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Recap: K League 2 Round 34

Recap: K League 2 Round 34
An emphatic win for Asan Mugunghwa away to Seoul E-Land sealed the title with two matches left of the K League 2 season. However, the race for the playoffs is still delicately poised as is the battle for automatic promotion should Asan be denied the opportunity. Seongnam FC took a huge step in securing second place whilst Gwangju, Suwon, and Anyang were all vying for points to help in their attempts to reach the playoffs. K League 2 Round 34 roundup by Thomas Clark.
(Image via K League)

Seongnam FC 2-0 Daejeon Citizen

With Seongnam FC managing to get three points only once in their last eight fixtures, the seemingly secure second spot, and automatic promotion, had become a much more open field recently than many would have imagined. Despite the lack of confidence such a run would usually bring, the Magpies produced a superb performance to deservedly take a 2-0 victory that, if anything, flattered the Purples. As early as the sixth minute Daejeon goalkeeper, Park Juwon, was forced into a fantastic save after a long range effort from Moon Sangyun was flying into the top corner. His opposite number, Jong Hyeokjun, was equally alert as he came smartly off his line to deny Chițu what would have been a simple finish as he tried to round the goalkeeper.

With little time left in the first half Seongnam captain, Seo Bomin, thought he had given his side a deserved lead when his in-swinging corner caught the wind and whipped directly into the far post. However, his Olimpico goal was correctly ruled out after VAR adjudged Eder to have impeded the goalkeeper’s attempts to clear the danger.

The Magpies started the second half as they finished the first and within three minutes had the lead, after a lovely piece of skill from Moon Sangyun. He received the ball on the right, cut inside and then produced a wonderful turn to bamboozle the two Daejeon defenders, before calmly passing the ball into the far post. Within ten minutes Seongnam had doubled their lead thanks to a beautiful cross from Seo Bomin to the back post where Kim Minhyeok had risen high above his marker and nodded down into the bottom corner.

The game really should have been 4-0 by the 70th minute, first Eder robbed a dawdling defender of the ball before driving into the box, he selflessly squared the ball to Jung Sungmin and would have immediately regretted doing so as the striker somehow managed to blaze his shot high over the near empty goal from 14 yards out. Eder himself was at fault for not adding to the lead just a matter of minutes later when he rounded the goalkeeper following a perfect through ball, only to slightly lose his balance and put his shot into the side netting. Park Juwon made a fine double save in the dying minutes of the game to keep the score at a respectable 2-0, when in all honesty Seongnam FC should really have won this encounter much more comfortably.

After this performance Magpies supporters will be confident they can gain the two points needed over the next two matches to secure automatic promotion and a return to K League 1 after a two year absence. As for Daejeon Citizens, they will need some much improved performances in the coming weeks to have any hope of promotion.

Seoul E-Land 0-4 Asan Mugunghwa

They might not get be able to get promotion, or even be a team next season, but if this is Asan’s final campaign they are certainly set on going out in style. After last weekends late 1-0 win over Seongnam FC, Asan knew that just a point against the leagues bottom team, Seoul E-Land, would see them crowned Champions and that is something no administrator can take away from the players and coach. A comfortable 4-0 victory saw the police side, claim the League title and hopefully raise the spirits of all involved in the soon to be disbanded club.

The first half started evenly with both sides creating a few openings, but it was in the 15th minute that Asan took the lead rather fortuitously, when a wicked free-kick from Kim Dohyuk was directed towards his own goal by Kim Taeeun, which was fantastically saved by the Seoul goalkeeper, only for his parry to bounce back off another E-Land defender, Ahn Sungbin, and into the net.

Seoul valiantly fought back for the rest of the first half, but were unable to grab the equaliser. Early in the second half Asan doubled their lead through a combination of good luck and smart positioning. A deflected free-kick saw Kim Youngkwang do well to push the ball onto the post, only for the rebound to fall kindly to half time substitute Lee Myungjoo, who had followed the shot in well and smashed in a simple finish.

It was an uphill battle for Seoul after being so unfortunate with both goals, and they would have felt even more hard done by when the referee awarded a penalty following a VAR consultation. The official originally deemed there to be no foul and allowed the game to continue, but following a review he gave Asan the soft penalty, one which Kim Dohyuk slotted home with no trouble.

Seoul had one chance fall agonisingly wide of the post from a Jeon Minkwang header, but the remainder of the match was comfortable for the Champions elect. They finished the game off in style with the help again from VAR, correctly ruling Kim Ryundo onside as he collected a lovely slide rule pass from Cho Beomseok, before rounding the goalkeeper and tapping into the unguarded net. A fine finish to round off a fine display, and seal the title for the leagues deserving Champions. As for Seoul E-Land, they will feel 0-4 was extremely harsh on them and will look to bounce back next weekend against fellow strugglers Ansan Greeners.

Bucheon FC 2-0 Suwon FC

A victory for Suwon FC would have moved them into fifth spot in the league table and in charge of their own destiny when it came to the promotion play off places. However a fine performance from a Bucheon side with little other than pride left to play for, saw the home side run out as 2-0 winners.

Bucheon started the brighter of the two sides and had an early chance, only for the Suwon goalkeeper, Kim Dasol, to react quickly and force the attacker to turn inside and with it lose his chance to get a shot off. It was Suwon who next came closest to breaking the first half deadlock with Baek Sungdong hitting a ferocious right footed shot low and off the base of the near post. Bucheon were extremely fortunate that the rebound fell to safety after hitting the back of the forlorn Lee Youngchang’s head instead of into the net for what would have been a comical own goal.

Suwon had another couple of long range efforts before the half time whistle but failed to work the goalkeeper too hard. With seconds to go Suwon created another chance for Baek, only to see the flick off the outside of his right boot narrowly drift wide. Shortly after the start of the second half, the boys from Suwon worked Lee once more with a strike from distance and soon after the keeper produced the save of the match from Fernando Viana. The Brazilian hit a fantastic free-kick from 30 yards which was destined for the top corner, only for Lee to leap to his right and push the ball away for a corner that came to nothing.

If it was Lee whom Bucheon had to thank for keeping the scores tied at 0-0 it was Willian Popp they had to thank for taking all three points. After some fine build up play down the Bucheon left, the striker was in the right place at the right time to calmly control and shoot in after Kim Dasol could only manage to parry substitute Jin Changsoo’s effort.

Suwon pushed for the equaliser they so desperately needed, but could not quite find the required quality to get themselves back into the game, and with only three minutes remaining a Bucheon counter attack saw a penalty correctly awarded after the intervention of VAR. Lee Dongchan broke into the box from the left-hand side and the despairing lunge from Kim Daeho got nowhere near the ball and wiped Lee completely out. Popp took responsibility for the penalty and dispatched it expertly, Kim dived the correct way but the strike was high and powerful into the top left corner, and with that the win was secured for a delighted home side. There was time for one further Bucheon chance that really would have harsh on Suwon, but unluckily for Lee Jeongchan his strike cannoned of the corner of bar and post.

Busan IPark 0-0 Ansan Greeners

Busan IPark went into their match against Ansan Greeners knowing that three victories from their final three matches would see them take the automatic promotion spot ahead of Seongnam FC. However, they were unable to produce the victory needed and now rely on Suwon FC to take points off the Magpies, while they themselves need to beat Gwangju and Seongnam in their next two games.

Busan did not start the game like a team who knew a victory was the only acceptable result. The first half was sadly lacking in goal-mouth action and required neither goalkeeper to make any saves of note, the occasional wayward long distance strike was about as exciting as it got.

The second half continued much as the first had ended with little of note happening until the 60th minute when Busan IPark goalkeeper, Koo Sangmin, turned a miss-hit cross over the bar and made a smart save from the resulting corner.

Busan themselves then came close to breaking the deadlock, only to me thwarted by two saves in a matter of minutes from Lee Heesung, the first a terrific low stop from a powerful effort and the second springing quickly off his line to block substitute Han Jiho’s goal bound toe poke.

Both teams continued to search for the opening goal sensing that one would be enough to take all three points. However despite a few late efforts, neither goalkeeper was overly stretched and the game ended 0-0, much to the disappointment of the Busan players and supporters.

Gwangju FC 2-1 FC Anyang

It was seventh versus fifth at the Guus Hiddink Stadium where hosts Gwangju looked to end their recent atrocious run of only one win in twelve matches against an in-form FC Anyang, who came into this fixture on the back of three straight wins and only one defeat in their last nine. It was somewhat of a surprise therefore to witness Gwangju produce a solid performance and come out 2-1 victors, which sees them leapfrog FC Anyang and Suwon FC into fifth and keep the final playoff place in their own hands.

Gwangju took an early lead from the penalty spot after some poor defending by Choi Hojung was picked up by the VAR. Choi pulled down Felipe while he attempted to get his head on a corner and was correctly penalised, Felipe himself dispatched the resulting penalty low into the corner. Both teams showed their attacking intent throughout the first half, but neither side were able to add to the score line despite a number of efforts from long range and crosses.

The second half carried on in the same fashion with both sides creating some decent chances, eventually FC Anyang found their deserved equaliser in the 72nd minute. Once again it was after a VAR intervention and the awarding of the game's second penalty. This time Gwangju midfielder Yeo Reum unnecessarily barged into the back of Jeong Heewoong and gave FC Anyang the perfect opportunity to get back into the game. Alex stepped up, sent the goalkeeper the wrong way and placed his penalty into the bottom right corner.

With 20 minutes remaining the game was in the balance and there for the taking, and that is exactly what Felipe did. After some fine wing play from Duarte, his cross found his fellow Brazilian who had peeled off his marker and powered his header, low into the corner. Anyang came close to an equaliser through Jeong, but his effort just missed the target. Felipe was inches away from completing his hat-trick only for his point blank header to be brilliantly tipped over the bar by Jeon Soohyun at the death. The final whistle soon followed, ending a fantastic match. FC Anyang were unlucky not to take something from this game, but Gwangju played well and will be confident they can hold onto the much coveted fifth spot with only two matches remaining.

by Thomas Clark

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