Better late than never. Here’s the K League Round 22 Recap. Before the All-Star Break this weekend, which teams would secure victories? Could Daejeon’s new signing Wanderson carry the Purple Crew to their first home victory? Who would win the duel between Seoul and Pohang? All that and more in this recap.
Busan I’Park 1:1 Suwon Bluewings
Although he did not know it at the time, this was Yoon Sunghyo’s last match in charge of the Busan I’Park. New signing Kim Dongsub started up front in a 4-3-3 formation. Suwon also saw one of their members take part in his final match for the club, though unlike Yoon’s sorry sacking, it was Jong Taese’s final hurrah in Bluewings armor. The Tricolor graced the pitch in their usual (of late) 4-1-4-1 formation.
Chances were relatively muted in the first half. No team managed a shot on target, and both keepers were fairly quiet. Jong Taese missed a difficult turn and shoot attempt in what was according to him a fairly disappointing performance.
The second half was a bit more eventful. The 56th minute saw Jung Seokhwa of the Busan I’Park pull off a lovely piece of skill before passing to Kim Dongsub. The former Seongnam striker’s shot was pushed away by the fingertips of Jung Sungryong.
Suwon’s usual system that sees them put in many crosses into the box paid off in the 56th minute. Jong Taese took the ball deep, and made a pass up to Lee Sangho. The Suwon midfielder’s cross into the box didn’t find it’s marker, but the clearance was poor and met the boot of Kwon Changhoon. The 21 year old K League All-Star volleyed the ball home sublimely.
After Lee Sangho’s shot on a tight angle was saved easily by Lee Bumyoung in the 73rd minute, Busan I’Park evened the score in the 75th minute. Kim Jinkyu’s over the top ball for Kim Dongsub was well played, leading Suwon CB Koo Jaryong to pull him down in the box. Joo Sejong converted the penalty comfortably, and the I’Park suddenly had themselves a draw.
The game ended in injury as Noh Haengseok of the Busan I’Park and Ko Chawon of the Bluewings collided heads. The crowd booed and the Busan-biased commentators moaned about “what if” but ultimately, Busan got a valuable point that brings them closer to 10th and safety, and further away from 12th and sure relegation.
Incheon United 0:1 Seongnam FC
At a rainy Incheon Stadium, visitors Seongnam FC picked up three road points. Hwang Uijo got a rest for the magpies, with manager Kim Hakbum opting instead to show off new acquisition Park Yongji.
Seongnam’s only shot on target in the first half came through Kim Doheon – the former West Bromwich Albion player threatened the goal of Yoo Hyun… off of a corner?! The inswinging set piece nearly found its way in in the 9th minute. Four minutes later, Incheon got their first opportunity – target man Kevin receiving the ball to his head, contracting neck muscles to power the ball on goal… but right at Park Junhyuk. Incheon had other opportunities in the first frame, but the ball would not find its way into the back of the net.
Seongnam’s goal was an excellent counter attack. Park Yongji took the ball on the left side and used *almost* all the space he had before being closed down in the Incheon half. Normally K League players run right until they have no more space, and then try a long cross or just pass it back. I see it that way. In this case, Park Yongji used his head. Acknowledging he was running right towards the left touchline, he opted instead of take on the defenders while they were still running to close him down. He beat the three Incheon players chasing him down, before passing to an open Kim Doheon. The Seongnam captain blasted the ball into the back of the net. Well played, Seongnam, well played.
Seongnam had several more chances on the counter, while Incheon had a few more chances with the ball (65% possession helps). Kim Yonghwan was busy after coming on – with a penalty shout and a chance to salvage a draw both for naught. Other late chances weren’t taken by Incheon, and the crowd of 2,725 had to settle for a disappointing defeat that sees the Neroazzure fall to 7th in the table.
Ulsan 0:1 Gwangju
After demolishing one promoted side last week, Ulsan hoped for another 3 points at home against former 2nd-tier outfits. This time, it was Gwangju visiting the Munsu Stadium on the 9th stop on their 10-game road trip. Ulsan and Gwangju both featured lone strikers, with the Tigers sending out Kim Shinwook, who’s been linked to moves to fellow K League clubs Jeonbuk and Suwon, or even a jump to the Portuguese league. Gwangju’s one-top was Song Seungmin, and they played a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Ulsan had the early opportunities. In the 5th minute, Kim Shinwook missed an empty net with a header, and in the 12th minute, Kim Taehwan cut in from the right wing and blasted a shot just over the bar. Wookie got his best chance in the 17th minute, with a header that bounced right in front of Gwangju keeper Kwon Jeonghyeok., but the keeper made the difficult save.
These early chances were costly for the hosts, as Gwangju took the lead in the 21st minute. Gwangju opted for the longball, and simply beat Ulsan at their own game. Im Changwoo (playing CB) headed the ball away but instead of clearing the ball to safety, nodded it in front of him to Kim Honam. A sweet volley, a rare Kim Seunggyu error and a Gwangju lead.
Ulsan cranked up the pressure and the possession. For once, it was not Gwangju throwing the kitchen sink, but Ulsan. With 72% possession in the second half, you’d think Ulsan would have a little more than 4 shots on target to show for the amount of time they had the ball. It wasn’t the case, and their best chance came in the 87th minute when the Gwangju keeper spilled the ball on an easy corner to catch. Luckily for him, Yang Donghyun’s shot from like 3 yards to a totally empty net was blocked by Ahn Younggyu. An apt summary of Ulsan’s season in one action. Yet another demoralizing Ulsan defeat.
More to come…