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The #KLeagueFM18 Challenges: Citizens Unite! [Part 9]


After our depressing Quarter final defeat to Pohang, morale is pretty low. Consoling the players took a lot of Soju and crates of Cass but eventually they realised the promotion push is still on. By promising the players redemption against Pohang if we get promoted, we look motivated for the next run of four games. Will the Cup have an affect on players or will we carry on where we left off?
Previous Installments: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8


League Preparation


Four days after our defeat, the squad needed rotation, Unlike the Daejeon Citizen squad of reality I don't have 60+ players to rotate through. With that said in comes the old man of Jin-Ho to lead the line in a new 4-2-2-2 formation, Ho-Suk makes his way onto the team sheet after for the third time complaining to the media. Luckily we're coming up against the inconsistent Busan team with only 2 wins in their past 6 we look like firm favorites even after the cup defeat and the rotated team.

'The Three Rotated Amigos' 



Kick off

We look like one of the most lethal teams from kick off's as any fears of a labored Daejeon team arriving here are nearly put to rest. Golden opportunity for Suk-Jae to score within the first minute as he runs onto a flicked on header, narrowly misses wide with his left footed shot. Warning signs here already for Busan we want redemption.

It doesn't stop there as in the 3rd minute the warning signs have clearly not been heard as a short corner is taken, gets cleared short by the Busan defence. Only as far as the running CB Jeon Je-Woon who rolls the ball onto his right foot and drills it into the bottom corner outside of the box. For a center back this kid has got some skill! 1-0 lead early from an unlikely scorer, first for the club too. Jin-Kyu who?

Deary, deary me Rae-Se who was close to not starting today because of fitness reasons, looks like he doesn't want to be as he heads the ball down for the Busan player and lets him run past him. It can only get worse as the resulting cross is whipped in too fast for Sung-Geun at the back post to react and he scores a own goal, 1-1 Busan, completely undeserved equalizer because of secret agent Rae-Se.

Thankfully the lead is shortly restored, we are loving the short corners as it's passed short for Gwan-Pyo who after knocking the ball back and forth into the path of Busan born Rae-Se. He smacks the ball into the net and runs over to say sorry for letting us down in the conceding. 2-1. I've refound my love for the slightly lazy left winger with that one.

Half time is coming up here with Busan just defending looking to counter. Busan don't look like the attacking threat of a team they once were, apart from that one cross they've looked very negative going forwards, that being said a lot of the players are on army service.

Nothing happens for about 50 minutes as it's just us retaining the ball, waiting for Busan to come out they look about as drilled as a Big Sam team here. Finally they've left their half, coming out for a throw in draws them out as Chan-Hee steals the ball runs from our box to the right corner flag, crosses it wild and high but luckily it bounces into Rae-Se to volley in for 3-1. Redemption. What a comeback of a performance.

As the game dwindles on, Busan looking all but dead since the 30th with no attacks. The match is nailed on for the win as another cross is met by Chang-Hyun to curve into the corner 4-1 game over, 3 points for Daejeon Citizens.


Going into Seoul E-Land


Team news and morale is lifted even more when our back up goalkeeper is back from Military service, this might signal the start of our reinforcements coming back to help our promotion push. The line up remains the same with no injuries or fitness problems we should be able to see off the middling E-Land team.

Pre match interview was interesting with the reporters suggesting I could be headhunted by the now free Seoul FC job. Which means Hwang has gone, I know this is a game but I thought it was based on reality. Hwang sacked? It's not possible.

Kick off E-Land 


The first 45 minutes was probably the worst half of football seen this year, with no highlights or chances for either team. The only positive thing you can take from that half is that the Daejeon fans now take up two stands.

Half time changes galore, Jin-Ho thrown upfront as a target man, hoping he can flick on some balls or show his experience here, we can't be dropping points to a middle of the road E-Land team.

Just as I thought the match was going to be another 45 minutes of nothingness, Chang-Hyun picks up the ball about 35 yards from goal. Dips from his marker and unleashes a thunderous effort that dips causing the E-Land keeper to look like a ice skater, but he doesn't get close to this effort. 1-0 Chang-Hyun. His effort might of won this for us on a night that has been the worst football I've ever seen.

92nd minute the spare balls are being put into the bag and the subs have stopped warming up, when a freekick to E-Land on their first venture forward in about as many minutes is met in the box by Min-Jae who powers it into the ground for 1-1. We have been well and truly smash and grabbed here. Final score ends 1-1. How a game of half chances and nothingness can have a completely crazy end is beyond me. We've dropped valuable points in the race for first. 

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The post match statistics of a game which featured a stunner of a goal and 77 minutes of tumble weeds. Dropped points from the game plan of Seoul E-Land.





Gyeongam Away 


The games are coming thick and fast now as the season hits it's peak, we travel to Gyeongnam again three days after our boring 1-1.  Even though they have been incredible recently going unbeaten in 4, it has been a decent stomping ground for us so hopes are high, even if recent performances are not.  Line up changes as Sung-Su, Sung-Hyun and Ho-Suk all start just to get them match fitness and because of match bans.

The commentators curse of saying how fast we are in the starting minutes, is again happening as the first 20 minutes start as quiet as E-Land. Starting to get concerned about our attack, having the least goals conceded is great, but when you're only the 5th top goal scoring team in a league of 10 teams it's not really confidence boosting.

I take everything back that I said about VAR before, as a Gyeongnam corner is crossed in, and in the confusion It's made it's way into the net. However the referee has blown his whistle and says Su-Hyun was pushed. 0-0 still.

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The Celebration of a Goalkeeper who has got away with one there. 

Willed on by this injustice, after four minutes of having the ball, losing the ball and winning it back. We finally make a breakthrough as a terrible ball cross by Rae-Se is fortunately met by the hero of Daejeon. Chan-Hee who nearly breaks a tendon with the force he put on that ball for 1-0 Daejeon! We don't deserve it at all but with the 2-0 here earlier in the season we know all about lucky wins.

Half time approaches and with no more highlights, we make our way down the tunnel happy. After no changes and just a passionate 'Stay Focused!' is screamed in their faces we look set to defend our way to 3 points here. Considering dropping Ho-Jun further back into the defensive area to solidify but my assistant assures me we are doing fine.

The chances are flying for the home team as a chance for Gyeongnam is squandered, the ball escapes our defensive line met by there winger who blasts over the bar. One moment of lost focus and we could lose this game but so far so good. Jeon Je-Woon has been a excellent signing so far we a average rating of 7.3 in five games.

The game closes the way we want as our Contain, short passing style holds firm for another 30 minutes. This might not of been a pretty game but 3 points at the end of the season could be the difference of title or no title. The fans cheered us on the whole 90 minutes even if we didn't leave our half since scoring.

The thoughts now shift to Seongnam 4 days later, we are really struggling for fitness with these games being so close. Squad depth is going to be key if we do make it into league one next year. Thankfully our signings have been really useful at keeping us a float in winning positions especially the older players.



Seongnam Team News


With Seongnam coming to town, fans have pre bought tickets with over 2,650 sold. Hopefully we can provide some entertaining football to keep them around, but with our recent form of using all our goals verses Busan, its unlikely. Suk-Jae is dropped in hopes of Chang-Hyun revitalizing our fortunes. Youngster Kang Yun-Seong is coming in as well after scoring 2 goals in reserves he deserves a break. Sung-Su keeps his place and Hyuk-Joon steps back in at RB after a link to Incheon means he's demanding game time.

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I feel sorry for the 2,650 home fans who came here expecting excitement as the first quarter starts as bland as the last two. We are dominating possession but not being able to create any chances going forward, even Chan-Hee is being quiet.We just haven't been able to break down the strong Seongnam team who sit 3rd in the league behind us. If they had better attacking options they would be back in the first division at this rate.

The pouring rain isn't helping our chances here either, a corner for Seongnam is swept in at the back. With no defenders around him Maranhao one touch finishes it for 1-0. Looks like our players were ball watching then. Seongnam are well deserved leaders with complete domination of all our forward players.  We are really lacking creativity to break them down as our balls are just being blocked or intercepted. Substitutes are coming at half time again to change anything.

We change to a 4-2-2-2 again, bringing Jin-Ho on again just to drag a defender off of Chang-Hyun hoping to create a gap. The old man has been useless in his starts and sub appearances but hopefully the sight of a 6ft 2 target man will break them up.

It's the 70th minute and the only player on the pitch who you don't want the ball to fall to in the box is the young kid Kang. Who has a easy chance to score and earn his place but he blazes it over the bar for a rugby try. 1-0 Seongnam that could of been the deciding difference.

Oh, what a goal. Late December back in '63 (81st minute) as Sung-Su who has been super quiet all season, scores a absolute screamer to level the game. A poor cross is volleyed outside of the box with his laces into the corner. That is a match winner or well in this case a match draw-er.

Just like that the Seongnam team is stunned and so are we, the game ticks by with both sets of players and fans too shocked to even attack and leads to a slightly biased manager saying a fair 1-1 result.



TL:DR

With 4 games in quick succession getting a undefeated run is never bad, 8 points is more than what we deserved but we continue looking solid with playoff form. With the packs of teams following us this could be one of the closest ends to a season that the K League 2 has seen in a long time. If we can draw a way into the playoffs the Daejeon faithful will be rewarded. We carry on to next part edging closer to a Playoff standing nearly confirmed.  

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