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Review: Asan Mugunghwa 1-1 Gyeongnam FC

Table-toppers Gyeongnam FC made the long trip north to Gyeonggi-do to face third-placed and newly-formed outfit Asan Mungunghwa FC. Gyeongnam, still unbeaten in sixteen games, faced a tricky encounter against a police side champing at the bit to get one over on the southerners. The game unfolded into a bit of a thriller, with Gyeongnam thinking they had it won with an injury time winner, but the home side never gave up and snatched a point with virtually the last kick of the game.

Picture courtesy of Gyeongnam official Facebook page

Gyeongnam were relieved last week to come away with a point up at Ansan Greeners with two goals in the last ten minutes to ensure the points were shared. The defence in that game were all at sea and, true to his word, the away side's manager Kim Jong Boo, switched up the ever so assured center back pairing of Ivan Herceg and Park Ji Soo. He took out Ivan and replaced him with the experienced, no nonsense center back Cho Byung Kuk.

The game started brightly from both sides and both sets of players were putting themselves about. The reds left back Choi-Jae So picked up a booking as early as the 10th minute and so he was walking a tightrope thereafter with the referee. This was having an effect and Asan, to their credit, saw this and made a beeline to attack the league leaders left side of defence. They were getting a lot of joy down that side of the pitch and, like he does in so many games, the away side's manager had to bring Jae So off on the 40th minute mark as a red card was imminent, super sub as he is now known, Ahn Sung Nam was his replacement.

Choi-Jae So endured a torrid first half and was put out of his misery and subbed off after just forty minutes

Picture courtesy of Gyeongnam official Facebook
Both teams attacked with vigour and former Gyeongnam player and fan favorite Lee Jae Ahn  was getting into nice pockets in between the defence and midfield for the yellows, and causing the Gyeongnam outfit some problems. The first half chance of the game however fell to the away sides number 11, winger Jung Won Bin who seized on a defensive error and burst into the box at an angle, and from about 14 yards out blasted the ball low and it smacked off the base of the post and across the goal and out for a throw in.

Won Bin cursing his luck as his well struck effort failed to give his side the upper hand

Picture courtesy of Gyeongnams official Facebook
Half time and 0-0 was a fair result with the home side having the majority of possession but not really making the away side's keeper Lee Bum Soo make a save of real quality or of note - all to play for after the break.

The second half gets underway and the game started to open up and both sets of players tired in the energy-sapping heat that we are enduring here in Korea. Both sides make changes to freshen things up and the game looks like it's petering out into a dull goal less affair with substitutions ruining the flow of the game somewhat.

At least that was until just as the 4th official raises aloft the added on time board over his head to read four minutes of added on time when we had the most exciting few minutes in the games entire ninety previous minutes. A corner is swung in by the aforementioned Wong Bin for the reds and up rises Marcao, who had been very quiet all game by his lofty high standards. The home side's 'keeper Park Hyeong Soon does well to save the ball on the line but he parries right into the path of the on-rushing midfielder Choi Young Juns who has the simple task of nodding it over the line for 1-0 and surely the three points are heading south. But, alas it proved to be a false dawn for the league-leaders and miraculously Asan, barely two minutes later grabbed a dramatic equalizer to break the away sides hearts.

It came yet again from a corner just floated in from the right-hand side into a crowded penalty area where the away teams defenders failed to clear properly. The ball dropped from the ensuing melee absolutely perfectly for the home side's second half substitute Kim Hyun who put his laces through the ball and fired past the hapless Lee Bum Soo in the Gyeongnam goal.

The game was played out with tired legs thereafter and the man in black blew the whistle to put both players out of their misery.  Cold showers were on the agenda after this one.

In the away strip of white the table toppers applaud the travelling fans after drawing 1 a piece
Picture courtesy of Gyeongnam official Facebook page

Gyeongnam, from snatching a point last week up in Ansan who scored deep in injury time, were on the receiving end of a team doing it to them this week. Busan, surprisingly, were beaten at home by Seongnam by two goals to one so Gyeongnam, by picking a point, move nine points clear at the top of the K League Challenge. Asan dropped to 4th place as Bucheon ran riot against FC Anyang and beat them 6-2, then moved into 3rd place as a result.

Next up for Asan is a short trip to play FC Anyang this Sunday with a 7pm kick off whilst league-leaders Gyeongnam face a vastly improved Seongnam outfit at home this Saturday with a 7pm kick off. This home game is being played at the home of Gimhae FC and not at the usual home ground of the Changwon Football Center.

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