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Week 9: Big Review of K League 2

FC Anyang bounced back from their Suwon disappointment with an excellent performance and two superb goals to beat Jeonnam Dragons. They are level on points with the Bluewings who needed a late Mulić equalizer to avoid a defeat against Gyeongnam. Busan IPark won at home for the first time this season and Seoul E-Land trashed sorry Asan in Mokdong.

Seoul E-Land 5 (Byeon Gyeong-jun 2', Bruno 38' and 61', Ikoba 40', Park Jeong-in 73')
Chungnam Asan 0  

Mokdong Stadium

Ikoba scored his second of the season following some chaotic defending.

Seoul E-Land smashed Chungnam Asan by five goals on Saturday to end a run of five games without a win for Kim Do-kyun's team. The win arrests a slide down the table for the leaders after round 2, and they now sit 5th, with a game in hand on joint-leaders Suwon. Bruno's double brought him level at the top of the goal scoring charts, but the Brazilian forward also has three assists to his name, the most goal contributions in the league.

His first goal before the break was amusing; after seeing his first shot saved, Bruno put his hands to his head in disappointment before immediately realizing the chance was still alive, and coolly slotted home from a tight angle. Ikoba's goal, three minutes later, was down to some good work on his part, but mainly due to utterly farcical defending.

Busan IPark 2 (Lee Han-do 11', Fessin 36')
Ansan Greeners 1 (Roh Kyeong-ho 52')

Asiad Stadium

Busan after not losing another home match.

It has taken five matches but last season's runners-up have their first win, and points, at home this season. In the process, Busan have snapped a bizarre win-loss-win-loss run that has stretched back to the opening weekend. Disappointingly, only 2,500 were there to watch the game, continuing Busan's wretched home attendance figures for 2024. Lee Han-do opened the scoring when he volleyed home from a corner (or, as the commentators love saying, "second chance ball"). Fessin doubled the lead from close range.

Roh Kyeong-ho has been one of the few bright sparks in another difficult season for the Green Wolves. His deflected goal brought Ansan back into the game, and his team was further boosted following Kwon Sung-yoon's VAR-assisted straight red card with 25 minutes remaining. However, it was Busan who looked more likely to score and then Ansan were reduced to 10 men in added-on time following another VAR review. Roh almost snatched a point at the death but his long-range effort hit the woodwork.

Cheonan City FC 1 (Paulinho 67')
Gimpo FC 2 (Choi Jae-hun 22', Jang Yoon-ho 82')

Cheonan Stadium

Ma Sang-hoon made his fifth appearance of the season following his return to Korea.

Gimpo's eight-game (plus two in the Cup) tour around Korea, which took them from Jeonnam to Anyang, Cheongju to Hyochang, is finally over. Ko Jeong-un's side return to their redeveloped Solteo Stadium next Saturday having collected three wins and eleven points, to sit in 7th. They were made to work really hard for the points in Cheonan, but Jang Yoon-ho's spectacular overhead kick on 82 minutes was worthy of winning any match.

Paulinho's third of the campaign puts him on pace to beat last season's total of eight in 19 matches. The Brazilian striker did brilliantly to get in front of his man to turn in Oh Yoon-seok's cross, injuring himself in the process. His Cheonan defenders will not want to watch a reply of Choi Jae-hun's opener. Leonard Pllana's shot from distance was saved by Jae Jong-hyeon in goal, but Ma Sang-hoon and Shin Won-ho were guilty of ball watching. Neither player responded to the save allowing Choi to nip in and score.

Suwon Samsung 1 (Fejsal Mulić 90+7')
Gyeongnam FC 1 (Lee Jun-jae 54')

Suwon World Cup Stadium

Fejsal Mulić celebrates his injury time equalizer. 

Fejsal Mulić was the hero again, conjuring an equalizing goal deep into added-on time to keep the Bluewings top of the standings. It must have been an awful journey back to Changwon for the Gyeongnam fans and players, having watched the three points slip through their fingers so late in the game. They led seven minutes into the second half, appropriately taking advantage of some typically hesitant Suwon defending for Lee Jun-jae to slot past Yang Hyeong-mo. On first viewing it looked like an own goal.

Both teams had several big opportunities following Gyeongnam's opening goal. Malian forward Tungara should have scored his first for this new team, but unmarked three yards out, his weak effort came back off the post with the help of goalkeeper Kim Min-jun. The equalizing goal was pure route one football; a long ball downfield was headed into space by Kim Hyun for fellow striker Mulić to latch on to and score across the keeper into the far corner. It probably should have been saved.

Jeonnam Dragons 1 (Kim Jong-min 57')
FC Anyang 2 (Ri Yong-jik 14', Yago 77')

Gwangyang Football Stadium

FC Anyang bounced back from their disappointing defeat last weekend to prove they are genuine promotion candidates with an excellent win in Gwangyang on Sunday. Yoo Byeong-hoon's side join Suwon at the top of the table and have a game in hand, too. The Violets have a lot of big game players for this level and it was telling that two of their best this season, Ri Yong-jik and Yago, were the men to score their goals in against Jeonnam. The Dragons' indifferent start to the season continues and based on the opening two months, they look less likely to go up than Anyang.

Ri's early opener is surely a contender for goal of the season. Against Suwon last week, the midfielder threatened with a 30-yard drive but in Gwangyang he succeeded. Some of the one-touch link play in the build up to Ri's goal was utterly sublime, too. And some of that was on show for Anyang's winner, which ended with Yago passing to himself before supplying a scruffy finish to end a good team goal. Anyang can play football. They are a joy to watch.

[READ: Interview with Cheongju's Venicio Fernandes]

Chungbuk Cheongju FC 0 
Bucheon FC 1995 0

Cheongju Stadium

It is unlikely this match will feature in any montages for the season's most exciting moments. Bucheon captain Nilson Junior thought he had won the game for his side heading home from a Rodrigo Bassani free kick in the 89th minute. The goal was disallowed following a VAR review. It was tight; Coventry City vs. Manchester United tight. On reflection, a draw was probably a fair result but the few really good chances there were fell to the visiting side, although both sides hit the same woodwork either side of half time.

35-year old veteran Han Ji-ho had the two best chances of the game. His first effort, immediately after half time, was brilliantly saved by man-of-the-match Park Dae-han in the Cheongju goal. On 50 minutes, the well-travelled forward was put through on goal but his weak effort was comfortably saved by Park. A hit post and a disallowed VAR goal later, the game ended and that's probably the last time we'll reference it this year.

Seongnam FC sat out Round 9.

Up next...
Gimpo FC vs. Bucheon FC 1995
Chungnam Asan FC vs. FC Anyang
Seongnam FC vs. Suwon Samsung
Jeonnam Dragons vs. Gyeongnam FC
Cheonan City FC vs. Ansan Greeners
Seoul E-Land FC vs. Chungbuk Cheongju FC

Busan IPark have a much-needed rest.

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