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Super Match Recap: FC Seoul 0-0 Suwon Bluewings

Super Match Recap Match Report Suwon Samsung Bluewings 0-0 FC Seoul
A Super Match stalemate meant that Suwon Bluewings' inability to win in front of their own supporters continued on Sunday as Seo Jungwon's men drew 0-0 with the old enemy FC Seoul in what was 2018's first meeting between these two K League giants. The result also means that Hwang Sunhong's FC Seoul side are still without a win this season and find themselves languishing in the lower reaches of the table and joint bottom of the league, further adding to the pressure for Hwang to deliver results with an expectant Seoul fan base beginning to lose patience. 
(Image via K League)

The biggest and most anticipated game in the K League, the Super Match, didn't quite live up to its billing by ended in a 0-0 draw on Sunday, with both managers doing little to ease the pressure that they are currently feeling.

Whilst FC Seoul's Hwang Sunhong looked a dejected and frankly downtrodden individual after the stalemate at Big Bird, ambling through the mixed zone with a look of bewilderment combined with worry, Seo Jungwon's demeanour was that of a man who appeared to be simply apologetic. Both Suwon Bluewings' Seo Jungwon and FC Seoul's Hwang Sunhong remarked that the game bared little resemblance to other Super Matches that had preceded Sunday's frigid affair which perhaps came at the wrong time for both clubs.

After Suwon's heavy and damaging loss to Sydney FC in the ACL the Tuesday prior, Seo will have been eager to get a positive result in front of his team's own supporters for the first time since January. But, the Bluewings were cautious and appeared somewhat timid after Sydney FC had taught Suwon a lesson in tactics last Tuesday and so, despite being at home, offered very little in the final third. Meanwhile, FC Seoul made the short trip south to Suwon with just two points on the board and a mere three goals to their name in 2018. A clean sheet and a point won't be seen as the end of the world for Seoul in particular but question marks will remain over both managers who are under pressure to deliver silverware after a busy transfer market.

FC Seoul's Hwang Sunhong said that whilst he was "surprised" at the result, he reaffirmed his belief that his team just needed to "try a bit harder". The statistics read a different story, however, with Seoul having more than 60% of the possession in both halves; there was plenty of endeavour, it was in the final third where problems arose for a yet win-less FC Seoul. Hwang's side amassed just two shots on target all afternoon from a total of seven attempts on goal.

Anderson Lopes, despite a positive first half with some intricate link up play with Evandro, looked leggy in the second and spurned several attempts with tame shots on goal. Suwon goalkeeper Shin Hwayong, after a less than stellar performance in midweek against Sydney, was not tested enough and kept a clean sheet almost by default. Evandro, making his first start for FC Seoul after recovering from a hamstring problem, did however add some drive and determination to Seoul's attack and ought to be seen as a positive moving forward should the former Daegu attacker's fitness worries be well and truly behind him.

Credit also must be given to FC Seoul's back line who dealt with anything that Suwon Bluewings had to offer them which, in truth, wasn't all that much. The service into Dejan was a problem all afternoon until the Montenegrin ace was eventually substituted in the 82nd minute, and the likes of Kwak Taewhi and Hwang Hyunsoo at the heart of Seoul's back four looked assured and had any long balls well scouted.

Speaking to the national media after the game Hwang said that "If both teams put pressure on each other, there will be a variety of situations, but it is difficult to have a lively game if teams play so defensively."

Although the game did finish goalless, the match itself had its talking points. The much-maligned VAR proved its worth by assisting referee Kim Dongjin in chalking off a Jung Hyeoncheol goal for handball. Initially, it appeared at first that there were question marks as to whether the FC Seoul players attacking the free-kick that was sent into the box were offside but replays showed that the former Gyeongnam midfielder had used his hand to convert the ball past Shin Hwayong.

In the 71st minute VAR had a role to play again, this time in deciding Choi Seungkeun's fate and had a helping hand in sending the central midfielder for an early bath after what was adjudged to be a dangerous tackle on Jung Hyeoncheol. Replays showed that Choi's challenge was a fraction late and, given how quickly both players were moving, resulted Choi's studs digging into Jung's ankle and left the referee with little choice but to produce the red card.

Most discussion, though, will be how both teams can respond. Suwon Bluewings are away to Gangwon on Wednesday and, given their form on the road, may be seen as the favourites. Seoul, meanwhile, face a tough test in an impressive Pohang Steelers side at home. Hwang Sunhong, meanwhile, will perhaps feel that he needs to get a result against the club he won the double with in 2013 to save his job with contract due to expire out at the end of the season. A positive result against Pohang will not be easy as, despite the loss to Jeonbuk Hyundai at the weekend, the Steelers are still just three points behind league leaders Gyeongnam after an electric start to 2018 under Choi Soonho.

Full Time Analysis from Big Bird including reaction from Dejan Damjanović:

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