Yesterday saw the first of two straight weeks with midweek football from the K League 1 and the main things to take away from it will be highlighted in this article. If you want a bit more background info on the K League I suggest you go back and read the last roundup where I gave you a little introduction to the wonderful world of South Korean football.
Youngster strikes again for Suwon
We start with a clash between two top teams as Suwon Samsung Bluewings in second took on third-placed Gyeongnam. The newly promoted team, Gyoengnam, have struggled in recent weeks after a cracking start, but could with a good result here keep up with Suwon and Jeonbuk at the top. A defeat would obviously widen the three-point gap. And it was Suwon who started best as 18-year-old Jeon Se-Jin, who also scored on his K League debut last time out, put Suwon in front after 17 minutes.
Gyeongnam managed to recover and tried their best to at least keep the scoreline the same going into half time. But Dejan Damjanovic had other ideas and sent Suwon 2-0 up after 39 minutes. Over in the second half Kim Jong-woo only needed nine minutes to put the game well and truly out of Gyeongnam’s reach as he gave Suwon a 3-0 lead. All that was left was to see out the game and although Gyeongnam tried they could only muster a goal in the 91st minute, courtesy of Park Ji-soo.
Pohang and Jeju in close battle
Lurking just behind Gyeongnam are Pohang Steelers and Jeju United and when Gyeongnam were losing Pohang could take advantage of that and go past them in the table, however it was Jeju who could have the last laugh as a very tightly contested affair ended in a 1-0 win after Oh Ban-suk put them in front just after the hour was played. Pohang never had a response to that and Jeju won the only match to have less than two goals in it.
The battle to avoid the bottom spot is a fierce one
Bottom of the table Jeonnam Dragons played fourth from bottom Seoul FC in a game where Seoul could properly distance themselves after last weekend’s win over Daegu.
But Jeonnam finally found their spine after a few very poor showings. However, it didn’t start too well as Cho Young-wook gave Seoul the lead in the first half, and that was all there was to say about that really, but over in the second Lee Ji-nam and Vedran Jugovic turned the match around for Jeonnam.
A great eight minute period from the 52nd to the 60th minute meant that Jeonnam took a 2-1 lead. A lead they manged to hold onto and with that had the opportunity to climb away from the bottom of the table if the other results went their way.
And the first to fall was Incheon as they played away to Ulsan Hyundai. A goal from the penalty spot from Yohei Toyoda after only six minutes and an own goal courtesy of Stefan Mugosa after 22 meant that Ulsan took a 2-0 lead early in the match and even though Mugosa tried to make up for scoring the wrong way earlier in the match, by scoring again in the same net this time for the right team, after 63 minutes, Incheon fell to another loss, their fourth in a row. They are currently the side in the worst form in the league.
However, they are not last. That doubtful honour falls to Daegu as they squandered a nice 1-0 lead against Sangju Sangmu. Park Byung-hyun gave them the lead after 50 minutes but the happiness was to be short lived as Yoon Garam-bit pulled Sangju level after 64 minutes. A point would have been an okay result for Daegu but Lim Chae-min had other ideas as he spoiled even that small joy by scoring the winning goal after 87 minutes. To make matters worse for Daegu, Cesinha got himself sent off in the 95th minute.
Jeonbuk still with a nice gap
In the “late” kick-off, scheduled half an hour later than the rest, between top of the table Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and mid-table Gangwon, Jeonbuk had to win to keep the four-point gap to Suwon intact and it started according to the book as Adriano (not that one, he’s without a club and virtually retired) put Jeonbuk ahead after 21 minutes. Jeonbuk controlled the game and put the matter to bed as veteran Jeong Hyuk scored their second of the day in the 51st minute.
The most interesting thing to report after that is that Jeonbuk and South Korean legend, and former Middlesbrough player, Lee Dong-gook is also still kicking a football around and he got 11 minutes at the end of the match. Now at the age of 38 he is more of an impact sub but has four goals to his name in the league as well as the same amount in the Champions League.
That’s all from the K League for now, but tune in tomorrow as there will be a preview for the weekend action.