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Busan IPark Thrashed by Seoul E-Land as Peres Starts Reign With Defeat

Seoul E-Land stunned a new-look Busan IPark with a clinical second-half performance that will give new Royals coach Ricardo Peres nightmares. Goals from Jang Yun-ho, Lee Sang-min, and Kim Jeong-hwan did the damage for the visitors, leaving Busan’s new coaching team with several questions to answer and big decisions to make.

Match Summary

Final Score: Busan IPark 0-3 Seoul E-Land 
Goals: Jang Yun-ho (57'), Lee Sang-min (66'), Kim Jeong-hwan (88')


Peres Surprises with Lineup

Ricardo Peres raised a few eyebrows before kickoff with a number of surprise picks in his first K League lineup. New signings An Byong-jun, Lee Sang-heon, Choi Jun, and Domagoj Drozdek were left on the bench, while there was no place for veteran defender Kang Min-soo. 

Peres handed starts to youngsters Seong Ho-young, Park Ho-young, and Lee Rae-jun, three players who didn’t make a league start between them in 2020. Park Jeong-in was preferred to An Byong-jun up front, while new goalkeeper Ahn Joon-soo was selected ahead of last year’s first choice Choi Pil-su. The average age of Busan’s starting eleven was 24.3, with no less than four under-22 players in the lineup. 

While the team initially settled well, Peres’ gameplan and selections soon fell apart.

Busan Fail to Make Most of First Half Dominance

Although both teams enjoyed good spells in the first half, Busan arguably had the better chances. Kim Jin-kyu looked fit and sharp in attacking midfield, finding space in dangerous areas and linking up well with the front line. 

Busan’s best chances fell to two debutants, Park Jeong-in and Jung Hoon-sung, but both could only force routine saves from E-Land keeper Kim Kyung-min. Jung in particular will rue shooting from a tight angle when teammates were waiting to be teed up in the box.

A Moment to Forget for Ahn Joon-soo

Goalkeeper Ahn Joon-soo signed from Japanese side Cerezo Osaka this winter and started his debut promisingly, looking composed in possession and showing some quality distribution from the back.

Goalkeepers will always be judged on their shot-stopping first and foremost, however. With the hour mark approaching and the game finely poised, Jang Yun-ho let loose from 25 yards. His low shot was well-struck but should have been a straightforward stop for Ahn. The keeper was far too slow to get to ground, however, letting the drive squirm under his body. 

From then on, Busan didn’t look the same team, and Seoul’s second arrived a few minutes later, Lee Sang-min heading home after Seoul full-back Hwang Tae-hyun beat Lee Rae-jun to float an enticing cross over to the back post.

Seoul Sharp to the Final Whistle, Busan Sluggish

While Busan looked fresh and lively in the first half, they visibly faded in the second. Seoul, meanwhile, spurred on by the pace of Leandro, always looked dangerous on the counter as Busan sought to set up camp in the E-Land half. 

Leandro was a constant menace against the Busan defence.

The third goal was a classic counter attack. With Busan high up the pitch, Leandro played a simple ball behind the defence to allow Kim Jeong-hwan to run through on goal unimpeded and dink in the game-killing goal. Busan right back Lee Sang-jun was the man guilty of playing Kim onside, lagging behind the high line of his centre-backs. 

Busan created few clear-cut chances in the second half despite seeing more of the ball. Substitute Lee Sang-heon looked lively but shot wide twice when well placed, leaving nearby teammates visibly frustrated.

Big Decisions Ahead for Peres

Busan’s next game is away to Daejeon Hana Citizen next Sunday, and Peres has a lot of work to do before that game. He will no doubt want to analyse why Jang found so much space in front of the defence for the opening goal, and why Busan’s defence was so static for the second. 

He will also have to decide whether to keep faith with his surprise picks after some disappointing showings. With bigger names sitting on the bench, the likes of Lee Rae-jun and Seong Ho-young might have to make way next time out, while Ahn Joon-soo will be under intense scrutiny if he gets the nod to continue in goal against Daejeon. 

There were certainly positives to take from Busan’s first game of 2021. There were several glimpses of the kind of neat, quick football Busan fans wanted to see more of last year, while the likes of Kim Jin-kyu and Park Jeong-in showed that they can make a real impact this season. 

Youngsters who had games to forget, namely Ahn and Lee Sang-jun, are nonetheless very promising players, and both will be given more chances to impress this season. What is clear, though, is that Ricardo Peres has a job on his hands, and Busan fans will need to be patient with their new coach and youthful squad.

Busan Player Ratings

(GK) Ahn Joon-soo – 4 – Horrible mistake for the first goal and questionable for the second. 

(RB) Lee Sang-jun – 4 – Lots of energy but partly at fault for Seoul’s third goal; final ball was lacking when going forward. Booked. 

(CB) Park Ho-young – 5 – Mostly solid, but twice made to look like a statue by Leandro’s pace. 

(CB) Valentinos – 7 – A solid debut; good distribution from the back. 

(LB) Park Min-kyu – 6 – Looked very accomplished in the first half, less so in the second; promising.

(CM) Park Jong-woo – 6 – Too casual in possession once or twice, but several classy moments. 

(CM) Lee Rae-jun – 5 – Did the simple things well, but beaten too easily for Seoul’s second goal. 

(RW) Jung Hoon-sung – 6 – Very lively first half, arguably should have scored. Faded in second half.

(CAM) KIM JIN-KYU – 7 – Outstanding first half, looks fit and back to his best. Dropped deeper in the second half and was composed but less impactful. 

(LW) Seong Ho-young – 4 – One or two nice touches, but largely struggled to get involved. 

(CF) Park Jeong-in – 6 – Extremely sharp and lively in the first half, looked hungry. Almost anonymous after the break. 

(CAM) Lee Sang-heon – 5 – Twice shot wide; lively but wasteful. 
(CF) An Byong-jun – 5 – Didn’t have much chance to show his class. 
(RW) Drozdek – 6 – Some good touches and movement.

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