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The #KLeagueFM18 Challenges: Citizens Unite! [Part 8]


The roller coaster that is Daejeon Citizen's season carries on with important fixtures against Asan, Ansan and Suwon FC leading up to the Quarter Final match of Pohang Away. Can we continue our strong form in the league and cup or will we fall apart at the Steelyard. 


Previous Installments: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7


Prematch News

Transfer news, after selling our two foreigners last week. Even though after playing no games since I took charge. It has only now just dawned on the team that we have a lack of attacking options. With a journalist approaching me with a inside source saying the team is scared of injuries. I bet it was Ho-Suk. To solve this problem and appease the media, I scouted around who we could pick up for cheap with some decent talent. Jeonbuk had listed young striker, Cho Suk-Jae for 40k. After some negotiations this was brought down to 28k. For a player who previously scored 19 in the Challenge this could be an astute signing. Transfer Rating 7/10

Heading into the Asan fixture, who are top of the league. Jin-Kyu makes his way back into the line up and the suspended Sin-Young is out for this fixture. Hopefully the defensive changes won't cause any issues as that's been our main strength this year. Nothing else changes but Jin-Ho's impressing in training might mean at least a second half for the big man.

My assistant's prematch analysis might as well be a YouTube montage of Kim Dong-Sub goals for Asan. He comes into this game with 21 goals and 11 assists in 20 games. He is even more frightening than Waguinho and he scored against us. Sitting Jin-Kyu down and telling him to do some dark arts to get him out of the game will be important.

Kick Off


Apart from defensive changes we line up with the usual forward line, nearly every player has specific instructions for space and man marking. Asan are simply too good to allow them to dictate play so getting in their faces is out strategy. We start the game in the worst possible way as two minutes in and our pre match fear was correct, the ball goes down our right side. An unfortunate missed interception allows Asan's Ji-Ho to perfectly weight a cross for Dong-Sub to score, 1-0 in 2 minutes. He is just unstoppable right now with a goal in nearly every game.

The poor start doesn't end there as in our panic to try and attack from kick off we lose the ball sloppily, it gets recycled back to Ji-Ho who crosses again before any player can get there. The ball is missed by my defence with flying legs and arms in the box. Sung-Jin for Asan remains calm and slots it home for 2-0, these crosses are deadly by Ji-Ho. Terrible opening.

After the initial blunders we seem to have settled into the match, with the rain hitting hard our final ball seems just be out of reach but we're showing encouraging signs. Total football from us there, four players were involved all showing off their skills. Chang-Hyun chests the ball over the defenders with a leap across the back line right into Chan-Hee to score just out of the keepers reach in the bottom left corner.

This game is turning crazy and it's all because of Chang-Hyun's chest. Playing like a real target man just outside the box he chests it down for In-Beon outside the box to score a screamer into the corner of the net. 2-2 here. Incredible comeback, great half of football being shown here. Asan scored two goals in the space of five minute and so have we.

Half time and both defenses have looked poor, but the attacking prowess is really showing through, I didn't think we would ever be in a shoot out this year with our team but it's whats happening tonight. No changes but with Suk-Jae and Jin-Ho on the bench expect a striker soon. 

Both teams attacking well in the second half with near misses at both ends, but it's us who concede first. Our defensive changes play a part when a terrible back pass by the young Jae-Woo is stolen onto by Ji-Ho and he's not missing the goal from that distance 3-2 Asan.

It's the Ji-Ho show here as he breaks through in our box and curves the ball past our keeper, 4-2 Asan. He has scored twice and assisted twice. The only goal of the game that wasn't caused by our own hand. Maybe time for some late drama here in the 91st minute, the ball is played in by Rae-Se and the new Daejeon player Suk-Jae hits it low and hard into ground, bouncing into the goal for 4-3. The moment we score the whistle is blew for full time, we couldn't stop the goal machine that is Asan.


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Defensive errors caused us to fall apart in a high scoring match. Han Ji-Ho playing like Mo Salah on the wing didn't help.

Pre-Ansan Away


If we play defensively the same way we did verses Asan, we could be heading for a big drop out of the playoff's with a loss to last placed Ansan Greeners.

Team news ring out major changes, even after his two assists Chang-Hyun is dropped for Jin-Ho to make his starting debut, the old man needs the match fitness. Jae-Woo is dropped after his back pass led to our lost points as well. Side note Seoul's bidding repeatedly for Hwang In-Beon is making his head get turned, we need K-League Classic desperately.

Transfer News


With the transfer window closing in a week, offers were coming thick and fast for our players. Our captain 32 year old Kim Jin-Kyu the ex Seoul player is wanted by Gangwon this time for £180k. For a 32 year old and on the decline. I had no choice, but before signing I had to make sure we would have a player coming in who was of the same quality. Transfer Rating to sell 7/10

Yeon Je-Woon, the Seongnam player at the age of 22. who was already considered by my scouts to be on par with Jin-Kyu is bundled through the door and once the transfer of 80k is confirmed. We will be seeing a whole new defensive partnership.  Transfer Rating 9/10

Ansan Kick Off


With the prematch media talk all about the transfers in the league and with the captain rumored to be leaving, it's took a toll on the morale. Even with handling of the team talk the players look despondent. It's shown in the first half as quite literally nothing has happened. Ansan who look happy to play for the draw aren't coming out and our attacking players look un-creative.  The first half draws to a close 0-0 with the only highlight being a In-Beon shot that went over the stadium.

With the last match being action packed this is anything but with 7 of the first half shots being clear of the ground. Half time changes are plenty with Suk-Jae brought on to inject his pace.
Corner in the 70th, the returning Sin-Young wins the near post header flicks it to the back post. For the possibly last game of Jin-Kyu's Daejeon career as he toe pokes it home for 1-0. He runs off kissing celebrating like he knows it's his last game. Good way to end his Citizens career.

Long ball in the 85th, which goes over the Ansan defence. It's latched onto by Suk-Jae who rounds the keeper and scores into the empty net 2-0. Finished 2-0 to Daejeon Citizens FC, Ansan looked poor and proved their bottom of the league status with no real threat the entire match.

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MoTM, Kim Jin-Kyu possible last game for Daejeon.


Transfers confirmed, with Jin-Kyu now at Gangwon. Je-Woon from Seongnam looks like a overall better option especially being 10 years younger he is straight into the first team for Suwon FC.

Suwon FC Away


Suk-Jae leads the line after 2 goals in 2 appearances, in comes the new Je-Woon at CB, after much deliberation between Su-Hyun and Chan-Hee the captains armband goes to Chan-Hee. He's our top goal scorer this year and second most appearances, hopefully he can replicate the Jin-Kyu atmosphere.

Both teams start well with Suwon just edging the first fifteen minutes, a long shot by the Suwon midfield is cannoned onto the bar and the rebound effort is scuffed wide, we can breathe a sigh of relief as that trickled past the post. 

Suk-Jae makes an incredible run abusing his pace and is dragged down in the box by the Suwon CB, VAR penalty to us. With Jin-Kyu gone I'm unsure who will step up here. Up steps In-Beon big moment for the youngster with the bright future and he chokes. Easy save for the Suwon goalkeeper doesn't even have to move as it's kicked into his open arms. Poor penalty because of my forgetting to  change the takers, hopefully my managerial mistake doesn't cost us three points.

It's the Suk-Jae show again, he is causing them all sorts of problems with his pace, he makes a great run dragging the entire team over to him allowing Chan-Hee to cut across the last defender and easily drags it home for 1-0. This connection of pace and movement might be our new style of play.

Chan-Hee in the 31st gets a freekick just outside the box and curls it top bins for 2-0. In the process of celebrating he injures his knee jumping. The crowd goes silent with Pohang in 7 days everyone prays it's not serious, He is the catalyst to most of our victories so the moment a sub is allowed he is taken off the pitch and hand carried to the medical room.

Oh my days, water bottles are flying everywhere for that goal. Suk-Jae passes through to Rae-Se who looks bored from distance and just rockets one into the goal instead of walking, that's going into the end of season montage. He's scored a couple of screamers this year but that might be the pick of the bunch.

Half time score being 3-0, changes are made with the Quarter Finals match in 7 days, In-Beon is off, Chan-Hee is off and Ho-Jun is took off. We've looked in complete control with our counter attacks apart from that long shot early on, this looks like a easy three pointer.

Hopefully I haven't took off too many of our important players and spoken too soon, when in the 47th minute, a wonderful passing sequence for Suwon FC leads to a honestly great goal. They walked it through our defense to score an un-savable shot past Su-Hyun 3-1.

Second half is all Suwon FC but we are weathering the storm, looking very nervy but the 85th minute still sees us 3-1 ahead. Final score is 3-1. We couldn't create anything in the second half but that's mainly due to the substitutes. All the focus is on everyone's praying for our top goal scorer Chan-Hee to not be really hurt for Pohang. Luckily the doctor says he's okay to travel to Pohang.

Pohang Quarter Finals FA Cup


The rematch of the 2001 finals that Daejeon won is finally here. Pohang come into this game tired after a game against Jeonnam Dragons 3 days previously, we're not fully 100% either but spirits are high. The line up is causing me a lot of headaches, do I start Chang-Hyun or Suk-Jae...

FA Cup trophy.jpg
What all this is for, the elusive FA Cup trophy.
Image courtesy of http://seeblind.tistory.com.


After hours of talking with coaches and reviewing the Suwon FC game, we decide to line up the exact starting 11 again verses Pohang away. All eyes on Chan-Hee and Suk-Jae here to carry us over the line, Chan-Hee has 79% fitness but a passed medical means he's first name on the team sheet. It's unfortunate Jin-Kyu isn't still here to complete his FA Cup run but Je-Woon is a worthy replacement.

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Pohang line up is very strong with multiple threats, this will be the hardest game of the season. Spirits are high and the team talk went without hiccups. This is Daejeon's time! Especially with a whopping 1,756 away fans making the trip, let's get the Steelyard rocking.

Kick Off


Strong tackles are flying in from both teams early, it's reminiscent of AFC Wimbledon vs Liverpool cup final, screams of pain from every corner of the pitch. If we can use our physicality to get an advantage over the superior league one team we will. The instruction 'Get stuck in' is shouted into every player from the sidelines.

We've held out for a while but in the 24th minute we finally concede. We had been looking a bit nervous as normal passes were going astray, one of them is punished as a Thales cross is met by Bo-Min at the back-post to slide it in with his thigh. 1-0 Pohang.

OHHH but it's a stunner! A 30 yard stunner by Ho-Jun who is surrounded by team mates immediately like it was a winner, the old man has grabbed this game by the scruff of the neck. His clear experience is showing next to Gwan-Pyo and In-Beon who look like children following the ball, but he is not going down without a fight. 1-1, 27 minutes in what a goal a perfect instant reply.

Golden chance for Suk-Jae to complete the comeback but his shot is whiskers wide, a small part of my head is screaming Chang-Hyun would of buried that but can't dwell on such thoughts in a quarter final. After that goal we are playing much better, it seems to have given us more confidence that Pohang can be beaten. The fans as well are loosening up with chants from the purple faithful lifting morale. We go into half time 1-1, looking good value for holding on here. Pohang have had the better chances but we seem to be determined to prove we belong.

Half time substitution of Chang-Hyun coming on for Suk-Jae and a tactical change of sitting slightly deeper because of the constant crosses.

Those pesky Pohang crosses I was worried about happen again, a moment of lost concentration by Sang-Hoon, allows Seung-Dae to beat his marker and the space and time he's got means a perfectly floated ball to the back post is again met by Bo-Min to head home. We need to rally to come back into this game, they just seem a step above us in all areas.

We're sinking without a trace here, the endless Pohang attacks are too much for us to handle, after kicking down Thales. The resulting freekick is scored by that man Bo-Min again. It's a harmless looking freekick but it's slipped under Su-Hyun's hands. We change to a 3 at the back to try and get a goal with the last 20 minutes, Daejeon fans haven't given up hope yet and keep bouncing but they might have to be a 12th, 13th and 14th man if we are to get anything out of this game. Pohang are just a step to far for the 'Gwangju Killers'.

That's all she wrote, our great run in this year's FA Cup has been ended by a Bo-Min hat trick, we looked strong but three moments of concentration and that's all it takes at this level. We will be back, 2018-2019 will be Daejeon Citizens year to shine.

TL:DR


Sadness for Daejeon fans as our fairy tale run comes to an end, our league form is still strong so that's a positive. We tried our best in the cup and really gave it a good go but the class difference was too much to overturn with just hope. Walking back home will be a sad time tonight. Even with the Up's and down's we follow the club through the journey from Challenge to Champions.  


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