In round 18 of the 2016 K League Classic season, Ulsan, Sangju, Incheon and Suwon City all snatched points in the dying minutes of their matches. Short summaries of each match + Team of the Week + Goal of the Week ahead.
Last minute thrillers
Ulsan Hyundai 2:1 Suwon Bluewings
Ulsan goals: Lee Jaesung 90′, Frederic Mendy 90′
Bluewings goals: Jeong Dongho own goal 11′
Frederic Mendy scored on his Ulsan debut as the Suwon Bluewings dropped even more points in stoppage time in a 2-1 defeat at the Munsu Stadium. Seo Jungwon deployed a more familiar 4-2-3-1 formation, switching away from the 3/5 back preferred by the Bluewings manager in recent matches. Kwon Changhoon started after several games out of the starting lineup as the left midfielder and Cho Donggeon returned up top.
Things started brightly for the away side. Lee Sangho’s header off of a 7th minute corner was just cleared off the line and mere minutes later the Bluewings opened the score through a comical own goal. Kwon Changhoon was in on goal and Ulsan’s Jeong Dongho attempted a last ditch slide tackle, sliding towards his keeper Kim Yongdae. Jeong’s tackle ultimately rolled the ball out of Kwon’s reach… but also past his keeper and into the net.
Those two chances were perhaps Suwon’s best of the entire match, as the remaining 80 minutes were almost all Ulsan. Kovacec continued to attempt to wreak havoc down his left flank, but there weren’t any results… yet. Chikashi Masuda had a decent effort from deep in the 52nd minute but it was pushed away by Yang Hyungmo.
Ulsan’s urgency translated into results in the dying minutes – Ulsan’s 11th corner of the game finally translating into results. In the first minute of stoppage time, Kovacec’s corner – with wicked spin – met the head of centreback Lee Jaesung, who headed home. Then in the 90+4th minute, Kovacec’s got his second assist – a deep cross to Frederic Mendy. The Brazilian pushed off a tired Min Sanggi to head home on his debut in front of 5,027 spectators.
Ulsan Hyundai striker Frédéric Mendy scored a stoppage-time winning goal in his debut match. pic.twitter.com/8As7B5GcCg
— Korea Football News (@KORFootballNews) July 2, 2016
The result meant that the Bluewings now find themselves in 9th place, just 3 points above the relegation playoff zone. They’ve now conceded 14 goals past the 80th minute and have dropped numerous points in that zone. They’ve been unable to turn draws into wins (9 draws this season) and are leaking goals badly (30 goals conceded, the joint worst in the league). The team’s bus was confronted by angry fans after the match, and manager Seo Jungwon had to come up to speak to frustrated supporters furious after making the journey in the midsummer rain to see their side drop points yet again.
— Scott Whitelock (@ScottySSBFC) July 3, 2016
Seo Jung-won was forced to come out and speak directly to them. pic.twitter.com/pEDpglzRiT
— Scott Whitelock (@ScottySSBFC) July 3, 2016
Youth notes: Kwon Changhoon played 89 minutes and received a 6.5 rating from kleague.com / Olympic centreback Jeong Seunghyun was booked and played the full 90 but had a fairly good game despite not being particularly busy / 18 year-old central midfielder Kim Geonwoong came on for Ulsan in the 88th minute after starting a match last week.
Sangju Sangmu 2:1 FC Seoul
Sangju goals: Park Juntae 64′, Lim Sanghyub (penalty) 90′
FC Seoul goal: Yun Jutae 82′
Hwang Sunhong is still searching for his first points as FC Seoul manager as the capital club were defeated at Sangju Civic Stadium by a resurgent army side. Cho Jinho lined up his troops in a 4-3-3 shape with former FC Seoul midfielder Shin Jinho in midfield and a front three of Cho Youngcheol, Park Gidong and Hwang Ilsoo. FC Seoul came out in a 4-4-2 for the first time all season. Adriano was suspended after a red card in the previous match day, so Park Chuyoung partnered Dejan up top.
Both teams traded jabs in the first half, but no knockout punch. Seoul missed a golden opportunity in the 6th minute to go ahead when Lee Jaemyeong’s backpass was underhit and Dejan had only the keeper to beat. However, the Montenegrin forward shot right at the keeper. In the 10th minute it was Sangju’s turn: Shin Jinho had a crack from distance but Yoo Hyun made a decent save. Dejan hit the crossbar another time while Park Gidong hit the side netting on two occasions.
Ultimately, it was thanks to Park Gidong that Sangju found their opening goal. The powerful target man hit a cross on the volley that got caught up in Takahagi’s feet – Jeonnam loanee Park Juntae pounced and scored his 5th goal of the season.
But it seemed like Seoul were going to grab a point in the 80th minute. Sangju botched the clearing of their lines and Yun Jutae had a shot. His strike took a massive deflection and went into the net – 1-1. However, the army side weren’t going to roll over easily. Im Sanghyub hit a cannon that was parried away in the 90th minute and then Park Gidong won a penalty kick in the 91st minute. Im converted the penalty and Sangju went ahead 2-1.
Youth notes: Shim Sangmin came on as a sub and conceded the penalty kick.
Suwon FC 2:2 Jeonbuk Hyundai
Suwon FC goals: Vladan Adzic 6’, Kim Hanwon 83’
Jeonbuk Hyundai goals: Lee Jongho 71’, Leonardo 75’
Suwon FC hadn’t scored since May 22nd and had only one point in their last 5 matches. Jeonbuk on the other hand had just broken a league record for most defeat-less matches. It was easy to see why Jeonbuk supporters could confidently expect a victory, despite Lee Donggook’s injury keeping him out of the squad. Cho Duckje lined up the squad in a peculiar fashion – a 5-3-2 formation, with Adzic, Leijer and Kim Hanwon in central defense with defensive midfielder Kim Keunhwan up top.
The home squad opened the scoring in the most spectacular of fashions, with centreback Vladan scoring in the 6th minute. He came out to dispossess Lopes and found space to run in front of him. He threaded a pass to Lee Seungryul on the counter, and the Suwon FC captain crossed it back for Vladan who seemed just as shocked to have scored as everybody else in the stadium.
It took 65 minutes after that moment for Jeonbuk to find the breakthrough. And it was an arduous road for the title favorites as U23/former Busan keeper Lee Changgeun rocked the posts mere hours after signing for the side. A spectacular free kick save in the 45th minute on Kim Bokyung and 12 – yes, TWELVE – save in total. Despite that, Lee Jongho and Leonardo were able to score within the space of 4 minutes, Jeonbuk’s 63% possession finally coming into use.
However, veteran Kim Hanwon was able steal a point for the hosts in the 83rd minute with this peculiar free kick goal:
Jeonbuk's GK Kwon Sun-tae was caught off guard by a sudden free-kick from Kim Han-won and conceded a late leveller. pic.twitter.com/OiXzf3eGiG
— Korea Football News (@KORFootballNews) July 3, 2016
Youth watch: Choi Kyubaek was yellow carded on the free kick that led to Suwon’s goal – he played the full 90 and received a 6.0 rating from kleague.com / Lee Changgeun is back with a spectacular return to the K League Classic. If only he had shown this form prior to the Olympic selection deadline..!
Incheon United 2:1 Jeju United
Incheon goals: Song Siwoo, Kim Daejung (90’+)
Jeju goals: Lee Keunho 86’
Incheon have won two in a row! Incredible! Song Siwoo scored yet another late goal (his 3rd of the year in injury time!) and Kim Daejung’s header – both off of Kevin Oris assists – meant that Incheon pulled off an upset at home against Jeju. Both teams deployed 5 back formations, although this shape was more natural for Incheon, the Islanders only deploying it in my view to neutralize Incheon’s new twin tower threat of Kevin Oris and Krste Velkoski.
I actually watched this match and in all fairness it was a dull encounter. Both defenses were able to keep opposing numbers quiet – Velkoski had a quiet game for Incheon while for Jeju, Ahn Hyunbeom and Marcelo didn’t seem to be a two top that quite worked.
All the action, once again, came in the dying minutes of the match. A ball down the pitch was won by Kim Sangwon – his flick-on fell to an unmarked Lee Keunho, who would not miss. Rare miscommunication in the Incheon defense left Jonjic stranded with no one to mark – inexcusable when there are three centrebacks!
However, Incheon would steal the points. Oris hit a lovely no-look throughball to substitute Song Siwoo who scored yet another last minute goal; and then seconds later, Kevin hit a deep ball into the box which found the head of substitute Kim Daejung. Three subs making the difference in a 2-1 victory for Incheon which sees them leave the relegation places.
Youth watch: Leftback Kim Yonghwan had a fairly good game – he’s been starting recently, and Shim Sangmin hasn’t, so… whatever.
Goal of the week: Tiago’s solo goal!!
Jeonnam Dragons 0-1 Seongnam FC
No written recap. Just this goal. Because that’s all that really happened in this one.
— Korea Football News (@KORFootballNews) July 3, 2016
Gwangju FC 0-1 Pohang Steelers
71%! 71% possession. Despite this, Gwangju couldn’t find a goal to reward their efforts. Gwangju leftback Lee Euddeum headed the ball into a favorable position for Yang Donghyun, inadvertently sending the forward one-on-one with Choi Bongjin – Yang practically walked the ball into the net with slick control. Gwangju’s best chance of the match was in the 48th minute with Jung Jogook hitting a shot off of the crossbar, but there wasn’t much else to show for Gwangju’s sheer dominance.
Youth watch: Lee Chandong played 76 minutes and mustered just a 5.5 rating from kleague.com. / Kim Dongjin didn’t play / 19 year-old Woo Chanyang played for Pohang as a wingback.
TEAM OF THE WEEK:
GK: Lee Changgeun (Suwon FC)
LB: Kim Hanwon (Suwon FC) (he played CB this round, but he’s played LB before)
CB: Kim Wonil (Pohang Steelers)
CB: Lee Jaesung (Ulsan Hyundai)
RB: Kwon Wangyu (Incheon United)
LM: Ivan Kovacec (Ulsan Hyundai)
CM: Jeong Seonho (Seongnam FC)
CM: Park Juntae (Sangju Sangmu)
RM: Tiago (Seongnam FC) *Player of the Round* (okay so he’s a left mid, but shhh)
FW: Park Gidong (Sangju Sangmu)
FW: Kevin Oris (Incheon United)