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Recap: FC Seoul 1-2 Gangwon FC

The pressure mounts on FC Seoul manager Hwang Sunhong as, despite taking the lead through Park Chuyoung in the first half, his side fell to a home defeat to a determined Gangwon FC. A second half turnaround sawSunday's visitors to Sangam capitalise on a Seoul side lacking in concentration, confidence, creativity and cohesion with former Seoul striker Jung Jogook's strike just shy of the hour mark proving to be the winner.
(Image via Donga)

FC Seoul manager Hwang Sunhong made just one change to his starting eleven from that which drew with Jeju United the week previous with utility man Go Yohan being replaced by by Ivan Kovacec on the left wing. The Croatian, whose contract is due to expire in the summer, had a positive start to the game, industrious if not a little rusty in his pursuit of the byline and the supplying of crosses for the likes of Park Chuyoung and Anderson Lopes.

For the most part FC Seoul were largely in control for the first 30 minutes or so against a Gangwon side that were set up in a 4-1-4-1 formation to contain. The visitors were more than happy to sit with and frustrate Seoul; Australian defender Dylan McGowan made his first start for Gangwon operated as a defensive midfielder and was seemingly tasked with stopping the supply from midfield from Shin Jinho.

Seoul had plenty of possession and endeavour but didn't look as though they were going to be able to break the deadlock in the first period. That was until, albeit rather fortuitously, Park Chuyoung put the home side in front with barely a minute of the first half remaining.

Goalkeeper Kim Hojun couldn't prevent Park Chuyoung from giving Seoul the lead. (Image via Sports Chosun)
On the stroke of half time, and much to the relief of the Sangam faithful, Seoul found themselves 1-0 up with their number 10 converting from close range with a glancing header after finding space in and around the six yard box, getting on the head of a superb Shin Kwanghoon cross from the right.

In the second period Seoul failed to build on their lead and seemed to be a little sluggish out of the blocks. This proved costly as, just six minutes after the restart, Gangwon got themselves level through, what looked like a Lee Keunho finish, but due to a heavy deflection off of Seoul defender Lee Woonghee wrong-footing goalkeeper Yang Hanbin, Gangwon's equaliser went down as an own goal.

A startled Lee Woonghee diverts the ball past Yang Hanbin to bring the score level. (Image via Donga)
Seoul's reaction was commendable and looked undeterred in their quest to regain the lead, if not a little flustered. Again, as was the case in the first half and indeed during their season opener down in Jeju, plenty of endeavour but a distinct lack of conviction.

And so it was Gangwon who took the lead, turning the game on its head thanks to Jung Jogook, on as a sub to score against his old club. The veteran centre forward's strike was hit with so much force that even the ever-impressive Yang Hanbin couldn't keep it out.

Jung Jogook had a spell with FC Seoul to facilitate his military duty after returning from Nice (Image via Joins)
The move was well worked, too thanks to an accurately driven ball from deep into Đerić on the edge of the box; the Serbian striker made it two assists in as many games by nodding the ball down to Jung Jogook whose first time strike on the half volley flew past Seoul custodian Yang Hanbin. Cue delirium behind the goal where the traveling Gangwon supporters were housed.

Before Gangwon had taken the lead though, and even shortly after, Yang Hanbin had kept Seoul in the game with some quite superb saves. Indeed, defensively Seoul looked relatively assured, instead it was at the other end were problems arose for Hwang Sunhong's men. Accordingly, Kovacec was replaced by Lee Sangho on the wing.

Seoul reacted well since Jung Jogook had put the visitors ahead but were unable to find the right pass in the right areas; on the front foot but look a bit panicked and flustered in possession and just couldn't find a way in on goal.

On 74 minutes Gangwon made a change, with Diego coming on for Jung Seokwha, two minutes later Seoul made a substitution of their own with Evandro coming on to make his debut in replace of Park Chuyoung.

Evandro added an extra dimension to Seoul's attack with his direct style of play and determination and seemed to wake Seoul up somewhat. The former Daegu man went close with a great chance after he had danced his way through on goal but just couldn’t find the target despite being one on one with the ‘keeper.

Still not satisfied with how his team were performing in the final third, Hwang Sunhong made another change with young forward Cho Youngwook making his home debut, coming on for defensive midfielder Jung Hyeoncheol in a tactical reshuffle. However, despite Seoul having an extra men in the final third, they were largely devoid of ideas.

The game finished 2-1 to Gangwon and will be a result that will be a genuine concern for Hwang Sunhong whose side were booed off at full time. Up next for the Seoul is the trip to Jeonju to take on Champions Jeonbuk Hyundai and, given the performances from the likes of Anderson Lopes and goal aside, Park Chuyoung, it may be time for the likes of Cho Youngwook and Evandro to get a chance from the start.

The first five or six matches of the new campaign were always going to be tough given the amount changes to the team during the winter. But, Hwang Sunhong's team may need something that he perhaps won't be afforded - time. Given the way that the season ended for Seoul lastyear, unceremoniously finishing fifth and missing out on ACL football, Hwang Sunhong will be feeling the pressure and even admitted that he understands the fans' feelings of discontent following Sunday's defeat. But, neither Seoul nor Hwang have time to lick their wounds because of how big of a game the trip to Jeonju Castle is. If Seoul don't get anything from the game in Jeonju next Sunday, or indeed against Suwon Bluewings on the 8th April, it would mean that Seoul have come up short against three of their so-called fellow ACL contenders and it could well be the beginning of the end for Hwang Sunhong as manager.


Substitutes: Yoo Hyun (GK), Lee Sangho (Kovacec '62), Evandro (Park Chuyoung '77), Kim Hangil, Cho Youngwook (Jung Hyeoncheol '82), Park Dongjin, Kwak Taehwi.

Substitutes: Lee Beomyoung (GK), Lee Taeho, Jung Jogook (Kim Kyungjung '46), Diego (Jung Seokhwa '75), Kim Seungyong (Park Jungsoo '84), Park Changjun, Kim Youngshin

Referee: Kim Daeyoung
Assistants: Lee Jungmin, Kim Gyeyong
Fourth Official: Ko Hyungjin
Attendance: 14, 893

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