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Review: Gyeongnam FC 3-0 Seoul E-Land

K League Challenge Review: Gyeongnam FC 3-0 Seoul E Land

On a sultry early evening in Changwon, an improved Seoul E-Land outfit made the trip south to pit their wits against still unbeaten league leaders Gyeongnam FC. The northerners were to come away empty handed as 3 late goals for the reds extended their lead at the top of the table to seven points. (Picture courtesy of Naver sports).

First talking point as I was sitting down in amongst the fans was the appointment of the referee in charge today Kim Sung-ho.  He had been banned from refereeing for a period of time for calling an incorrect penalty, given for a handball that wasn't in the Gwangju v Seoul game earlier on in the season. The wrong decision came with Gwangju in front 1-0. FC Seoul scored the resulting spot kick and eventually went on to win the game 2-1.

The man in the middle, Kim Sung Ho. (Picture courtesy of google image searches)
As the team sheet was read out on the big screen I was very surprised not to see our main central midfielder, the catalyst to our main attacking threat through the midfield Jung Hyun-cheol. No one in the crowd knew why either who I asked. I think he is being rested for the midweek FA cup 5th round tie against Ulsan and next week's important home game versus Suwon FC. He has played every minute of every game this season so a game against an inferior on paper opposition seemed a good choice to rest his legs for future weeks.

The game itself in the 1st half was pretty dull to say the least. Both teams passing it around nicely but with no final product in the final third.  Seoul E-Land looked comfortable on the ball and were knocking it around nicely.  I was thinking this isn't going to be Gyeongnam's day when watching in the stands. The home side really missed Hyun Cheol and his drive in the middle of the park.  Bruno was showing flashes of what he can do but the other players just weren't on the same wave length as him.  Seoul players started getting a bit nasty and they picked up 2 first half bookings for their troubles. E-Lands burly center forward Lovinho was quite a handful and was keeping Ivan and Min Soo at the back on their toes.  His final product though was very wasteful.  Both teams huffed and puffed but we went into half time still scoreless and it was still any ones game.

2nd half and Gyeongnam came out a different animal. They had more zip about them and were starting to hurt Seoul down the flanks by getting the winger #11 Jung Won-jin on the ball more to peg back E-Land's wing backs. The first real save of the game came from the home sides keeper Lee Bom-soo however from a vicious dipping free kick from the captain of Seoul E-Land which he tipped around the post for a corner.

The home sides persistence finally paid off in the 78th minute through the trusted right boot of our "Payet"on free kicks the aforementioned Jung Won Jin.  He is still only on loan from Pohang Steelers. Gyeongnam will surely have to pursue him and try and sign him on a permanent deal.  A silly push in the back on Marcao given away by the away sides defender gave Won-jin his chance he had been waiting for all game. A free kick in a central position, no more than 20-25 yards out. I was directly behind the goal and had a near perfect view of the free kick. He struck the ball well, it went straight through the wall as it jumped and it nestled in the goal.  Glory the Eland keeper didn't do himself any favours by just standing there legs open berating at his defenders in the wall.  On a second look the ball went in the goal pretty much in the center. He was totally wrong footed and just couldn't get across to save the shot. 1-0 and the home side had the advantage.

Jung Won Jin wheels away after his opener on Saturday. (Picture courtesy of Gyeongnam's Facebook page)
Then literally with the home sides next attack on 82 minutes Marcao out jumps the left back and at an angle on the right cuts into the box, the away sides defenders are backing off as the leggy 6ft plus Brazilian striker is bearing down on them.  He produces a glorious finish struck with his laces beyond the outstretched keeper into the far right hand corner. The strikers 7th goal of a great season for him thus far. Cue wild celebrations in the home end.  The 3 points are home and dry.  The manager rotates the team making a double substitution to rest some legs.

Marcao usual hand gesturing celebration after the home sides 2nd goal.  (Picture courtesy of Gyeongnams Facebook page)
Then to rub insult to injury and not deserved on the away side one bit I thought Gyeongnam added a 3rd in added on time, through an unlikely source in experienced defensive midfielder Choi Jae-soo signed from Incheon in pre season. A corner was played short and Jae-soo decided to venture into the box, he found the ball at this feet beat a few players with a delightful body serve then beat Glory the away sides keeper by dummying around him leaving him on his backside. He had the simple task of rolling the ball into an empty net. 3-0. Game, set and match.

Choi Jae-soo celebrating with his team mates after the home sides 3rd.  (Picture courtesy of Gyeongnams Facebook page)
The 3-0 scoreline slightly flattered Gyeongnam. The home side did enough to win the game and had more quality all over the pitch. A 1-0, or 2-0 scoreline would had been a fair reflection on the game as a whole.

Next up for the league leaders is an FA cup home fixture this Wednesday against Ulsan. Kick off at 7pm.

Seoul E-Lands next fixture is a tough away game against 2nd placed team in the Challenge in Busan IPark with a 7pm kick off.

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