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Recap: Gyeongnam 3-1 Sangju Sangmu

Any questions that were raised of whether Marcao could make the step up K League 1 were firmly put to bed on Sunday afternoon in quite emphatic fashion. To describe it as a quite stunning debut in the K1 for the Reds' big target man would have been an understatement. He created all the headlines with a hat-trick but his day was to end on a sour note as the Brazilian then got himself sent off for two bookable offences.  It didn't matter to the end result as Gyeongnam ran out 3-1 winners over Sangju Sangmu.
(Image via Yonhap)

A healthy crowd were in attendance as newly promoted Gyeongnam hosted army outfit Sangju Sangmu at the Changwon Football Center on a very overcast afternoon for their K League 1 opener.  When the team sheets were announced to all the home crowds surprise Croatian centre back Ivan wasn't even in the squad - a late injury caused him to miss the clash. He was a mainstay last season so instantly, thoughts of a weakened defence could fill Sangju with added confidence going into the game.

The first half got underway and both sides, for a first game of the season encounter, were playing some lovely football at times. Sangju posses some really good players such as attacking wing back and national team player Hong Chul who really impressed down the left hand side. Always a threat going forward, he gave the Reds' full back Woo Ju Sung a torrid afternoon at times.

Sangju started to boss proceedings and were knocking the ball around with great purpose all over the pitch. Then against the run of play on 11 minutes, Gyeongnam took a surprise lead. A corner on the left-hand side was whipped in by new signing Brazilian Negueba, a scramble ensued after the initial header was not cleared properly, and from the resulting melee, it fell perfectly into the path of Marcao who smashed the ball passed Yoon Sang Hoon in the Sangju net from no more than eight yards. Gyeongnam up 1-0 and what a great start for the promoted side in their return to the big time.

To the away sides credit they came back strongly and if it wasn't for two outstanding saves by the home side's Son Jung Hyun, the army side would have been back on level terms before the half time break. The first save in particular was simply unreal, stretching full length to his right to tip a curling effort from the lively Choi Jin Ho round the post to keep the Reds in the ascendancy going into half time. With the score at 1-0 to the home side at the break the majority of the crowd inside the ground went for their half time refreshments in a happy mood.

A lively start to the second half saw three goals in a ten minute spell. This wasn't before we had witnessed a truly shocking miss by the home side's target man Marcao at an angle in a one-on-one with the 'keeper. He somehow managed to drag his shot wide of the right-hand post to the dismay of the home fans and was one of those he would normally put away with ease. However, he would certainly make up for that miss a few minutes later.

The ball broke free to the home side's energetic attacking midfielder Kwon Yong Hyun in the centre circle, he sped clear of the Sangju midfield and slipped a lovely weighted pass into Marcao's feet. The Brazilian, approaching the edge of the box, curled a delightful effort past the out stretched arms of Yoon Sang Hoon. Cue joy and cheers in the home crowd. Dream land: 2-0 up in their first game back in the K1. Marcao really has taken to this league like a duck to water.

Sangju never stopped running all game and were full of legs throughout. They got themselves well and truly back in the game with a very well taken goal by their main striker,  Joo Min Kyu. He anticipated a knock down from their emergency striker (a defender by trade) Lee Kwang Seon who had been pushed up front to try and get the away side back in the game. He ran onto the flick on and coolly flicked the ball passed the on rushing Son Jung Hyun, 2-1 and game on again.

Literally thirty seconds later the game was put to bed by who else but the man of the moment Marcao. A break down the right-hand side again fell to the ever-running Young Hyun. He saw the over lapping Marcao, and slid a perfect ball into his path. The striker needed no invitation and he just put his laces through the ball, and if flew into the corner to put the home side up 3-1. A truly remarkable finish given that it was at a very tight angle. The only place he could of scored that was the exact place he put it in. Lethal finishing.

The game was a stop start affair thereafter. Sangju were knocking long balls into the Gyeongnam box trying to use their height advantage to get back into the game. The home side held on strong though, to their credit. The referee, who I thought could of let the game flow more throughout, kept blowing his whistle for needless challenges meaning both benches were becoming very animated. The army team bought on ex-Gyeongnam favourite to try and get back in the game in Yoon Bit Garam with fifteen minutes to go.

Then on 79 minutes Marcao did the unthinkable and he gets himself sent off for a second yellow card. At first no one in the crowd knew what had happened as the challenge seemed a a little soft. But after watching the replay, referee Kim Woo Sung got the decision spot on; a flailing elbow into the face of a Sangju defender jumping for a high ball. The Reds striker's first yellow card was for a late challenge early in the first half and meant it was an early bath for the big man.

Hat-trick hero Marcao receiving his marching orders on Sunday.
(Image via Yonhap)

Sangju saw blood and bombarded the home sides goal for the remaining 10 minutes or so. The Red's defence stood tall and defended resolutely with Son Jung Hyun between the sticks again saving everything thrown at him.

The final whistle was greeting with relief as Sangju pressed and pressed throughout the last part of the half. It was a backs to the wall job for the Reds' defence but they came through it very well.

A bittersweet day for Marcao personally who celebrated with the home side afterwards but his face told a different story; angry and disappointed that he knew he will miss next weeks clash at home with Jeju United.

Attendance - 5,117

Referee: Kim Woo Sung.
Assistants: Kwak Seung Soon, Kim Gye Yong
Fourth official: Jo Ji Im    

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