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Don't Slide Away, Seoul: Seoul E-Land vs Gimpo FC

The honeymoon period that was the beginning of the 2024 K League 2 season for Seoul E-Land has well and truly passed. Another defeat for the Leopards on the weekend saw them slip further down the table and further away from the top of the mountain where they once sat. A lacklustre Seoul welcomed a hungry FC Anayang to Leoul Park last weekend in what was their second loss in a row in the league.

This week, Seoul will be back at home again, as they welcome the now no longer new boys of the K League 2, Gimpo FC. Although everything is rather cordial and welcoming among the fans of these two teams, Seoul will need to be a bit more hostile on the pitch if they are to try and find three points off this achieving side. Michael Redmond takes a look at this encounter here.

Match Details

Match: Seoul E-Land Vs Gimpo FC
Date: Saturday, 6th April 2024
Time: 4:30PM Seoul, 2:30PM Bangkok, 8:30AM Manchester
Venue: Leoul Park (Mokdong Stadium), Seoul, South Korea
Link: K League TV

Eat, Sleep, Beat Seoul, Repeat

FC Anyang must love playing Seoul. No matter how poor the side is competing in the K League 2, at the time of their encounters, they always claim three points. This round was no different. A Seoul side that looked sluggish and without creativity came up against an Anyang side that did not exactly look like world-beaters. A few missed chances from Seoul followed by some comical open net misses from Anyang led to almost a stalemate at halftime. That was until injury time of the first half and Matheus decided to curl a freekick in past Seoul. A very interesting celebration followed where one would have been fooled to believe this was the Korea Cup final, but one shall digress.

Seoul attempted to get back into the game in the second half, but once again the snooze button was pressed for the leopards and Anyang doubled their lead. It was that man Matheus again who was on the scoresheet. I understand completely how you try to push to win the game, especially at the business end of the encounter. However what team has one player at the back from the halfway line? Anyang pressed on and on and Lee In-jae was in no man's land leading to the second. Once again, another cup final-like celebration followed which felt like it went on for an eternity. No bitterness here whatsoever.

Finally, Seoul decided they wanted to play football in the final minutes of the game and Ko Moo-yeol passed the ball into the back of Anyang's net. That was to be the only moment for Seoul however and Anyang held on to win the game. In what was a game Seoul fans will want to quickly forget, Anyang now looks in fighting form and will continue to climb the K League 2 ladder.

Full Time: Seoul E-Land 1-2 FC Anyang

If there was anything for Seoul to take out of the fourth round of the K League 2 on the weekend, it was the fact that Gimpo FC also managed to drop all three points to Seongnam FC. It was the Magpies who got the first goal in the game, Luiz in the 30th minute converted a penalty. It was a shirt pull on Lee Jeong-hyeob by Gimpo's Kim Won-kyun, that made the referee decide to point to the spot.

Gimpo came flying out of the traps in the second half, it took the side only 40 seconds to equalize, and a great bit of team passing and movement saw Kim Kyeong-jun make the game 1-1. It just showed that Gimpo still have the class that they showed in the previous season when they made the promotion/ relegation final.

However, the former K League 1 club Seongnam had other plans than to let Gimpo reminisce of the good times. They continued to attempt to get back into the game and were rewarded in the dying moments of the game. In the 91st minute, Park Ji-won put the side back ahead from a Lee Jun-sang cross to tap the ball into the back of the net. It looked as if Ji-won was left completely unmarked for the goal. The case of an excellent cross or poor Gimpo defending, or maybe it was a case of both.

Seongnam claimed all three points in the final minutes of the game and got their first win of the 2024 season, climbing up to 10th place. Gimpo now remains at the bottom with only one win and two losses, however, it must be said that Gimpo have played one less game than most other teams so far this year.

Full Time: Seongnam FC 2-1 Gimpo FC

All is Square in Love and War

This will only be the eighth encounter between the two sides this weekend when Gimpo make the short journey to Mokdong. In what has been a mixed bag for both sides, the record stands at three Seoul wins, two Gimpo wins and two draws. 2022 was a good season for Seoul in this fixture, winning three and drawing on. Given the fact that Seoul only managed 11 wins in that campaign, it says a lot that three of those wins came against the new boys Gimpo.

Last year was another story however as Gimpo picked themselves up from a respectable first season in the K League to climb to third place. Along the way, they managed two wins against Seoul as well as a draw. It does not bode for Seoul fans to know that they will play their tenth season in the K League 2 this season, with only one playoff game to their name. Gimpo on the other hand played their second season last year and made it all the way to the promotion/ relegation final, losing out to Gangwon.

The table so far this year can be deceiving for one without a keen eye. Gimpo sits bottom of the table and Seoul are in 5th but only one point off the top. However, if you look further into it, you will see that Gimpo has played one less game than Seoul, they are only three points behind them, and Seoul have lost their last two games in a row. To put things into perspective, If Gimpo beat Seoul on the weekend 4-0, they would actually leapfrog the Leopards. It is still too early into the season to say what will happen in the K League 2, but both teams do need to get their act together if they are to be competing against one another for a playoff spot come November, rather than fighting for the wooden spoon.

Seoul Strikeforce

Seoul have scored six goals in the last four games in the K League 2, only Chungnam Asan have scored more with eight. With that being said, they looked like they ran out of ideas up top in the Anyang game. It really is time we see the likes of Ikoba and Bruno Silva score more for the Leopards. Peter came on as a substitute in the Anyang game and brought promise of chance after chance for Seoul.

Seoul have had six different goal scorers for the six goals they have scored so far this year. Half of those goals have also come from defenders. Although it is great to see the range of goalscorers in a team, surely Seoul needs to have a man up front to rely on to bag these goals. If the likes of Bruno Silva, who does feature more predominantly on the wing or Ikoba can find their goal-scoring boots, then Seoul could really boost that goal-scored tall.

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Golden Gimpo or Successful Seoul?

Well, it could just be a bump in the road for Seoul E-Land. However they have failed to show the style and substance since that Suwon Samsung Bluewings game. This also includes the Korea Cup game against Daejeon Korail which went all the way to penalties.

Fans believe that Kim Do-kyun has a game plan and is sure to make Seoul a force in the K League too. However as we have seen already in the K League 2, there is enough quality in the division to see Seoul get passed by very quickly. What is probably an advantage for Seoul so far this year is the fact that the main title contenders are appearing to be dropping the ball a lot this year too.

Suwon have already lost twice, and So have Busan. Seongnam are still low on the table and Gyeongnam have failed to win since the opening game of the season, and that was a tight game against a poor Ansan Greeners side. The only two sides who seem to be taking the league seriously so far are FC Anyang and Jeonnam Dragons, but they both have also dropped unnecessary points. Seoul will hope to dust themselves off rather quickly if they are to remain in contention for a playoff spot. It may only be early days but a few more losses for Seoul and they'll be in deep water before the summer even rolls around.

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