu's Dejan Damjanovic.

Sunday's win saw Jeonbuk take their fourth consecutive K-League title, and eighth in total, all won with Lee. They finished three points ahead of Ulsan Hyundai after a season that was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Our goal all along has been to win the championship and we all came together as one to accomplish this goal," said coach Jose Morais, former assistant to Jose Mourinho at Porto, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea.

"I am happy with the way things played out," he added.

Lee announced his retirement last week, blowing the whistle on a 23-year career.

"I want to thank my teammates for making this a great ending to my career," he said at a ceremony after Sunday's match, when Hyundai Motors chairman Chung Eui-sun presented him with a plaque and a minivan.

"I hope Jeonbuk will continue to win championships without me," he added.

Lee made his professional debut in 1998 as a 19-year-old with Pohang Steelers, with whom he scored 11 goals in 24 matches.

His career trophy haul includes the eight domestic championships and one title in the Asian Champions League, where he made 75 appearances.

Lee played for South Korea at the 1998 and 2010 World Cups and is tied for fourth among the Taeguk Warriors' scorers, with 33 international goals.

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