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Jeonnam 0-0 Daejeon: Recap

The Dragons play down to their opponent yet again in disappointing home draw.

You could say Jeonnam was the better team on the day. You could say they created more chances, had more of the possession, and simply were unlucky. You could say all of those things, and technically you'd be right. However, the simple fact is Jeonnam continues to play to the level of their opponent and this was two points dropped at home to the last place team in the league.

A cursory look at the stats backs the notion that Jeonnam was the better team on the day. They came out on top of possession (55%:45%), shots (13:3), shots on target (5:2), and fouls (10:16), but couldn't find the difference maker in a game that leaves them clinging to 5th place. Perhaps most telling is the whopping 13 shots the Dragons managed to take while only getting 5 on target. Jeonnam continues to get the bulk of possession and shots while failing to make the most of them. As I mentioned in the match preview with Paul Neat, this stems from the lack of a creative finisher and/or creator in the offensive zone for the Dragons. They continue to push up the wings and lob a prayer into the middle regardless of who's around. Time after time the defense or midfield did quite well to get the ball off Daejeon and turn the play only to see it wasted on a shot from distance or hopeful cross to no one.

But... let's start at the beginning and take a look at the predicted lineup (left) against the actual starters (right).

The formation was a touch off as they wound up playing more of a 4-3-3 as opposed to the 4-2-3-1 I predicted. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the 22-year-old Mislav Oršić getting the nod over Kim Young Wook who played well against Gwangju last weekend. That said, Oršić played quite well in his 3rd start of the season including a nice run down the flank in the early stages of the match that nearly led to a chance.

Jeonnam started the match with an out and out barrage for the first 15 minutes. The first "should've been" moment of the day came in the 12th minute when Stevica Ristić knocked on off the crossbar from a beautiful chip in by Jeong Seok Min. Ristić appealed to the ref thinking the ball crossed the line, but the benefit of replay shows it was just on the wrong side of the line and Daejeon survived. Ristić stayed in the center of the action and started the second "should've been" moment of the day in the 17th with a cross to Ahn Young Woo who couldn't control the volley and sent the ball over the net.

The lone booking of the match came in the 39th minute when Daejeon's Yoo Sung-Ki took out Kim Pyung-Rae setting up a decent chance for Jeonnam 40 yards out in the dying minutes of the first half. Unfortunately it was hit directly into the grateful arms of Citizen keeper Park Ju Won who handled it with ease to keep it scoreless at the half.

The 55th minute saw what was easily the Dragons best (and most frustrating) chances of the game. Ahn Young Woo put in something of a sloppy cross that was wonderfully brought down by Bang Dae Jong with his left foot moving to his right and falling to get off a strong shot that hit the post. The rebound then bounced off of both Daejeon keeper Park Ju Won and Ristić and fell like a perfectly wrapped Christmas present at the feet of the recently subbed in Leandro Lima. Yes, the same Leandro Lima I've been calling for to get a start for weeks. And what did he do with this golden opportunity, you may ask? Took his time, lined up the shot... and clanged it off the exact same bar that had just denied Bang Dae Jong from taking the lead. If I had hair to pull out, this would've been a moment to do so.

The teams then swapped chances and near misses for the remaining 35 minutes. Daejeon's best chance came in the 59th minute when Adriano created a great look for himself, but hit it directly at Kim Byung Ji. Jeonnam then had two immense chances to pull out a win in the dying minutes. In the 85th Lee Ji Min hit a long, slightly curling ball into the box to find Ristić who unluckily chested it just a bit too close to the keeper who swallowed it up. Lee Ji Min was in the action again five minutes later when he sent a low header just wide of the far post.

And so, through a flurry of chances and "should've been" moments, the Dragons came away with a home point heading into a midweek road matchup against the 2nd place Suwon Bluewings. Should Jeonnam hold true to form and play to their opponent's level, then we should be in for a better game. However, road games have not been a strong spot for the Dragons thus far this season and they're heading into the matchup with 1 point in the previous two matches that really should've been 6. Had they taken care of bottom feeders Gwangju and Daejeon as they should've, the Dragons would be on 20 points and in second place looking to fend off a 3rd place Suwon team. Even as things stand, Jeonnam's still in decent shape to solidify their place in the hunt for the top 4 heading into their biggest road test of the season.

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