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The #KLeagueFM18 Challenges: Citizens Unite! [Part 3]

Carrying on from our inconsistent form in the last three matches, sees us having a hectic schedule of five matches in the space of two weeks. The highlight of which is a trip to league leaders Gyeongnam. Time for managerial experience to shine through here all five weeks of it... At least one of those games is a University team can't lose that surely?  


Previous Installments: Part 1 Part 2

Gyeongnam away

After packing the bags the night before and cramming the players into a small bus, we set off south to Gyeongnam for a match that the press are calling a Gyeongnam walk over. In fairness they're not wrong, they have one of the best overall squads in the league with players like the Brazilian Marcao who can make a real difference on his day.

After 6 hours of watching nothing but highlights of their matches, I've been scared into making line up changes to a weirdly formatted 4-1-2-3. Bit more on the defensive side as Gyeongnam scoring 8 goals in 3 games makes me question our ability to play our controlling the midfield strategy.

Weird Formation for Gyeongnam

You Ho-Jun drops to plug the gap between the midfield and attack of Gyeongnam and our defensive line drops slightly further back to protect against the long balls to the big men. With the team talk going well and four players nodding back out of mute respect we head to the tunnel for kick off.

~Kick Off~

The first half kicks off just as the press predicted with Gyeongnam absolutely dominating the early stages. They spent the first half hitting our post three times and causing Jeon Su-Hyun to make four top draw saves to keep us in it till half time 0-0. We've had the ball a grand total of about 2 times and we kicked off.

A rally cry that would give braveheart a run for its money at half time, seemingly inspires the players and I'm going to tweak the tactics back to normal with moving back Ho-Jun further up in the midfield.

The half time changes worked!!! The pushing up of You Ho-Jun meant he was in position to be running past the defensive live just as a killer ball is played by In-Beon. Deft finish by Ho-Jun makes it one nil to the good for Daejeon! This could be the first of many magical away days for us.

However the second half keeps going much the way of the first half despite the goal, Gyeongnam create chance after chance to score. In the 75th the ball breaks to Marcao. I'm thinking this is it I'm already planning my next defensive sub to hold for the draw, but no Su-Hyun keeps up his form with a cat like save to his near post. He hasn't really shown his worth in the previous games but the former Jeju man is coming up good here.

90th minute, they've had 20 shots on goal thanks to great goalkeeping and the woodwork we are holding our slender lead, 94th minute free kick to us makes me think its all over, with only 2 players up for this kick this should be the final chance. It's in! The ball in by the defensive substitute meets the head of In-Beon to nip in ahead of the slow defense to score! 2-0 Daejeon it's all over. Massive 3 points away here.

Stats Gyeong
Post match stats from the smash and grab at Gyeongnam

Fa Cup midweek

If you want to read a really good FA Cup blog post then I would recommend this. It discusses the importance of the final of the 2016-2017 FA Cup by Ulsan Hyundai fan Mike O'Neill.

I will be taking the FA Cup very serious as to achieve my long term aim of getting success early.  With that being said eight of the starting eleven will be switched and the formation changed. This is due to the caliber of opposition, and game time requirements/fitness of other players being that we have Anyang three days later. We should be firm favorites for this tie reflected in the 1-33 odds, even with my team changes this line up should be good enough.

Formation for FA CUP.png

The first half starts as the media predicted, with dangerous pot shots being taken by our rotated squad trying to prove themselves. I't doesn't take long to break the deadlock but not the way you would of predicted. With an own goal from a honestly poor Ho-Suk cross is awkwardly knocked in for 1-0.

This could get ugly for Ulsan University as a inspired solo run by Rae-Se makes it 2-0 the pacey winger brought in during preseason, runs the 40 yards and smashes it into the corner. Half time score stops at 2-0, surprisingly Ulsan University got a little more of the ball and had a chance, maybe won't be as easy as I thought.

After some half time changes in players for fitness, Gwan-Pyo the big money signing in the 71st volley's it hard enough for the keeper to palm into his own net. Chang-Hyun still hasn't got a goal but a lovely assist.

Speak of the devil! 80th minute and it's here his first goal of the competitive season running to the near post a little flick over the keeper sees it go 4-0 Daejeon. Final score finished 4-0. Great victory proud of the team. Maybe it was just me but I'm pretty sure I heard some mutterings of people saying we're going to Wembley?

Anyang at home


With the Fa Cup first round going as easily as it did we head into this game with confidence flowing, although our home form in the league has been poor. This should be the first home win of the season right here. Heading down the tunnel, nothing changed in the last 3 days just replacing the Fa Cup rotated team with the original line up. Fans seem to be warming to me as I spot a British flag in the crowd.

The love has been re-payed in the 33rd minute when our star man, Kim Chan-Hee slams home from outside the box to make it 1-0. What a goal wonderful start to the first half. Dominant first half not even a chance for Anyang to shoot even with the injected Kim Jin-Kyu at the back limping around.

Second half kick offs with some tactics changing with a slightly lower tempo because of tiredness at the back hoping to just drag the game out for the win. Chan-Hee has a great chance to add to his goal immediately from kick off, but bottles it and fails to pull the trigger and walks the ball into the Neuer-esque Anyang goalies hands.

70th minute, yet another Chan-Hee chance as he blasts into the away fan section, luckily no one was there, if he was better at finishing he would of had a hat-trick. Another poor performance finishing wise by Chang-Hyun as well , although he scored in the cup his league record is making me doubt that transfer rating. I'll keep him on see if he's just adjusting to the tempo.

The early goal seems to have settled it as the ball is just slowly rolling around echoed by cheers on each pass. Final score 1-0, a dominant performance allowing no real attempts by Anyang because of the midfield control, if only we were more clinical upfront. Concerning when the season gets longer if we are still relying on 1 goal margins. However, that victory pushes us to joint top of the league with Seongnam so I'll worry about that day when it comes.

League Table.png
An unexpected early league table standing for the Daejeon faithful.

Asan Mugunghwa


Lead up to this match in the press is that its a key match of the season already, the Challenge reporters are really trying to build hype here only five games in. Kim Dong-Sub the Busan military service player is lighting up the league with, 5 goals and 2 assists in 5 games. He is also a player I'm looking to purchase when we're hopefully promoted. Marking him out of the game will be key factor for any chance of winning.

After spending a team talk detailing how I want the defense to take him out every chance they get, we head out to the Purple Arena to loud cheers. The players look a bit fatigued in the line up today the congestion of games might have an effect, the lack of trust in my second string hopefully won't drop points here.

In the 14th minute the heavily knee strapped Kim Jin-Kyu from outside the box on a strange CB run rattles the crossbar, unlucky but get back you mad man. The attacks don't stop there. In the 27th minute, Chan-Hee crosses over from the right and into the open feet of Rae-Se to easily score, 1-0. We are looking very dominate here in the early stages. Extremely pleased with our ability to control the wings this is going to become a staple of our game.

It continues again when in the 40th minute Rae-Se gets the ball and curls it into the top corner, he runs away screaming so am I looking like a Klopp tribute act I must of ran further than our keeper has all game. When the noise of a whistle sounds I stop dead. The Referee has signaled for a box...VAR gets used and the goal is chalked off for offside. Still 1-0 I guess as a hands in the pockets I walk back to the technical area.

84th minute after no chances for Asan, Kim Sung-Hyun misses his header for the clearance, the ball bobbles to the new substitute of Park Se-Jik who easily dispatches the ball 1-1. We have been well and truly robbed here, getting karma for that Gyeongnam win this early in the season wasn't the plan.

Final score a disappointing, VAR used 1-1 draw. This is points dropped.

Bucheon Away


After four games in a short span of time and the Gwangju Cup match on the horizon. Huge squad rotation is a must, the line up is heavily affected here. Some players are even making their Daejeon debut under me, expectations are low and the Daejeon fans who have made the long journey have looks on their face of disappointment. 

Formation for Bucheon.jpg
The rotated squad of youngsters average age of 24.

The dressing room tension is palpable as players look nervous even getting the shirt on. Going around each player and assuring them that they deserve this chance seems to have worked, a few smiles and jokes start. Leading our way out the Bucheon tunnel even I'm nervous. 

Early stages of the match are looking positive when in the 10th minute, set free from Ho-Suk, Chang-Hyun who hasn't scored in the league makes a run like a horse being set free and scores with style. He runs off crying he's that happy 1-0! I always had faith. Who said you can't win anything with kids.

Ridiculous penalty call by the referee in the 43rd crashes us down to earth, claiming a push by my starting 18 year old CB. This is why we need foreign referees. Up steps Byeong-Joo for Bucheon. He shoots keepers left, not savable 1-1. Bucheon have got their tails up here and are destroying our second string line up.The fullbacks especially are getting easily beaten. Just as I've came to this conclusion to make a change,  Bucheon make a delightful cross, leads to a Won-Jae goal. Fully deserved we have looked poor since the penalty.

Trying to get back into the game, we throw on some of the Cup starters but its too little too late as they can't adapt to the tempo of the game and squander chances. The fans aren't booing but I can feel the looks burning a hole through the back of my head.

Lost 2-1, Over prioritization of the cup and too much squad rotation followed by poor decisions leads to an embarrassing loss causing us to slip to 5th. I can't blame anyone but myself here as we simply lacked the quality. Hopefully the younger players don't take this too badly as a few look distraught.

TL:DR


3 wins out a possible 5 games, one of which was in the cup against a University team, karma gave to us and took straight away.  We didn't look our best but I accept that if we put a good performance next week it will all be worth it. Onto Gwangju in the Cup. 

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