More domestic action in the books. The 2nd round of the K League Classic, matchday 3 for the AFC Champions League, and the opening week of the W-K League.
K League Classic
Defending champions Pohang remain winless on the season, Jeonbuk and Ulsan remain the teams to beat, and Seoul with another sluggish start.
Incheon United 0 – 1 Jeonbuk Motors
Busan IPark 3 – 1 Pohang Steelers
Seongnam FC 0 – 0 FC Seoul
Ulsan Hyundai 3 – 0 Gyeongnam FC
Suwon Samsung 2 – 2 Sangju Sangmu
Jeonnam Dragons 1 – 2 Jeju United
Jeonbuk ended up winning 1-0, but was slightly fortunate. Nam Jae-Joon smashed one against the crossbar when in acres of space right next to the goal in the first half, and then failed to beat the keeper in the second. Jeonbuk midfielder Jung Hyuk scored the only goal of the match, his second of the campaign, after a nice bursting run from deep. With the win Jeonbuk remains top of the table with six points.
Defending champions Pohang came down to Busan, looking for their first points of the season. Unfortunately for them the match came sandwiched between a midweek trip to Thailand for the AFC CL and a tough match against Shandong Luneng. Pohang looked quite sluggish (we’ve discussed the lack of rotation at Pohang before), and Busan took advantage. Lee Myeong-Joo gave Pohang the lead, but a brace from Lim Sang-Hyub and a goal from Yang Dong-Hyun gave Busan a 3-1 win. Pohang are now the only team with no points after two games.
Like last season, FC Seoul are off to a slow start of the year. They paid a visit to southern neighbors Seongnam fC, and came away with a point after a 0-0 draw. Seoul had the occasional nice attacking moves, but they do seem to miss former star striker Dejan Damjanovic.
Ulsan continued their impressive start to the season as they smashed Gyeongnam FC 3-0 in Ulsan. Gyeongnam though had two excellent chances to take the lead, but they failed to convert either chance. In the end, Ulsan put three past Gyeongnam in an eight minute stretch in the second half. Kim Chi-Won and Kim Shin-Wook scored from free kicks, and Woo Ju-Sung turned one into his own net.
For the second week in a row Sangju Sangmu was involved in a topsy-turvy game that ended up all square at 2-2. Bae Ki-Jong for Suwon and Kim Dong-Chan for Sangju both scored braces for their teams. Bae’s first goal was the result of a fine turn and then he blasted past Kim Min-Sik. Kim Dong-Chang equalized with a fine curling effort from distance, punishing the Suwon defense that simply stood off him. Kim thought he won it for Sangju in the 93′ when he struck a second long range goal, but Bae had the final say when he scored immediately following the restart.
In the final game of the round, Jeju United headed to Gwangyang to take on Jeonnam Dragons. Jeju took the lead through Jung Da-Hwon’s header past the impressive mullet of Kim Byeong-Ji. Jeonnam managed to get level as, Jeju’s Lee Yong scored an own goal for the second week in a row. But, it wasn’t enough for the Jeollanam-do team as Hugo Droguett scored the winner 11 minutes from time.
AFC Champions League – Matchday 3
Pohang Steelers 2 – 2 Shandong Luneng
Things looked bad for Pohang early as defender Shin Kwang-Hoon was sent off early in the match (13′). Goalkeeper Shin Hwa-Yong raced out to clear a through ball, and as Shin Kwang-Hoon ran back to cover the goal the shot hit his arm. Vagner Love stepped up to successfully convert the penalty. It was deja vu for Pohang and Shandong just nine minutes later as the ref once again pointed to the spot, having adjudged Kim Jae-Sung to have illegally blocked a cross with his arm. Kim Tae-Su pulled one back for Pohang before the half, and Kim Seung-Dae completed the comeback 12 minutes from time.
Guangzhou Evergrande 3 – 1 Jeonbuk Motors
Probably the toughest test either side has faced in their young 2014 seasons. Jeonbuk traveled to holders Guangzhou for the third year in a row. Jeonbuk looked like they may get routed by the Chinese champions as they went down 2-0 early from Gao Lin headers. Lee Dong-Gook pulled one back before halftime with a poacher’s goal, and Jeonbuk will feel aggrieved that they weren’t level through a Jung In-Hwan goal. Jung prodded the ball past the onrushing Zeng Cheng, but the referee ruled (I believe) that Jung had committed a foul in the process (either pushing the defender or making contact with the keeper – he did neither). Shortly after Guangzhou re-claimed their two goal lead after another headed goal, this time by Liao Lisheng.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2 FC Seoul 1
A wonderfully placed strike from Yojiro Takahagi gave Sanfrecce the lead, only for Seoul’s Rafael Costa to equalize minutes later. All three points would go to the Japanese champions though as Tsukasa Shiotani scored from a nice chipped shot over Kim Yong-Dae for the win.
Ulsan Hyundai 1 Guizhou Renhe 1
A relatively quiet game in Ulsan. Rafina drew a slightly soft penalty in the second half, but he converted it with east. Guizhou snatched a point, their first in the tournament, with a late goal after some slack marking from the Ulsan defense and Lee Yong in particular.
Elsewhere, Kim Jin-Hyeon kept a clean sheet in Cerezo Osaka’s 4-0 win over Buriram United. Nam Tae-Hee scored a penalty in Lekhwiya’s 2-0 win over Al Ittihad. Cho Yong-Hyung played 90 minutes for Al Rayyan, but they lost 4-3 to Al Shabab. Park Hyung-Jin played 54′ in Sanfrecce’s 2-1 win over FC Seoul. Ha Dae-Sung came on as a second-half substitute for Beijing Guoan in their 2-1 win over Central Coast Mariners. In that same game, Kim Seung-Yong was an unused sub for the Australian side. Lee Jung-Soo played the full 90′ for Al Sadd in their 2-2 draw with Al Hilal. Go Seul-Ki played the full 90′ for El Jaish in their 0-0 draw with Al Fateh.