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Recap: Incheon United 1-3 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

Kim Shin-wook celebrates his "stunner" to give Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors the lead over Incheon United  (Photo Credit: KLeague.com)
Kim Shin-wook celebrates his "stunner" to give Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors the lead over Incheon United
(Photo Credit: KLeague.com)
They were made to fight for it, but reigning champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors have now beaten every team at least once this season after securing a 3-1 victory away to Incheon United. Whilst this feat is undermined somewhat by teams playing each other 3-4 times per season, the reigning champions also extended their unbeaten run to 27 games and sent Incheon deeper into the midst of the relegation fight.

Incheon's First Half Performance

Whilst the scoreline on paper looks as if it perfectly reflects a clash between a team near the bottom verses a side 10 points clear at the top of the league, it proved to be quite flattering to the visitors. Incheon United dominated play for the first half and were made to rue their single goal lead which really should have been more. Jeonbuk were often left lacking ideas, struggling to complete passes and making somewhat clumsy challenges that perhaps deserved more discipline from the referee.

The warning signs had been made clear to Jeonbuk shortly before they conceded. Jin Sung-wook had been afforded two very reasonable opportunities for Incheon to take the lead but on both occasions could not direct his shot anywhere other than straight at Jeonbuk's stand-in keeper Hwang Byeong-geun.

It would be a counter attack though that would break the deadlock. As Park Dae-han broke down the right channel, he was able to pick out striker Velksoski unmarked entering the box with a pinpoint cross. The striker dispatched the incoming ball with a first time volley to send the home fans into raptures. It was the least that the team deserved for their efforts and it ensured they would lead going into the half-time break.

A Surprising Lack of Options

Due to a combination of suspension to players Lee Jae-sung, Lee Ho and Cho Sung-hwan, as well as the manager opting to rest the likes of keeper Kwoun Sun-tae and striker Lee Dong-gook, a team that had bought many in the winter now offered little in terms of available options to address the problem areas. Jeonbuk's central midfield had proven to be relatively soft in the first half, but the only realistic options from the bench were attacking midfielder Seo Sang-min and youngster Lee Han-do. Both would not be the ideal solutions to reversing this deficit, leading for the manager to make no changes during the break.

Lee Jong-ho

Fortunately, Jeonbuk did step up almost immediately after the interval. A cross in from Choi Jae-soo met with the head of Lee Jong-ho who proceeded to clatter the ball against the crossbar, ricocheting it down into the net and back out again. Before even being able to contest whether or not the ball had crossed the line, Gwangyang Dickov (I refuse to call him 'Gwangyang Rooney') had slotted in the rebound through the legs of an Incheon united defender and back into the net. Whilst the reaction of some would have been to turn and immediately contest the first chance, Lee Jong-ho's alertness to intercept the rebound and bundle home showed his focus on the cause. With three other strikers in the team, and his own place undeservingly under threat, he showed the manager why he should be considered for the Asian Champions League quarter final next week instead of his colleagues.

Kim Shin-wook

Edu was once again replaced for Kim Shin-wook after another ineffective display. The Brazilian is still lacking match sharpness and has now started the last three games against bottom half opposition without finding the net. Logic would dictate he will not be selected to face Shanghai SIPG on Tuesday but Choi Kang-hee at the helm you can never be sure.

His replacement has even more to prove however. Despite constantly giving his all to nearly every cause, Kim Shin-wook's efforts have rarely resulted in goals and served to further exacerbate just how much he is struggling in this team. A goal here though would at least force himself into consideration next week.

And in the 77th minute, the man lovingly referred to as 'The Wookie' did just that. Collecting the ball at the edge of the box, the striker found himself in a surprising amount of space despite three Incheon defenders all being within proximity. Perhaps they had also underestimated his threat and thus failed to mark him tightly. The striker turned and sent a sweet curling shot sailing into the top right corner, neatly hitting the crossbar and down into the back of the net. It was a strike that not only sent supporters into jubilant celebration, but even left some stunned, questioning their core beliefs and preconceptions about the player and even the sport. It was an absolutely delightful goal.

Or so it seemed to those viewing it live. In this case the replays somewhat spoiled the myth as it showed that the shot had slightly clipped a sliding Incheon defender to send it on it's trajectory. Whilst Kim Shin-wook clearly did not care (and nor should he) it at least restored fans pre-existing knowledge of football. As our previous Jeonbuk columnist Lex Nande put it after the game; "The world makes sense again."


With Incheon now pressing for an equaliser, they left themselves exposed to counter attacks from Jeonbuk, which has proved to be a dangerous game for most sides throughout the season. In injury time, Kim Shin-wook collected the ball at the centre circle, turned and began running at the two back-tracking central defenders. He was quickly flanked by both Lee Jong-ho on his left, and Lopes on his right. As both Incheon defenders pulled towards Kim Shin-wook slightly, he timely laid it off to Lopes who pushed it into the penalty box and drove it home to finish the game. Lopes now leads the scoring charts for the club with nine league goals and five assists to his name. He will be crucial to side's chances next week if they are to leave Shanghai unscathed.

Final Score: Incheon United 1-3 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

Full highlights from SPOTV can be viewed here

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