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Seongnam’s April Recap: Results Over Performances.





The first month of the season went by and Seongnam only won two games, one against a K4 opposition in the FA Cup and the other in the opening-day match against Ansan Greeners. After the opening-day win, the Magpies went three games in a row without winning and two of those three resulted in losses against Bucheon and Anyang. The draw was against Asan. It wasn’t the best start to the season, but it was expected looking at the teams Seongnam faced. With a much easier schedule in April would be expected to see an improvement from The Magpies.


Getting It Done After The Cup Game

Seongnam ended March with an important win over Pyeongchang in the FA Cup that would break the three-winless game streak and start a patch of five games where The Magpies didn’t lose. In the first two games in April, Seongnam faced two different opponents, Cheongju who are making their debut in a professional football league, and Jeonnam who are looking for a much better season after a very good transfer window.


 

The game against the newly promoted side, Cheongju, was bittersweet for Seongnam. Before the game started, Cheongju was ahead of Seongnam by one point, which made this game much more important. A win for both would mean being within striking distance to attack the lower playoff positions. Seongnam won 3-2 at Tancheon but the performance was lackluster. With a good start to the match, The Magpies started losing intensity as the first half went on, and by the end of the 45 minutes, Cheongju was able to score one goal and hit the crossbar twice. Seongnam entered halftime with a one-goal lead after scoring two goals in the first 20 minutes of the game. The second half was a mirror of the first, Cheongju was very dangerous in set pieces and was able to score in the 98th minute, sealing the final result of 3-2 for Seongnam. The good aspects of this game were the quality shown by Manzinga who scored a brace and some offensive improvements, but those improvements were expected against Cheongju, the main problem was defending set pieces. Good result, bad performance.

Seongnam visited the Gwangyang Football Stadium to face the Dragons and this game showed the defensive weaknesses of the Magpies.

Clearly, Seongnam got it right with Manzinga, the striker opened the scoreline six minutes into the game. Physically strong, ability to change speed, movement without the ball, finishing ability, and a threat with the ball are some strong points of his game. Like the game against Cheongju, the problem was on the defensive side of the pitch. Jeonnam was able to dominate the midfield, a pattern seen since the beginning of the season in Seongnam’s opponents. There are some solutions for that problem, one of them being the CDM having more of a roaming role. Lee Ki-hyung likes to make the CDM go in-between the CB, making a back three (in and out of possession) but instead of staying put after the first build-up stage, the CDM should join the midfield as soon as Seongnam crosses the middle of the pitch. That would give an extra passing lane as well as less area to cover for both midfielders.

The other option is seen sporadically throughout the games, the involvement of the wingers in central areas. With wingbacks giving the width, Shim Dong-woon and Manzinga can play in half-spaces or even have a CAM role in Shim Dong-woon’s case, more often. Shim is a CAM by nature and when he makes runs from the middle or just being there to give a passing lane, Seongnam can create goal opportunities.

Seongnam was leading the game at halftime once again but two goals from Jeonnam in the second half dictated the final result, 2-2. Valdivia’s and Ha Nam’s goals have two things in common, two assists from Mangkualam and a lot of space in front of the defensive line, the same problem seen in past games. Around the 60th-minute mark, Lee Ki-hyung made a couple of substitutions and changed the formation to a 4-3-3, from that point onwards Seongnam dominated the game and scored the equalizer in the 78th minute, courtesy of Lee Jong-ho.

FA Cup 3rd Round

After beating Pyeong Chang in the 2nd round, Seongnam faced Gimcheon Sangmu in the 3rd round of the cup. Both teams played with slightly rotated lineups and Seongnam scored first, once again, with Jung Han-min scoring the goal in the 64th minute, playing as a striker for the first time in a Seongnam shirt.

Lee Jung-min, Seongnam loanee at Gimcheon, scored the equalizer in the 90th minute. The Magpies were able to take the game to the penalty shootout and advanced to the 1/8-finals where they will play against the Pohang Steelers, a K League-level opponent.

Success After Cup Games

It looked like Seongnam can capitalize on the momentum after winning cup games, this time against another newly promoted side, Cheonan City.

The Magpies were able to show some improvements in the first half, Shim Dong-woon played more centrally and Manzinga was lively as ever. For the first time in a while, Seongnam didn’t have the lead at halftime. The second half didn’t show much, Seongnam looked incapable of winning against the bottom of the table and had to rely on two absolute screamers from Jung Han-min and Denilson to win the game. 2-0 was the final scoreline and with this result, Seongnam was in 5th place temporarily.

This win had a special meaning behind it, it was for Hong Si-young who is fighting against cancer.
The young Magpie was in the stadium watching the game, Seongnam was able to make her day with a win.




K League 2 is an absolute jungle where results can be more important than performances, Seongnam is a very good example of that, without really performing well they managed to be in a playoff position with seven games played.

The game against Busan, a very good opponent, was very interesting because Seongnam took a taste of its own medicine. The Magpies faced Busan in a game where Seongnam was clearly the better team. Probably the best performance of the season for Seongnam but the end product wasn’t quite there, Shim Dong-woon scored first for Seongnam but Busan was able to equalize the game before halftime
The second half was a Fessin and Bruno Lamas show. The Brazilians were the difference makers for Busan, and they were able to edge Seongnam. 3-1 was the scoreline.

Last game of the month was against Seoul E-land, The Magpies were able to keep the momentum and, for the second game in the row, they played better than the opponent. The pattern of scoring first was seen once again, Lee Jong-ho a few minutes after coming in. Keeping a clean sheet has been a problem this season for Seongnam and that almost ruined another game for them but Lee Jong-ho scored his second of the game, sealing the scoreline. 2-1 victory away from home. 

The month of April was a good one for Seongnam, with four wins, one draw, and one loss, leaving the Magpies in 6th place only two points away from the playoffs spots, showing the importance of results over performances in K League 2.

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