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FA Cup Recap: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2-3 Bucheon FC 1995

Bucheon 1995 celebrate a stunning 3-2 victory against the Korean champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, progessing to the semi finals of the FA Cup in the process. (Photo Credit: Bucheon FC 1995 Official Facebook Page)
Bucheon 1995 celebrate a stunning 3-2 victory against the Korean champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, progessing to the semi finals of the FA Cup in the process. (Photo Credit: Bucheon FC 1995 Official Facebook Page)
K-League Classic reigning champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors were stunned at home as they lost three goals to two to K-League Challenge side Bucheon FC 1995. While there was a number of questionable decisions from the officials and unsavoury time wasting tactics from the visitors, Motors should be in no doubt that the real blame lies on their own doorstep.

With the games coming thick and fast once again, and the weekend previews are already on their way, I will keep this recap very loose and brief. With it being such a significant loss for Jeonbuk this season, ending any hopes of a treble, I thought I would just write up a few thoughts which crossed my mind during and immediately after the match.

Jeonbuk Need A Centre Back

As detailed further in my transfer talk post, Jeonbuk are in desperate need of a centre-back. This match saw three of the reserve players line up alongside Lim Jong-eun with disastrous consequences. It was always going to be difficult once the team went down to ten men, but there did seem to be a lack of authority and decisiveness at the back which often led to Bucheon putting the keeper under pressure.

With injuries to more preferable options such as Kim Chang-soo and Choi Jae-soo, as well as Choi Kyu-baek suspended and Rio-bound with the Olympic squad, Jeonbuk look suspect in defence and are in dire need of strengthening if they are going to push on in both the K-League and Champions League.

The Officials

Once again I felt that the officials failed to punish the opposing team accordingly. As time went on and Bucheon began to cling onto their 2-1 lead, players would often go down (admittedly some had been genuinely fouled) and would stay down until medical assistance came on before making a miraculous recovery. Bucheon's scorer for the third goal Waguininho had just been taken off on a stretcher moments before coming back on, then running half the length of the pitch and scoring a sublime goal before topping it off with an energetic tap dance celebration. Needless to say he finished the game without further issue.

I understand this is a league-wide problem though, with Jeonbuk most likely having employed it as well in the past. It is infuriating for spectators however as it take's advantage of the medical assistance's duty of care. Yes, if a player goes down they should receive medical attention, but the more it happens, and the more often teams decide to play on as they feel the player is fine, then at some point a serious injury may not get the immediate treatment it actually requires.

Overall though, this was not the reason why Jeonbuk lost.

Jeonbuk Had it Coming

There are only so many times you can go behind and still leave victorious until it eventually comes back to haunt you. Jeonbuk have done this a number of times this season but have mostly been applauded for their fighting spirit rather than condemned for not meeting standards from the kick off. In the end though, it was not an FC Seoul, a Seongnam or an Ulsan side that would inflict their first loss of the year on Korean soil, but a team from a lower division, just like Dankook University had threatened to do so in the round before. The team has an annoying knack of playing to the level of the opponent they are versing instead of the level they can play at and, by leaving this cup in such a disappointing fashion, you would hope this result will serve as some kind of wake up call to Choi Kang-hee's men.

Some Credit is Deserved to Bucheon Though

Despite my ungracious comments post-game on Twitter, I should commend Bucheon on a strong performance. I was a little bit ratty post game due to aforementioned weak officials, but the truth was I was just furious at Jeonbuk's underwhelming performance, especially after I had praised them so highly for their weekend victory against Pohang Steelers.

Bucheon to their credit played very well up until the point where they were leading 2-1 before then understandably regressing into trying to see out the win. They were evidently the better team in the first half creating far more threatening chances. Their second and third goals were also very good and left the home crowd stunned as to what they had just witnessed.

Bucheon FC 1995 will prove very tricky opposition for someone in the semi-finals. Based on this performance, I also think they could have a real chance of pushing for promotion to Classic. Best of luck to them in this competition and for the rest of the season.

Edu is (Probably) Coming, But Do Jeonbuk Need Him?

With Luiz now having left the club, one of the foreign spots have been vacated and speculation in regards to return of Edu has reached fever pitch amongst the support. However, if the speculation is true, I am unsure if we actually need him.

Against Pohang at the weekend, I praised the speed of fluidity of the Jeonbuk attack. Adding a 35 year old who has spent six months out of football, and the six months prior to that in the Chinese second division does not seem to fit in well with that style.

Granted he has scored a lot of goals at all of his Asian clubs and I am in no doubt he would score some upon his return to Jeonju, but after Kim Shin-wook arrived in January to much fanfare, will the club really want to give up on their marquee so early?

Also, Kim Shin-wook played reasonably well against Bucheon, especially given the talent who was surrounding him for most of the match. Ko Moo-yeol continues his descent into a tricky pub quiz question ("Who won the K-League young player of the year award in 2013?") whilst Luiz, included in the line up for the emotional farewell, also did not have one of his better games. The fact that Kim Shin-wook managed to score at all, despite having had better supply in previous weeks, is something. It may have been an empty net against a team in a lower division, but he has to start improving somewhere.

Ultimately I feel this foreign slot should be used more wisely, but let's first see if the speculation proves to be true before voicing my opinion further.

Farewell Luiz

Farewell Luiz; the Brazilian attacking midfielder waves to the fans after defeating Suwon 2-1 back in June  (Photo Credit: Hyundai-MotorsFC.com)
Farewell Luiz; the Brazilian attacking midfielder waves to the fans after defeating Suwon 2-1 back in June
(Photo Credit: Hyundai-MotorsFC.com)
It is probably best to end this recap on a less raging note. The build up to yesterday's game included the announcement that this would be Luiz's last game for the club. Despite my occasional criticism, something I give to every player at some point, the Brazilian attacking midfielder has served the club well over his two spells in neon green (2008-2012 and 2015-2016) and still remains a popular figure amongst the supporters.

While the scoreline will not reflect how he wanted his last game to go, the fans had adorned multiple banners to the north stand to express their thanks, whilst most fans stayed at half time to watch a montage of his greatest moments for the club and to hear a few words.

I would like to wish Luiz the best of luck in the future, and thanks for the memories he has provided.

Final Score: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2-3 Bucheon FC 1995

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