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Review: Gyeongnam FC 4-2 Daejeon Citizen

Top played bottom on Wednesday night at the Changwon Football Center with the league leaders Gyeongnam FC eventually coming out on top.  But basement dwellers Daejeon Citizen can take positives from this game despite their second half collapse against a powerful outfit in champions elect Gyeongnam FC having lead at half time.
Image by Naver sports.

A balmy night on Wednesday saw Daejeon Citizen coming three hours south and pit their wits against run away leaders Gyeongnam FC. Both sides rang some changes with the away side dropping leading scorer Danalache to the bench to the surprise of many. Danalache had plied his trade with the reds last season and surely he would of loved to have started against his former employersThe home side also rang some changes but mainly due to suspension with key defender Choi Jaesoo banned for 3 games for a straight red card up at Bucheon last week, and midfield lynch pin Jung Hyunchul who had picked up 3 yellow cards. The league leaders shuffled the pack and still had a strong starting 11 to call upon.

In the first ten minutes of the game, to everyone surprise, Daejeon where bossing proceedings, knocking the ball about very nicely indeed. It looked like men in purple were the league leaders and certainly not the South Gyeongsang outfit. The home side's bench became very animated and the coaching staff were barking orders to the players to improve things.

The deadlock was deservedly broken on the 18th minute mark by the away side through live wire forward Jung Minwoo with  a very fortunate opener. The ball was struck goal wards by Daejeon's winger Bruno. It struck the out-rushing Jung Minwoo on his calf and totally wrong footed Lee Joonhee in the home side's goal: 1-0 to the bottom placed side. The form book being turned right upside down.

Gyeongnam huffed and puffed and put pressure on the Purples' goal but with no real clear cut chances being created at all. The home fans were getting increasingly agitated and the mood was getting anxious around the stadium. To make matters worse as half time approached Daejeon doubled their lead and it came from a lovely 14-15 pass team goal. I even applauded. First goalscorer Jung Minwoo was at it again and struck the ball home at the far post from a lovely enticing cross from former Gyeongnam player Lee Heoseok. The home side's players were as shocked as were the fans: 2-0 down at home against the leagues bottom side. What's going on? All credit to Daejeon as they had been by far the better side and Gyeongnam had not took them seriously enough, I feel and I knew that the manager Kim Jongboo would lay into them. He is a ruthless tactician and he wouldn't have accepted that kind of a performance from the reds.

Manager Kim Jongboo was fuming at half time, pictured above, and rang the changes.
Image via Daum Sports

As I thought, the manager made two very attacking substitutions at half time bringing on winger Bae Kijeong and attacking midfielder Kim Sunwoo, who recently signed from Jeju United. He has been brilliant for Gyeongnam since joining about a month ago.

Within 10 minutes of the restart Gyeongnam had a better tempo to their game and were starting to pull Daejeon all over the park and you could see Gyeongnam starting to dominate. The home side's Brazilian Bruno somehow from five yards out smacked the bar with a diving header. Then the comeback started when supersub Kijeong scored at the back post with a header which crept in.  Kijeong has a real knack of scoring when coming off the bench, an experienced campaigner who always seems to be in the right place at the right time to score. Game well and truly on again.  Daejeon brought on Danlanche to make the ball stick better up front and to try and stop the wave and wave of home sides attacks.

Everyone then saw Daejeon just wilt under pressure after the home side put them to the sword in a devastating six minute period. The leveller came just three minutes later from the league's top marksman in Marcao who buried an effort low down to the away keepers left side after he connected beautifully with a cross cut back to him. He is lethal in front of goal if you give him space in the six yard box like that; 2-2 and the home side grabbed the ball and rushed back to the half way line. The body language was astounding from both sides. The total opposite of the 1st half.

The third goal came from the unlikely source of right back Woo Jusung who was left totally unmarked from a corner at the back post and he had the simple task of nodding it over the line despite the efforts of an away sides defender to keep it out.  Bedlem in the ground, fans and players alike jumping for joy. Daejeon players shell shocked, lying motionless on the floor.

Right back Woo Jusung mobbed by his team mates after putting the reds 3-2 up
 Image via Daum sports.

The game had been turned on his head in some style and Gyeongnam really showed everyone why they are looking down upon everyone else in the league. They smelt blood and they pounced. To add insult to injury for Daejeon, Marcao smashed home a fourth from about 20 yards with 10 minutes remaining, bending in an effort just past the out stretched Jeon Soohyun. Game well and truly over.  What a comeback. A masterclass in management with the home side's substitutions at the break, both subs totally changed the game.

Daejeon can take heart by their first half performance where they totally dominated. But even more concerning was how they folded without a fight in the 2nd half. The table doesn't lie after 26 games.  The reds now can smell the finishing line and a return to the Classic is within touching distance. Thirteen points clear now on 60 points, with only 10 games remaining. It's their's to lose now. Daejeon remain bottom with 19 points and only have pride to play for now.

Gyeongnam travel to play Seoul E-Land on Saturday 26th August.  7pm kick off.
Daejeon have a home clash with Seongnam FC on Sunday 27th August.  7pm kick off.

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