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Review: Gangwon FC 0-1 Busan IPark

Busan picked up their first win and points of the young 2016 K League Challenge season with an unconvincing 1-0 win over Gangwon FC in Gangneung. On-loan midfielder Lee Yeong-jae scored with a wonderful left-footed strike to take all three points. The result will boost the team's confidence given you'd have to go back to last July to find their last win (a 2-1 win over Daejeon), 18 games ago. But, if we're honest, there were still very concerning things about this past game for coach Choi Young-joon and the team.

The mandatory changing room celebratory photo. Via Busan IPark's Facebook page.

The Team

Choi Young-joon made four personnel changes from the side that lost 1-3 to Ansan in the opening round, and also changed the team's formation. Out went the 3-4-1-2 and in came Choi's more favored 4-3-3/4-1-4-1 formation. Goalkeeper Lee Changgeun was benched in favor of former Ulsan Hyundai Mipo keeper Goo Sangmin. Japanese midfielder Daigo was dropped for U23 international Lee Yeong-jae. New Brazilian forward Popp came in at right wing with Hong Dong-hyun dropping to the bench. Finally former Gangwon player Choi Seung-in came in at center forward with Yoo Ji-hoon dropping to the bench.

In terms of formation, Ko Kyung-min adopted a more traditional left-wing position while Samuel moved from outside centerback to left back. Kim Dae-ho dropped from right wingback to right back. Popp came in as a right winger.

The First Half

The first half was rather stale and dull. Neither team was really able to create much of anything. Gangwon looked to counter and attack at pace through Choi Jin-ho. His pace and skill on the ball did cause the occasional problem for Lee Won-young (who isn't particularly fast) and Cha Seung-hwan, but he wasn't able to really create much danger as he was isolated. There were a couple last ditch tackles needed, but I can't recall Goo Sang-min having to make any super saves.

Busan also didn't create much. Popp, despite his right wing position, was used to win long passes in the air, which he did fairly well. However, the build up from there was quite lacking. Perhaps it's just because he arrived at the very end of the preseason, but Popp seemed on a different wavelength than the rest of his teammates. He took too long on the ball or picked the wrong pass.

The Second Half

The second half wasn't hugely different from the first. The only difference was the one bit of magic produced by Lee Yeong-jae to score the game's only goal. Otherwise it was a lot of huffing and puffing, and not a lot else. Review, finished!

Top and Flop

Top would have to go to Lee Yeong-jae simply for scoring. The young midfielder was fairly quiet otherwise, but his strike means Busan picks up three points rather than one.

Lee Yeong-jae celebrates his goal with Lee Chung-woong. Via the Kookje Ilbo.

Flop would go to Choi Seung-in who, quite frankly, did nothing at all. A wasted performance.

Match Thoughts

The result will have fans happy, but the performance will not. Yes, it was an away match, but the team still looked incredibly disjointed and lacking in ideas in the attacking third. This remains my lingering concern of Choi Young-joon. Does he have a concrete idea for this team, and if so, does he know how to teach it to this group of players? As I've said before, given the huge turnover during the offseason (only 2 of the starting 11 were with Busan last season), I'm willing to give him some time, but it is concerning that little to no progress is being made from last season's performances. Gangwon certainly could have gotten something from this match, but their own attacking ineptitude prevented them from doing so.

Other News

Busan's R League team won their opening match, a 3-2 win over Ulsan's reserve side back on March 29. Jeon Hyun-cheol scored a brace with Lee Jung-jin scoring the third. They will be in action again tomorrow (4/5) against Daegu's reserve team over in Gangseo. 

The U18 team (K League Junior) at Gaesung High School did not play this weekend. Their last match (3/26) was a 0-0 draw against Jeonnam's Gwangyang Jecheol High School. Next weekend they will face group topping Gwangju Kumho High School.

Unfortunately the team has not gotten off to a good start. After three matches they sit in 8th place in the group B table with a record of 0-1-2. The team is also the only side in either group yet to score a goal (0 scored, 3 conceded).

승리하라 부산!

Get Busan news immediately by following Jae-hyeok Lee on Twitter @ArmchairRegista

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