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The #KLeagueFM18 Challenges: Citizens Unite - Part 12



The season is drawing to a close, with four games of the season to go. We head into three clashes against mid table Anyang, Bucheon and Seongnam. Hope still in Daejeon fans hearts of recreating the 2013 season's promotion. With players returning and media pressure growing, all eyes are on Daejeon can we continue our reform, or will we falter under the pressure.



Previous Installments: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11


Team News

The match against 9th placed Anyang couldn't be more important, with the five way tie for 1st place with our 4 games of the regular season remaining. We head to Anyang with pressure mounting, not only for our hopes of first place. Anyang have made this day of 7th of October 2017 the annual 'Ladies day' so the highest attended league match of all season will be here. 8,133 fans have bought tickets to watch this clash. Worrying only 183 Daejeon fans are making the trip even with promotion hopes in the balance. 

The return of Rae-Se, Kim Chan-Hee, full fit Lee Gwan-Pyo and Su-Hyun has meant the original starting eleven that dominated the early parts of the season return to action. With the new tactics and a unbeaten run this could be the start of a run to first place.

Anyang Away 7th of the final 10

The stadium is rocking, unfortunately it's for Anyang but with most of the fans seemingly cheering on both 'Purple' teams we head out with a 4-3-3 wide, Chang-Hyun is inspired by team talk and is running around the locker room raring to get started. Chan-Hee is looking a bit nervous but with the captains armband around him for today's important match he leads us out to the 8,133 fans. 

Kick Off

The match starts with a roar from the fans and the excitement for this match, the opening 5 minutes look like this is going to be a good one. Anyang's player seem to be incredibly hyped up, with Kim Min-Gyu fires a volley over the bar narrowly missing the target. A whipped ball into the box by In-Beon causes mass panic by the Anyang back line. Gwan-Pyo gets completely flattened at the back post and a penalty for Daejeon is awarded!

Trying to shout over the complaining Anyang fans is hard but eventually Chang-Hyun is stepping up for the penalty.

The penalty is dispatched into the keeper's right for the Daejeon fans to celebrate. 
Even with our lead the game is touch and go, a breakaway run by Min-Gyu splits our defence for his one on one with Su-Hyun. He stands tall and palms the ball away for a corner, a massive moment for our team and for the game with that save. Anyang may be in the 9th place but with more composure they could be a dangerous team. 

The 8,000 Anyang fans will be disappointed not to be drawing at half-time as Anyang have been in complete dominance apart from the penalty. If it wasn't for great goal keeping would would be in big trouble. Half time calls and Rae-Se is being hauled off for a 17 year old reserve kid, he has been poor today giving the ball away 13 times in 45 minutes. The other changes are minimal with a higher tempo and giving Chan-Hee some freedom to start pushing forward. 

Oh what a calamity, our defense falls asleep on the corner. We have been conceding corners for months now with nothing changing, the ball in goes high in the sky and evades all our players to be poked in for 1-1. The second half continues much the way of the first with Anyang showing no signs of slowing down in front of their 8,000 fans. 

The subs are coming with Suk-Jae and Dae-Hoon on in the 70th to try and change our fortunes. Anyang miss a complete sitter with a open header flying over the bar, golden opportunity. Suk-Jae has showed his talent, a true poachers goal. Running onto a small goal kick he blitz's past the overloading Anyang team to finesse into the corner. 2-1 Daejeon counter attacking goal!
Anyang have capitulated, less than a minute after scoring our second they hoof the ball up the pitch. A long kick back is met by Dae-Hoon who scores, in the space of 1 minute we have completely turned this game around. 3-1 Daejeon. Game settled in the 83rd. 


Bucheon Home 8th of the final 10 

The media frenzy has begun with the race for first hotting up, the three teams in contention are now. Asan, Daejeon and Busan. Every day since the Anyang game has been filled with interviews asking me if we are going to get promoted. Sung-Su did a interview and declared we are optimistic of being promoted and believe in ourselves, I don't mind him saying this but it's added nerves to the players. Even my assistant is handling press conferences now looking nervous. 

The same line up starts again with the pressure being firmly on us after the early kick off of Asan resulted in a draw. A win today sees us go top of the table with two games to go.With the players primed and nerves jangling, we head out to 2,157 fans excited for chance to take top spot in the race for K League 1. The Bucheon team is much like the team we have played 5 times this year, with Waguinho up top leading the line, although they're good with nothing to play for, we should win this game easily. 

Kick Off

The first 30 minutes are breezing by with nothing but tumble weeds passing by, we are attacking with all our might be they're not leaving their own half. It's very similar to the cup match earlier on in the season which resulted in a 2-2. Just as I had spoken to my coaches to change things, another ball by in In-Beon is delightfully put over the reach of the Bucheon goalkeeper to be prodded home with his knee by Chang-Hyun. Absolute scenes in the home end as that went in with limbs flying everywhere. We are going up say we are going up!

The first half draws to a close with happy cheers and promotion banners galore, Bucheon have looked poor barely venturing out of their own half even with 20 goals Waguinho. We need to not be content with just 1-0 as last time we played each other they completely flipped in the second half and we dropped points. With no changes but the idea of not throwing this away drilled into their heads we return to the 'Action'. 



It's happened again, a momentarily loss of concentration leads to Waguinho even with a bleeding face tucking his chance away. 1-1 We have repeated everything we did last time we played Bucheon and more, with Busan losing and Asan drawing this was our chance of title glory. 

The game has completely turned into a standstill, with Bucheon refusing to come out after getting their goal. Even with three substitutes and numerous shouting until my voice is dead, we simply can't break them down. The entire second half is just us shooting desperately looking for a knock out punch, the punch doesn't come and we end the game with 2 dropped points. 

After playing Bucheon 6 times this year, I still haven't figured out how to beat them consistently. 

Aftermath

The players are downtrodden and the fans don't know whether hope is ended after these dropped points. With Asan having a superior goal difference we would need a miracle last two games to catch them up. With Seongnam on the cards in seven days we try and pick ourselves up for a season deciding game. 

The Seongnam game has also been a massive sell out with 9,376 people attending. It appears that every away game the opposing team want to see us play, it's a shame our own fans don't come out in their droves. 

Seongnam Away 9th of the final 10

Our 35th league game of the season and it comes against disappointing 7th placed Seongnam. They are red hot at home however, with being undefeated in six straight games. We are going to need something special in this game to overcome them, the players are motivated and we look out at the magpie on our way to a deciding ninety minutes of football. 

We are going to be in for a hectic fast paced game, a ball into the box by the Seongnam RB. Is defended what appears to be safely but on VAR, Je-Woon is found to have handled the ball. The penalty is rewarded to Seongnam and Toure is making his way to the spot, in front of our fans we try our best to put him off but it's scored. 1-0 Seongnam 12 minutes into the game.

We smash the post with a immediate long shot by Gwan-Pyo who narrowly misses his 8th goal of the season with that attempt. It's gone from bad to worse as the scoreline reads 2-0 Seongnam, a suspiciously looking onside decision is called and Toure adds his second of the game. It was a easy looking save for Su-Hyun but the pressure got to him. 

The distraught Daejeon players after Toure's shot crept into the near post. 
 
We are sinking without a trace but an immediate change of midfield shape is passed around the Daejeon team, we need a comeback and counter attack isn't working. 

The change has worked! A terrible mistimed tackle by the Seongnam defence let in Gwan-Pyo to hit the ball with all his fury into the net, 2-1 Game on boys. We look incredibly poor but we have a chance to salvage a point if we can get to half time only losing by one. We barely manage to hold on and a lucky VAR penalty denial for Seongnam sees us scrape to half time only losing slightly. 

Second Half

Dae-Hoon is put on for the depressed Chang-Hyun and a inspirational speech is delivered in hopes of inspiring a second half comeback. The players have been all individually spoke to and given faith in their abilities, even Su-Hyun. Can we overturn the deficit? 

The half time changes have worked! It's the 47th minute and it's that man again of all season wonders, Chan-Hee who Ronaldo's, his way past three with dips and ball rolls, he picks his head up and delivers a inch perfect pass for Dae-Hoon to score with his first touch. 2-2.

The Seongnam floodgates have opened, a simple shot by Rae-Se has somehow managed to find it's way into the net. With the ball coming at the keeper at the pace of a tortoise, it somehow slips under the keepers arms for 3-2 Daejeon. A similar goal was scored against Jeonam Dragons. 

What a second half come back!! Hee-Hee-Hee-Hee has settled it! 4-2 Daejeon, with three goals coming in the second half, he escapes his marker yet again and places it neatly into the corner. That goal might mean we win the league. 

We have spoken too soon as Toure converts a cross for 4-3, three goals have just happened in 6 minutes. I don't know whether to bring on a striker to try and settle it or bring on a defender in hopes of keeping it. Our defence is looking horrid but luckily for us we have Chan-Hee keeping our dream of K League 1 alive. 

Another goal in the 10 minute window....it's gone to Seongnam and it's yet again another corner. We completely miss mark the defender and he plants his header into the ground to bounce over Su-Hyun. 4-4 in the time of 60th to 70th minute this match has seen 4 goals. With reports murmuring around the stadium of Asan winning, we look set for second place in the league after this failure to hold a second half comeback. 

We walk away 4-4, in a game where for large parts we were spectators, to walk away with anything is something. But with title hopes in the bin, the players are inconsolable. 


My disappointment of conceding a fourth goal to nearly condemn us to 2nd place, makes me lash out and kick the ball from the sideline.





TL:DR

We remain undefeated in three games in a row, but with three draws and 4 points dropped. We fall out of the race for first and look settled into 2nd place. With one match of the regular season left against last placed Ansan. Hopefully we can get spirits up to not lose and drop into third, devastated that we lost but we go on again with promotion hopes still possible just slightly tougher....








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