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Recap: Gangwon 2 - 1 Seoul E-Land

Gangwon celebrate their equaliser as E-Land stage a second half collapse at Wonju
I'm going to try to get through this match recap without swearing, which might mean it's a very short one but I'll do my best anyway. Martin Rennie might have been trying to plot his first victory against Gangwon but it was countryman Robert Louis Stevenson who wrote the script for this one. A strange case of Jekyll and Hyde indeed.

In the first half E-Land looked more or less in complete control of the match. Even without Joo Min-kyu or Kim Jae-sung in the side they looked pretty comfortable. Up front Belusso and Tarabai looked to have a pretty good understanding and it was no surprise that they combined for the opening goal midway through the half. Belusso broke away quickly and took the ball into the box before laying it on a plate for Tarabai to finish from close range.

Things were looking pretty good for the rest of the first half and it looked as if E-Land would see this one out comfortably. 'More of the same, please' was really all the team-talk that was needed. In the second half though we saw a complete collapse from E-Land. It was as unexpected as it was unwanted as there had been no real sign of Gangwon threatening to turn the match around but for much of the second half they battered E-Land who looked a shadow of themselves. The dramatic change seemed to hinge on three main factors.

1. Tarabai came off

I'm not quite sure what the thinking was here but on the hour mark Tarabai came off and Kim Min-je came on. The little Brazilian didn't look injured but if it was a tactical decision it was a very strange one. Tarabai had been very lively in the game constantly hassling the Gangwon defence with his movement and running. He was working his socks off and linking up reasonably well with Belusso. When he went off E-Land lost his running and couldn't make the ball stick up front. In fact they could hardly get possession of the ball at all. From that moment on it was about whether E-Land could hold onto their 1-0 lead and it gifted the momentum to Gangwon who took full advantage

2. The referee went a bit mental

Maybe the referee had some money on a home win as he seemed to be giving absolutely everything to Gangwon in the second half. Every E-Land tackle was a foul and almost every foul earned a yellow card. The referee managed to book the entire E-Land defence including the goalkeeper in what wasn't a particularly dirty game. By contrast, Gangwon had no cautions. It's always an easy out to blame the ref in these situations but I think E-Land would be right to feel slightly aggrieved at some of the decisions in this one.

3. Carlyle Mitchell got sent off

We know Mitch fancies himself as a bit of a goalie after taking over from Glory at Suwon last season but his attempted diving save at Gangwon's equaliser only resulted in double trouble as not only did he fail to actually keep the ball out of the net but he also earned himself a second-yellow card and E-Land had to play out the match with ten men. I don't think I've ever seen a player sent off for failing to keep the ball out with his hand but I guess it's correct by the letter of the law. It seems very harsh though.

Once Gangwon scored things quickly disintegrated for E-Land. 'Omnishambles' probably best describes the last 20 minutes or so and it was inevitable that Gangwon would score again. Once behind there was no way back and again the lack of options on the bench left very little potential to change things. Cho Woo-jin came on for Kim Chang-wook but the game was already gone.

Now it's onto Gyeongnam for E-Land and they need to avoid a third straight defeat. On the plus side they are one point better off than they were at the same stage last season. A year ago the team was starting on an amazing run of form though and E-Land will need to win 6 out of their next 7 games to match that. On current form I don't think you'd put money on that happening.

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