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Week 11: Big Review of K League 2

Cheonan City recorded a famous victory on Saturday, humiliating the Bluewings in the Suwon deluge. The other promotion favorites, Busan IPark, suffered a fifth home loss of the season, and Seoul E-Land punished a disinterested Ansan Greeners. Elsewhere, Jeonnam won a 7-goal thriller in Bucheon and Gyeongnam have a contender for miss of the season.

Busan IPark 2 (Fessin 56', Lamas 78')
Chungnam Asan FC 3 (Kang Min-geu 34', Kang Jun-yeok 74', Park Dae-hoon 87')

Asiad Stadium

Busan's Lopes reacts to another home defeat.
Busan are a shadow of that team that came within a win of automatic promotion in 2023. This loss, their 5th of the season (all at home), means they're just one shy of last season's total. What will infuriate Park Jin-sub most is Busan twice came from behind only to lose late on. Chungnam Asan's win is their second of the year on the road, moving them to within a point of Busan. With 1/3 of the season gone, Asan are on pace to beat last season's total of 42 points.

Lamas brought Busan from the penalty spot with 12 minutes to play but his biggest contribution was an insane assist for Fessin's goal early in the second half. Lamas's chip over the Asan defense was perfectly weighted for Fessin to latch on to. Chasing a winner, Busan were sucker-punched at the end when Park Dae-hoon 's left-footed curler squeezed past Koo Sang-min. Every Busan player raised their arms in frustration, a familiar sight from the red and whites.

Ansan Greeners 0
Seoul E-Land 3 (Bruno Silva 63' and 90', Ikuba 92')

WA~ Stadium
Ko Mu-yeol protects the ball in difficult conditions.
You read that right. 384 fans attended Wa~ Stadium in the driving rain, a figure that represents around 1.2% of the stadium's capacity. It is a pity that a player of Bruno's undoubted class isn't being appreciated on a bigger stage. Seoul's opening goal was as good as any you'll see this weekend; after winning possession in midfield, four Seoul players combined to set up Bruno. It was one-touch football at its best in difficult conditions. His brilliant finish gave the goalkeeper no chance.

Their second, in injury time, was an Ansan special. The Green Wolves allowed a goalkick to bounce into Bruno's path. The Brazilian headed it past the Ansan defense, regathered, and slid the ball into the back of the net. If that was bad, check out the third. Ikuba looked miles offside but Ko Tae-gyu didn't bother pushing up, leaving Ikuba with a simple finish. The half-hearted nature of the chase back and arguing will no doubt infuriate the home crowd. If the players don't look interested, why should the fans?

Suwon Samsung 0
Cheonan City FC 1 (Bruno Mota 52')

Suwon World Cup Stadium

Kim Tae-wan gets soaked watching his men record a famous victory.
Despite sitting second in the table, this loss represents Suwon's most damaging defeat in a very long time. Cheonan City finished bottom in their first season in K League 2 and were last going into this game. Their game plan was simple, helped by the awful weather conditions; sit deep, frustrate your opponents, and take whatever chances come your way. Bruno Mota did just that on the way to a man-of-the-match performance.

The Bluewings will have to carry this humiliation for the remainder of the season. After the table-topping win in Anyang, Yeom Ki-hun's side dropped eight points in three games to hold a record of four losses in 11 games. They weren't helped by poor finishing, a muddled game plan, and surprisingly ineffective set pieces. As Yeom mentioned post-match, the plan was to bombard Cheonan's goalkeeper with crosses because of the wet weather. This only works if your deliveries are put in the right areas.

FC Anyang 0
Gimpo FC 0

Anyang Stadium
Kim Jeong-hyeon looks for a way through.
This was an incredibly frustrating draw for FC Anyang, who missed a golden opportunity to pull clear of Suwon and the other challengers at the top of the table. The stats will make for uncomfortable reading when Anyang reflect on this Gyeonggi derby; 66% possession, 22 shots on goal to 7, 14 shots on target to three, and more corner kicks. But, in reality, they were restricted to long range efforts that were either comfortably saved or blasted high over the bar in the opening 45.

However, in the second half, Anyang looked certain to score. They hit the post, and Gimpo's goalkeeper Son Jeong-hyeon made two fine saves; at one point it looked like the ball had crossed the line only for his strong left hand to keep it out. Late on, Yago thought he had won a penalty when he was brought down through on goal. Following a VAR review, the decision was overturned and a free kick awarded. Gimpo rode their luck but they nearly snatched an unlikely win in injury time. Last season's beaten play-off side are just 9 points back from Anyang with lots of home games to come.

Gyeongnam FC 1 (Lee Min-gi 5')
Seongnam FC 2 (Leonardo Ruiz 68' and 90')

Changwon Football Stadium

Unfortunately for Georgian forward Zurab Museliani, he could feature in A Question of Sport's "What Happened Next?" segment after a truly extraordinary miss in the 94th minute. With his team 2-1 down, having a surrendered an early lead, Museliani was standing four yards in front of an open goal when the ball was played to him from the right. The disbelief on the faces of the fans told its own story. Museliani skied the ball over the bar. In mitigation, the ball bobbled inches from where he stood, presumably due to the goalkeeper's kick outs, but it was a brutal miss which cost his team a point.

Gyeongnam took an early lead through a nicely worked goal. They created space down the right with some nice touches to set Lee Jun-jae clear on goal. His cross/shot was deflected, forcing the keeper to parry it into Lee Min-gi's path. From a tight angle, Lee volleyed home first time to give his side the lead. They kept that until the 68th minute when Ruiz scored his 5th and 6th goals of the campaign to bag all three points for Seongnam. The first was a tap in from 6 inches but the winner was a brilliant header from 12 yards, which the keeper had no chance to save.

Bucheon FC 1995 3 (Lupeta 4', Bassani 52', Han Ji-ho 63')
Jeonnam Dragons 4 (Jeon Yoo-sang 21', Jo Ji-hoon 46', Ha Nam 86', Valdivia 98')

Bucheon Stadium
Valdivia and Ha Nam celebrate in front of the away fans.
Jeonnam Dragons came out on top of a seven-goal thriller on Sunday night. The lead changed hands four times across the 90-plus minutes but it was Valdivia who scored the crucial goal, eight minutes into added-on time from the penalty spot. Before the game, legendary Bucheon defender Nilson Junior was honored on the occasion of his 300th game in Korean football. Bucheon took an early lead and then lost some of that momentum when two players were replaced inside 18 minutes for leg injuries sustained off the ball. 

Jeonnam equalized soon after the double substitution and took the lead 1 minute into the second period. A deep corner wasn't cleared properly, leading to a goalmouth scramble which Jo Ji-hoon converted. Bucheon then retook the lead; firstly Bassani converted a spot kick and then his corner lead to chaos in the Jeonnam box. For some reason, the visiting keeper was laying on the deck, untouched, allowing Han Ji-ho to head home. A wild finish ensued, with both sides having numerous chances to score another. Ha Nam thought he had rescued a point for the Dragons with a late header but deep into added-on time, Valdivia stepped up to covert his penalty and Jeonnam boarded the bus with all three points.

Chungbuk Cheongju sat out Round 11.

Up next...
Bucheon FC 1995 vs. Ansan Greeners (16:30)
Jeonnam Dragons vs. Seongnam FC (16:30)
Chungnam Asan FC vs. Gimpo FC (16:30)
Chungbuk Cheongju FC vs. Busan IPark (19:00)
Cheonan City FC vs. Seoul E-Land (19:00)
FC Anyang vs. Gyeongnam FC (19:00)

Suwon Samsung have a much-needed rest.

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