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Cho Gue-sung heads Gimcheon to victory over Busan

Cho Gue-sung scored his first goal for Gimcheon Sangmu to see off Busan IPark on Wednesday afternoon in the K League 2. The striker’s bullet header from Sim Sang-min’s cross was just reward for a largely dominant performance from the hosts, although Busan will feel unfortunate to come away pointless after a spirited second half showing.

Result

Gimcheon Sangmu 1-0 Busan IPark

Highlights


Cho Gue-sung finally off the mark

On-loan Jeonbuk striker Cho hasn’t had the easiest start to his footballing military service, failing to score in his first four appearances as Gimcheon stuttered through the opening weeks of the season. The 23-year-old looked back to his best on Wednesday, however, testing the Busan defence with intelligent runs in behind the back three during the first half. 

His game-winning goal, a powerful header after a late run from deep, was a quality finish from a player who has found goals hard to come by since leaving Anyang at the end of 2019. Cho was also unlucky not to come away with an assist, his excellent cross for Oh Hyeon-gyu blazed over by Cho’s young strike partner. For an inconsistent Gimcheon side, not to mention a Korean U23 team set for the Olympics, Cho could be coming into form at just the right time.

Park Yong-woo returns to win midfield battle


Gimcheon dominated the first half, hardly allowing Busan to string two passes together, and one of the keys to their midfield dominance was the return of Park Yong-woo. The on-loan Ulsan midfielder was making his first start of the season after recovering from injury, and the 27-year-old showed Gimcheon exactly what they’ve been missing so far this season. 

Composed and intelligent on the ball, Park made 67 passes on Wednesday, 14 more than any other player on the pitch. His harrying contributions alongside Jung Hyun-cheol, meanwhile, meant that Busan struggled to get a foothold in the game during the first half. Kim Jeong-hyun, usually one of Busan’s more reliable players, was restricted to just four passes in the first half, winning only two of eleven ground duels, before being hooked off at half time. 

With Park Yong-woo back in the centre, Gimcheon looked much more like the Sangju team that finished fourth in the K League 1 last season. They will hope that the injury he sustained in added time is not a serious one, because his influence on this Gimcheon team is huge, as Busan found out.

Route one not enough for Busan


Busan IPark were almost entirely outclassed in the first half, but Ricardo Peres deserves credit for rallying his troops for a spirited second half performance. After failing to register a shot on target during the first 45 mins, Park Jeong-in and Domagoj Drozdek forced Choe Cheol-won into smart saves soon after the restart, but a late rally for an equaliser wasn’t enough. 

Gimcheon bossed the game with 62.6% of possession, while defenders Ha Chang-rae, Jung Seung-hyun and Lee Myung-jae were influential from the back, starting moves from deep and carrying the ball forward. Jung’s beautiful cross-field ball for Sim Sang-min, which caught out Busan right back Choi Jun and led to the winning goal, was a prime example of Gimcheon’s quality distribution and build-up play. 

Busan’s back three are far less comfortable in possession, however, and the Royals were largely reliant on long, hopeful balls to start attacks. Keeper Choi Pil-su’s distribution was an unreliable source, however, as the custodian only found a teammate with 47% of his passes. Without the defensive personnel to play out from the back (ball-playing centre back Valentinos Sielis missed the game through injury), Busan struggled to find the rhythm necessary to consistently knock on Gimcheon’s door.

Despite the defeat, however, there were enough positives for Busan – Kim Jin-kyu’s playmaking, Lee Ji-seung and Eo Jeong-won’s impact off the bench, the number of chances created in the second half – to show the progress made by Peres’ team in recent weeks. Performances are becoming much more consistent; now Peres just needs to translate that consistency to results.

Busan Player Ratings

GK – Choi Pil-su – 5 
RCB – Hwang Jun-ho – 5 
CB – Park Ho-young – 6 
LCB – Kim Dong-woo – 5 (Eo Jeong-won, 81’ – 7) 
RWB – Choi Jun – 5 
CM – Kim Jeong-hyun – 4 (Lee Ji-seung, 46’ – 7) 
CM – KIM JIN-KYU – 7 
LWB – Park Min-gyu – 6 
RW – Park Jeong-in – 6 
CF – An Byong-jun – 6 
LW – Domagoj Drozdek – 5 (Lee Sang-heon, 59’ – 5)

Gimcheon Sangmu team: Choe Cheol-won, Sim Sang-min (Kim Joo-sung, 89’), Lee Myung-jae, Jung Seung-hyun, Ha Chang-rae, An Tae-hyun, Jung Hyun-cheol, Park Yong-woo (Kwon Hyeok-kyu, 92’), Kang Ji-hoon (Jeong Jae-hee, 75’), Oh Hyeon-gyu, Cho Gue-sung
 

FNR

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