Lars Veldwijk sidelined as football returns abroad


Bafana Bafana star Lars Veldwijk watched on from the sidelines as his new club Jeonbuk Motors kicked off their domestic campaign with a win in South Korea.

On Thursday afternoon, in the first match in the country since the outbreak of the coronavirus, reigning K-League champions Jeonbuk opened their title defence with a 1-0 win over 10-man Suwon Bluewings.

READ: SA footballer tests positive for COVID-19

South Africa international Veldwijk was a notable absentee on the day after being ruled out through injury, and saw his spot in the starting XI taken by South Korea youth international Cho Kyu-seong for the match. 

READ: Bundesliga return date confirmed

After a goalless first half, Jeonbuk, who are managed by a former member of Jose Mourinho's coaching staff, Jose Morais, took the lead with less than 10 minutes of play remaining courtesy of a headed goal by substitute Lee Dong-gook.

The former Werder Bremen forward's strike, which came just minutes after Suwon's Terry Antonis was shown a straight red card, was enough to secure all three points for the record seven-time champions, who will next play Busan Park on Saturday, 16 May.

READ: How Yaya inspired Zungu to stardom

Veldwijk previously made his debut for the club in March, after joining from Sparta Rotterdam in January, when he started in a 2-2 AFC Champions League draw with Australia's Sydney FC.

Thursday's fixture took place behind closed doors at Jeonbuk's Jeonju World Cup Stadium, and saw players and coaching staff adhere to strict safety guidelines, including the avoidance of pre-match handshakes and wearing of face masks on the bench.