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Busan fight back to beat high-flying Jeonnam


Busan IPark came from behind to beat Jeonnam Dragons in an entertaining game in Gwangyang on Sunday afternoon. An Byong-jun scored the winner for Busan, who recorded back-to-back wins for the first time in 2021 to move them within three points of the Dragons.

Match Overview

Jeonnam Dragons 1-2 Busan IPark
Jeonnam: Balotelli (18')
Busan: Park Jeong-in (45+1'), An Byong-jun (63')

K League 2, Gameweek 13
Sunday 23 May, 2021
Gwangyang Football Stadium, Gwangyang

Highlights



An Byong-jun strikes again

North Korean striker An Byong-jun’s fiercely struck free kick proved the difference in a tightly fought encounter. It was An’s seventh goal of the campaign, and although a deflection aided its flight into the bottom corner, the 31 year-old striker has looked just as sharp and prolific as he did at Suwon FC last season. 

Leading the line with strength and intelligence on Sunday, An was also a constant goal threat whenever in the vicinity of the opposition penalty area. Gangwon FC’s decision not to sign the striker (who reportedly failed multiple medicals) looks more baffling by the week.

Balotelli threat not enough for Jeonnam


Jonathan Balotelli scored the winner for Jeonnam the last time these sides met, and he was a constant menace for the home side in the first half. His 18th minute goal on Sunday was excellently taken, winning a header before running onto Lee Jong-ho’s return pass to poke the ball beyond onrushing keeper Choi Pil-su. 

Time and again Balotelli found space behind Busan’s high defensive line, and he could have scored a second with Jeonnam 1-0 up, running in behind once again to face Choi in a one on one. This time, however, the Busan keeper made a smart save in what ultimately turned out to be the game’s turning point. Busan gradually fell deeper after turning the game around and, with Balotelli starved of service, Jeonnam rarely threatened to spoil Busan’s comeback victory.

High-risk strategy pays off for Peres


Playing a high defensive line with two inexperienced and slow centre-backs looked an unusual strategy from Busan coach Ricardo Peres. In the first half Jeonnam got in behind the big defenders time and again, and had Balotelli scored his second big chance, Busan would have been 2-0 down before the break. 

Peres stuck to his guns, however, and eventually Busan scored the goal their patient play arguably deserved. Park Jeong-in scored the equaliser in first half added time, powering a fine header into the corner after an exquisite cross from midfielder Lee Rae-jun. 

Busan’s big centre backs Hwang Jun-ho and Park Ho-young continued to be aggressive going into the second half, repeatedly snuffing out threats high up the pitch, and both were hugely impressive in their individual duels. Park Ho-young had been beaten too easily for Balotelli’s goal, but he wasn’t to be beaten again, and as Busan gradually fell deeper to defend their lead after An Byong-jun’s free kick, Park and Hwang repelled Jeonnam’s threat admirably. 

The high-line strategy could have turned sour for Busan, as it did against Chungnam Asan earlier this season, but Peres’ faith in his young charges once again paid off. Busan have now won three of their last four games, and the side’s increasingly impressive performances bode well for the coming months.

Busan Player Ratings

GK – Choi Pil-su – 6 
RB – Choi Jun – 5 
CB – Park Ho-young – 6 
CB – Hwang Jun-ho – 7 
LB – Park Min-gyu – 6 
CM – Lee Ji-seung – 6 
CM – Lee Rae-jun – 7 (Kim Jeong-hyun 74’ – 6) 
RW – Park Jeong-in – 6 (Lee Sang-heon 72’ – 6) 
CAM – KIM JIN-KYU – 8 (Kim Dong-woo 84’) 
LW – Domagoj Drozdek – 7 
CF – An Byong-jun – 7

Jeonnam Dragons lineup: Park Jun-hyuk; Chang Sung-rok (Jang Seong-jai 46'), Jang Soon-hyeok, Park Chan-young; Oleg Zoteev (Kim Han-gil 46'), Hwang Ki-wook, Kim Hyeon-ug, Lee Hoo-gwon (Alex 68'), Kim Tae-hyun; Jonathan Balotelli, Lee Jong-ho
 

FNR

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