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Game 1: Suwon FC 1-0 Busan IPark

It was a result pretty typical of Busan this season. Play poorly, but holding onto a vital result, but then conceding late. This time in the 86'. I've harped all year about Busan's poor mentality, and the feeling of inevitability that a late goal will be scored by the opposition. However, I'm not in too bad a mood because the final score was "only" 1-0.  And in my preview yesterday, I said that keeping the score down and close would be an acceptable result. There's plenty of work to do for Busan, but I maintain that stance today. I don't want to do a match review per se, but there are a couple issues I had with Choi Young-joon's team.


Team Selection

Choi Young-joon's starting XI was what I predicted with one change. Jeon Sung-chan started in midfield ahead of Joo Se-jong. Okay, it's not a decision I personally agree with, but so be it. The bigger issue I have is with his bench and substitutions. Choi Young-joon's bench was: Lee Chang-geun, Gu Hyun-joon, Kim Jin-kyu, Kim Ik-hyun, Han Ji-ho, Yoon Dong-min, Jung Seok-hwa. Notable that Joo Se-jong was not on the bench. Someone who was included was Kim Ik-hyun. Kim Ik-hyun is a veteran player, having started his pro career back in 2009, and has been a part of Busan for his whole career. That being said, Busan released him during the offseason before bringing him back midway through the year. You don't release players that are valuable for the team. Kim's inclusion ahead of Joo Se-jong is baffling considering what they've accomplished. Joo has scored more goals and made more assists this season than Kim has his entire career. There's more to this, but I'll come to it later.

Also notable that there are no true center forwards in the team. Weslley and Han Ji-ho are wide midfielders/wide forwards, and while Yoon Dong-min is listed as a forward by the club, he hasn't scored since 2012. Kim Dong-sub, Bill, Elias, and Bae Chun-seok all omitted from the team. Granted Choi Young-joon and his 4-3-3 were not here at the time the deal was made, but I imagine if he could Choi would turn back time on the Park Yong-ji/Kim Dong-sub deal. Park Yong-ji would be a much better alternative on the right, and Kim Dong-sub has done jack all since coming south. I won't go much into the failure of Bill and Elias as it's already quite clear.

The substitutions

The subs. Choi Young-joon made the first move of the night, bringing in youngster Kim Jin-kyu for Lee Gyu-seong in the 50'. I don't have any real complaints about that one. I don't personally rate Le Gyu-seong, and I'm not entirely sure what the Busan coaching staff sees in him that he starts so regularly. Then just after that change, Suwon FC defender Kim Ha-ram was sent off. Suwon sacrificed a midfielder in Kim Jong-woo and brought on Kim Chang-hoon. I suppose it ultimately didn't matter since Hong Dong-hyun was sent off later, but I would have liked Choi Young-joon to be a bit more aggressive here. To overload the midfield area and really try to put Suwon under pressure, but it didn't happen. Statistically it didn't happen. In Busan's 15 minutes of numerical superiority, Suwon FC still outshot them 2-0 and the possession was even 50-50. When Choi Young-joon does eventually make a change, it's a like-for-like swap with Kim Ik-hyun replacing Jeon Sung-chan, and then later Yoon Dong-min replacing Weslley.

I suppose Choi had relatively limited options given the poor squad at his disposal, but it felt like he went into the game with one result and idea of playing in mind. That's fine to an extent, but he certainly limited himself. If the scoreline was bigger could he have chased the game to close the gap? If Busan had taken a lead could he have beefed up the defense to hold it? The answer would appear to be no. Busan will need to be a bit more flexible one feels in game two depending on how things go.

Game Two

A hill to climb no doubt, but not an insurmountable one. Winning 2-0 is a big ask for Busan, considering they haven't won by that scoreline this season (2-1 and 1-0 were the scores they won by). Busan has only scored two goals in a game seven times this season for that matter. Can it happen? Possibly, but the margin is slim. Busan's better hope would probably be penalties, given Lee Bum-young's relatively decent history of penalty saves. More on game two in a couple days when it's closer. 

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