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The #KLeagueFM18 Challenges: Citizens Unite - Season Two Part 9

With a week's break spent drinking copious amounts of soju with Kim Eun-jung, desperately trying to plot a turn around of our attacking fortunes. We've finally created a plan that will solve our woeful record of being the lowest scorers in the K League 1. We are going to route one our way to success. First up is a trip to Pyeongchang Alpensia Ski Jump Stadium.

Catch Up On Season Two -  Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8


It's a fair assumption being that we are the lowest scoring team in the league, that it could be we are simply not having enough shots. However, unfortunately that's not really the main issue. We are shooting enough but it's mostly from outside the box.

Much like the real world K League statistics that were recently released. Myself and the coaching staff went over the teams performance so far. A typical example of our problem is shown below. We had only one shot that was inside the box and it was a Rae-se tap in from a Chan-hee cross. 

We might be leading the league in possession and short range passing but it's having a negative effect on our ability to score goals, as the players are passing among themselves then panic shooting when they get closed down.

Example shooting from Daejeon earlier in the season. Worrying statistic
To solve this issue, we are switching tactics. The formation and the players will essentially stay the same. The instructions and prematch is drastically changing. The wingers are now given complete freedom and so are the fullbacks. The striker is given specific instructions to get into the box, we are going long and high from the wings, trying to force the ball into the box.

The acts of a desperate manager trying anything to get a goal.

Gangwon Away In The League

The ongoing training changes is causes slight issues with fitness, but the players have already learnt the majority of the new system. Moon Chang-Hyun is the most adapted player with tactical familiarity of 92% which guarantees his selection. The rest of the team is the same as usual with Suk-jae benched. 

Our incredibly poor form, has led to a drop in away following with only 262 fans making the trip to Gangwon. Hopefully a decent result against a mid table Gangwon will win back the fans for the FA Cup tie next at home.

Kick off can't come soon enough as the wind is really picking up at the ski stadium, a part of me is hoping it will aid our cross heavy strategy.

We've scored a goal!!!!!

It wasn't from our new passing tactic, it was through sheer magic. A Hwang In-beom pinged ball is beautifully controlled by Chang-hyun who powers the ball past the keeper. It's five minutes gone and 1-0 to Daejeon. The 262 fans are loving it, it's take off at the ski stadium.

The balls are being pinged into the box just like our plan. A crunching tackle by the Gangwon CB, results in a free kick just outside the box for our RB, Choi Sung-geun. Who has been excellent this year, with the wind blowing his dipping freekick just dips over the wall, it lacks the power to beat the keeper but it's pushed onto the post. 30 minutes into the first half and it has been all Daejeon. Can we play in the wind every match?

It's picture book football, the 40th minute just ticks as Chang-hyun hit's another excellent effort that's just wide of the post. That shot was full of excellent build up play, we should be out of sight the amount of chances we've had so far.

Half time calls an end to our domination, Gangwon stats read 0 shots 39% possession. I know it's too early to tell but I think we've found our new tactic for the K League 1. More of the same for the second half with every player brimming with confidence, I'm pretty sure I saw Su-hyun doing keepy ups he was that happy at a clean sheet.

The Gangwon players are furious, they're sure that goal is offside. Sung-su is brought on late in the match to see the game out, and he unleashes a thunderbolt heading to the top corner. Just as it's about to go in Oh Ban-suk nips in to header it in. Questions of offside what do you think?

The game finishes a resounding win 2-0 Daejeon away, some of the only away points we've picked up all season but we will take it. A dominating display that puts us in a great position for Gangwon visiting us in the cup.

Gangwon In The FA Cup

The press are finally loving me, calling my coaching style in the last game a "Tactical masterclass". Trying not to seem arrogant and saying it was the players mostly who should be praised, but deep down I'm taking it all. A lot of the questions were directed towards our approach to the FA Cup, suggesting we might play a weaker team with the league performance.

Being that my only desire this season is to win the FA Cup, I resort to telling the press. The whole team will be rested in hopes it will cause confusion to the Gangwon backroom staff. Unfortunately it didn't go down well with the players who didn't see my bluff and are now angry... oh well I'm still a master tactician.

Starting eleven for the FA Cup 5th round Vs Gangwon at home. 

Moon Chang-hyun and Hwang In-beom are the only players rested for this tie, both due to small fitness concerns. With them both being on the bench we still have the core of the side that won 2-0 less than 3 days ago. The same style of play is drilled into the players and the most important thing is the weather report predicts heavy winds!

The fans have come out in their droves, 2,497 Daejeon fans and 29 Gangwon fans have arrived into the purple arena. Before the match a ceremony for Choi Sung-geun who reaches 50 appearances for the club. Proud moment for the four and a half star player with links to China, hopefully I can fend them off to keep his services till 100 appearances.

Kick off

Anything Moon Chang-hyun can do Suk-jae can do better, it's a goal in a minute for Suk-jae. The 17 year old Gangwon goalkeeper falls over mid goal kick and Suk-jae pounces in for 1-0. The fans are loving it, ACL here we come.

The Gangwon side is very depleted, featuring only 4 first team names. It's quite embarrassing to be so proud of beating what is basically a youth side but we will take it. Great save by Su-hyun in the 27th, a bouncing ball alludes young Sang-min and Cedric sprints past him but can't beat Spiderman in net.

Lee Gwan-Pyo for 2-0 with a dazzling run. 

He looks like 2002 Park Ji-sung as he manoeuvres around the Gangwon back line to finish easily into the corner. It's 2-0 Daejeon in the 30th. This game is over, put the Daejeon name in the hat already.

Half time means some personal changes, Hwang In-Beon is coming on for the old man. Oh Ban-suk seems to be tiring so Park Jae-woo the youngster is coming on for his 5th appearance of the year. The coaches handle the half time prep talk as I'm too busy buying a trophy cabinet.

Suk-jae is brought down by a clumsy tackle in the box, the referee consults VAR and decides a penalty. With Captain fantastic Chan-hee on the pitch it's only one man to step up. It's a shame there is no fans behind the away goal because they would of had an excellent view of a sublime penalty. It's placed right into the corner, even World Cup hero Cho Hyun-woo couldn't reach that. 3-0 Daejeon Citizens.

Lee Gwan-pyo is performing miracles, he ball rolls past one player like he's not even there and slots it through to Rae-se who scores without even looking at the goal. It's 4-0 Daejeon and the 2,500 fans are loving life under Paul "Tony Pulis" Bettridge.

With the game coming to an end with chants of we are going to win the cup, it's safe to side I've won back the fans after that performance. It's hard to judge the system based off just Gangwon, but we look much better with 6 goals scored and 0 conceded.

Post match stats of a clinical display at home. 

The most important thing is that we are through to the next round, the ACL dream is alive. Even with Sangju on Saturday in three days, it's time to let the players party. Three days of rest are in order for the champions. With the celebrations going on the draw for the Quarter finals are coming through. First two names out of the pot and it's a return to a team we have a good record against Anyang away in the Quarters. K League 2 opposition, we couldn't ask for a better draw.

Sangju At Home

The players are returning fresh, excited and most of all in good form! It's our first real test of the system being that last time we played Sangju we got annihilated 2-0. Pressure is really starting to mount on the players as constant transfer rumors are spreading through the squad. With Jeonbuk after reportedly 4 of our starting eleven and Porto sending five scouts to watch Sang-min things are getting worrying.

The front three of Chan-hee, Rae-se and Chang-hyun are being rotated out for this game, it's not to do with fitness it's to do with commitments to other players. It's dangerous to make these changes after we are on a great run of form, but if I break these promises I could have a revolt.

The updated starting eleven for Sangju at home
In comes Park Dae-hoon who is incredible in U23's, and the loan Yea-chan and returning army boy Kyeong-deuk. We should still have the quality in the midfield to dictate the tempo of the game and the new defensive solidity of the back five playing over 20 games together.

Sangju are no easy team to beat though, with Kim Tae-hwan and Joo Min-kyu they can cause real problems on the counter attack. With precise instructions for both fall backs to eliminate Min-kyu whenever possible we head into the tiny dressing room for a prematch pep talk.

The front three are nervous, but with Ho-jun going around patting backs we look motivated to get three wins in a row. With the possibility of not conceding a goal in three games too, this could be a turning point in the season with a victory here.

Kick Off

The first thing I notice when I walk through the tunnel is the lack of wind. It's not windy, I'm not superstitious but the looks of doubt after finding out the weather report was evident. Nevertheless the players know their roles and with fast starts in the last few games we could be able to win this game.

Sangju have six players in our box, they seem to be packing the box for crosses too. A floated ball in by Tae-Hwan is nodded down by Hwang In-beom and he's going running down the pitch. Oh my word.

Maradona eat your heart out, Hwang In-beom carriers the ball from our penalty box to theirs. He rounds the last defender one on one, I'm screaming shoot in a strange Korean-English mix. He doesn't listen but in a slow motion movie like scene he rolls the keeper and spins the ball into the back of the net. 1-0 Daejeon 9:58 on the clock. This is happening.

The boy has turned into the man. It's 2-0 Daejeon a wonderfully floated ball in by Jeonbuk wanted, Hwang In-beom is nodded in by the Salmon impersonator Lee Sang-min. It's 2-0 Daejeon in the 15th! What a time to prove your price tag. The game is slipping away from Sangju we look amazing.

It's 3-0 Daejeon! Suk-jae is slipped through by Gwan-pyo this time who curves the ball past his marker and Suk-jae slots home for 3-0 in the 40th. Curse technology, my Klopp-like run down the sideline is halted as an offside is called and it's pulled back for 2-0. Still a great way to end the first half with clear dominance established.

Half time report:

Possession 57:43 Daejeon.
Shots 7-2 Daejeon.
Chances 5-1 Daejeon.
Scoreline 2-0 Daejeon.

Can anyone see a pattern there? we look like a shadow of our former non-scoring selves. With our midfield flair being freed up by the width strategy, they can't seem to get close to stopping our rampant run. The team are playing with freedom and expression and surprisingly also fortitude. Only one real Sangju effort which was a cross has caused any problems and even that was caught easily at the near post.

The second half is a time for changes and fresh legs, with Anyang Quarters in seven days we need to shift priorities slightly. three under 19 players make their way onto the pitch with instructions to all players to play tight and controlled football. The second half is a drab affair of 0 shots and 0 chances.

It wasn't the prettiest second half after the destruction of a first half, but a 2-0 victory and most importantly another clean sheet. We are looking more and more like the side that won promotion rather than the punching bag we have been recently.

Daejeon are high flying and with the FA Cup triumphs too, can anything stop us right now?


8 Goals, 0 conceded and three victories. We have turned a corner, the fans are loving it with 3,000 turning up for Sangju. The only problems we have right now is keeping our players, if I can control the transfers we could genuinely be a side competing for a ACL slot. (Through the FA Cup). Next part will cover the Quarter finals and league matches! Come on you purple boys!

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