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Recap: K League 2 Round 35

Recap: K League 2 Round 35
Even as Asan Mugunghwa were crowned champions, their 2019 fate remained unknown and several K League 2 teams headed into Round 35 looking to secure a place in this year's playoffs should they extend down to the 5th seed. Meanwhile, Seongnam looked to secure second place and the automatic promotion that will come with it should Asan be banned from promotion. Those matches and more in Thomas Clark's comprehensive recap of K League 2 Round 35.



Daejeon Citizen 3-0 Bucheon 1995


After three straight defeats, Daejeon Citizen were still only one point away from booking themselves a playoff spot and they got back to winnings ways with an impressive 3-0 victory over Bucheon 1995. 

As early as the fourth minute Daejeon showed their intentions with Kang Yoonsung striking a lovely half volley from outside the area against the base of the post. The Purples should have taken the lead through Hwang Inbeom, who from 12 yards out under no pressure hit his shot far too close to the goalkeeper, spurning a fantastic opportunity to go 1-0 up. However, the fans only had to wait a few more minutes to see the home side hit the back of the net when Romanian striker Aurelian Chițu finished off a perfect cross from Gadoev. 

Daejeon continued their dominance for the rest of the first half but were unable to add to their lead.

Bucheon had chances to equalise at the start of the second half, but were unable to fully work Park Juwon in goal until he was forced into an excellent save with his right boot from near point blank range and a solid diving save in the 75th minute from Popp.

The Purples got the second goal cushion to put the game to bed shortly after Park’s heroics, through Hwang’s fantastic 77th minute volley. Hwang celebrated in style with the ecstatic home fans, following his beautiful right footed strike after a pacy counter attack. The second goal really took the fight out of Bucheon, and late in the game Ahn Juhyun pounced on an awful attempted pass from the right back to Lee in goal, he rounded the goalkeeper and slotted into the unguarded net. Ahn’s pace saw him reach the ball before the ‘keeper and put the icing on the cake for the delighted Purples. 

Three goals and three badly needed points for Daejeon Citizen sees them guaranteed a playoff berth and ends Bucheon 1995’s outside chance of sneaking into the final spot.





Suwon FC 0-1 Seongnam FC

Seongnam FC went into their penultimate fixture of the regular season knowing that a win against Suwon FC would guarantee them a second place finish and with it the potential of automatic promotion back to K League 1 (depending on Asan's fate). Suwon on the other hand, knew that nothing but three points would do to keep their outside hopes of a playoff berth alive, the stage was set for a tight match with everything on the line.

Maybe with so much to play for, a tight tense match was to be expected. Defences dominated the first half with last ditch tackles and blocks aplenty. Seongnam thought they had taken the lead in the 37th minute when Eder smashed in a shot from 20 yards, only for the referee’s whistle to have sounded milliseconds before for a foul in the build up. The Magpies may have felt slightly harshly done as the apparent foul seemed to be a good strong tackle from Kim Jeonghyun on Jeong Hoyoung, who fell rather theatrically with a scream for good measure. Suwon’s best chance of the half fell to Alex, with just seconds remaining on the clock Baek Sungdong cut his cross back to the onrushing forward, only for the Brazilian, under pressure from the diving Seo Bomin, to smash his shot over the bar.

The second half was once more a tight affair, with both sides coming close to breaking the deadlock, none more so than Kim Jeonghyun. The Seongnam midfielder hit a superb free-kick from all of 35 yards. The power on it left the goalkeeper with no chance and it looked destined to nestle into the top corner, only to hit the inside of the post and bounce across the goal and away to safety. Subsitute Lee Hyeonil also came close for the Magpies, nodding just wide from six yards when it looked easier to hit the target. Suwon’s best attempts came from distance, but none that managed to stretch Jeon Jonghyeok to any great extent. 

Seongnam eventually finished off one of their many chances through Eder in the 70th minute. The Brazilian linked up nicely with strike partner Moon Sangyun, tidily controlling the forwards through ball and then hitting a left footed effort into the goal. Suwon pushed forward looking to find the 2 goals they needed to keep their faint playoff hopes alive, but were unable to breach the Magpies backline. Fernando Viana came the closest but his curling effort was pushed wide of the post by the diving Jeon.

The deserved victory for Seongnam FC sees them secure second place with one game to spare. The away fans and players were visibly delighted after the final whistle, but still unsure of exactly what they were celebrating. For Suwon a mixed season will come to a close on Sunday as they travel to the league’s bottom side, Seoul E-Land.



Ansan Greeners 0-0 Seoul E-Land

The leagues bottom two faced off against each other on Saturday afternoon with Ansan Greeners knowing a win or a draw would see them avoid the ignominy of a last place finish, and instead hand the wooden spoon to E-Land. 

The first half was played at a fast pace with neither side creating any clear sights of goal, but both having a few speculative long range efforts that failed to test either keeper. The second half carried on at the same pace as the first, with Ansan Greeners almost taking the lead with only 30 seconds played. A deep cross from the left wing by Chang was met by Lee Geon at the far post, but his brave headed effort narrowly went over the bar.

 The Green Wolves continued to have the better of the play, often hitting Seoul on the break utilising their pacy forwards well, but ultimately to no avail. With just eight minutes left on the clock, the Ansan players were convinced they would get the chance to take all three points after what appeared to be a clear handball from a Seoul defender blocking a goal bound Song Jooho header. The incident was replayed for the referee using VAR, but the official incredibly stuck with his original decision and no penalty was awarded. 

With just seconds remaining in the game Seoul defender An Sungbin, almost sliced his clearance into his own goal to gift Ansan victory, but luckily for the big man it just missed and went out for a corner that came to nothing.

 The point sees Ansan avoid the wooden spoon, but that will be of little comfort to The Green Wolves who will be left wondering how they were not awarded a penalty to take the three points they thoroughly deserved. The game may have finished goalless, but there was still plenty of controversy and talking points at the end of an entertaining fixture.  





Busan Ipark 2-2 Gwangju FC

The game of the weekend took place at Gudeok Stadium with Busan Ipark entertaining Gwangju FC. After Seongnam won on Saturday, Busan knew their chances of automatic promotion were over, but that a draw would see them confirmed in third place. For Gwangju, a win would go a long way to securing fifth position and the playoff spot that may come with it.

Gwangju drew first blood though a Robson Carlos finish, drifting in at the back post he managed to just stay onside and calmly slotted in Kim Hunghwan’s flick. Busan reacted well attacking with vigour, but not managing to work the goalkeeper. Their pressure did eventually paid off when Kim Jingyu was quickest to react to a loose ball in the area and took the opportunity to go down after Ahn Youngkyu naively dangled out a leg. Romulo slowly strode up, gave the keeper ‘the eyes,’ sent him the wrong way and stroked his penalty into the opposite corner for his ninth goal of the season.

The game really came alive deep into the second period as both teams forced each goalkeeper into some good saves. Gwangju hit the crossbar early on only to see Busan take the lead in the 78th minute through midfielder Lee Cheongwoo. His strong backpost header rather fortunately ended up in the back of the net as it looked like the Yoon Pyungguk had it covered until Lee Hando’s attempted block wrong footed the keeper.

2-1 down with only minutes to, Gwangju furiously attacked Busan’s goal forcing Kim Hyungkeun into a good save from a solid backpost header. Gwangju then got a little help from Ku Hyeonjun after his disgusting two-footed tackle on Park Yohan earned him a red. The challenge was late and high, leaving the Busan man with little argument over his sending off. Gwangju kept pressing deep into injury time and with the clock reading 94:20 their pressure paid off. Robson Carlos’ cross was nodded back across the box for substitute Lee Seungmo to bundle over the line and grab a deserved point right at the death. So late was the equaliser, there was not even time for the game to restart. A point a piece was a fair result and leaves both sides in the play off positions going into the final round of fixtures on Sunday.


Asan Mugunghwa 2-1 FC Anyang

The final game of the weekend saw K2 Champions Asan take on play off seeking FC Anyang. The Violets knew that a win would move them above Gwangju FC and into fifth place where their destiny would be in their own hands going into the final match day. However, Asan have won the league with two games in hand for a reason. In what could be their final ever home fixture, they ran out 2-1 winners after a strong finish saw them come from a goal down and net the winner in the sixth minute of injury time to spark wild celebrations from players, support staff, and fans alike.

Asan started the match the brighter of the two teams, but neither side was able to trouble the scoreboard in the first half. This mainly came down to the excellence of the two goalkeepers, both of whom produced a fantastic save apiece. The goalkeeping excellence continued in the second half, with Anyang number one, Jeon Soohyun, in particular pulling off a great bit of goalkeeping in keeping out a powerful drive from Lee Myungjoo. 

Somewhat against the run of play, the away side were able to take the lead in the 75th minute through an Alex penalty. The Brazilian made no mistake with his penalty with a low shot to the keepers' right. Minutes later Asan were furious not to be awarded a penalty of their own as Alex appeared to have tripped substitute Ko Mooyeol, only for the referee to wave away their desperate appeals. It was not long before the anger disappeared and was replaced by joy as Asan got the equaliser they so richly deserved. It was always likely to take something special to beat the in form Jeon in goal, and substitute Lim Changgyoon’s shot certainly was special. He curled a right footed shot over the goalkeeper and perfectly placed it inside the post. With just four minutes of regular time remaining, there was still plenty of time for the entertainment to continue. Anyang looked like they were going to grab a late late winner only to see their effort crash off the bar. Two inches lower and an unlikely smash and grab would have been theirs. 

However, the headlines belonged to the Champions and Lim Changgyoon in particular. With the timer reading 95 minutes, an almighty goalmouth scramble saw two defenders smash their clearances right into Asan players. A wonderfully dummied ricochet by Lee Myungjoo then fell to Lim whose effort took a cruel deflection off the desperate Kim Youngchan and looped over the helpless Jeon into the goal. Every Asan player and member of the bench was involved in a mass celebration. The result was a fair reflection of the game, but it was a cruel way for FC Anyang to lose; Jeon in particular, who had been fantastic all game.

If this is to be the last home action for Asan Mugunghwa, then they certainly went out on a high. As for the Violets, they face Daejeon Citizen in their final fixture, knowing that three points are a must, but even then they will be relying on Gwangju slipping up at home to Ansan Greeners. It will have to go some way to beat the late entertainment found in Asan this weekend, but whatever happens, we are sure to have an exciting final Sunday afternoon on our hands next week.



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