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Week 17: Big Review of K League 2

Seongnam FC were the biggest winners of week 17 after scintillating counterattacking football blitzed leaders FC Anyang. Suwon Samsung finally remember the benefits of a clean sheet but evidentially haven't learned how to convert chances. Gimpo are on the rise but Ansan Greeners are most definitely not. Here's our review of week 17.

Gyeongnam FC 0
Suwon Samsung 0

Changwon Football Centre
6,768


Two clubs with upcoming FA Cup trips to high-flying K League 1 clubs played out an eventful goalless draw in Changwon. New manager Byun Seong-hwan has halted Suwon's slide down the table and this clean sheet is their first since round 5; 12 games ago. This was their best performance in two months but goal-scoring is a massive problem, just like it was last season. Since scoring three in Anyang, Suwon have managed just four in their next eight games. The Bluewings could have hit five but for a variety of reasons - VAR, incredible saves, players blocking teammates' shots - they just couldn't grab that deserved winner. Their backline still has a potentially costly brain fart in every outing, however.

Gyeongnam were extremely lucky to come out of this with a point and a clean sheet. They spent the entire first time hanging on for dear life, and even though the opening 15 minutes of the second period showed some of their attacking potential, the last half-hour was backs-against-the-wall stuff. There's a long way to go but Gyeongnam's race looks over. They've never gone on any meaningful run of form and they face manager Park Dong-hyuk's former side, Chungnam Asan, after the midweek Cup tie.

[LISTEN: KLU reacts to Korea's back-to-back wins and a K League 2 special]

Jeonnam Dragons 1 (John Fraki Montano 92')
Bucheon FC 1995 1 (Welo Lupeto 69')

Gwangyang Stadium
4,013
If you're going to score a goal-of-the-month contender, you might as well go shirts off.
This late draw keeps Jeonnam Dragons second but crucially closes the gap on leaders FC Anyang. A month ago, Jeonnam looked like a 5th-placed team, at best, but they're now seven unbeaten and have recorded notable wins in that period over Gimpo, Anyang, and Seoul E-Land. Montano's equalizer was the definition of a 'screamer'. The assist came from Dragons' goalkeeper Choi Bong-jin whose punt downfield found Montano out on the right wing. The Colombian shimmied, did a couple of stepovers, and then opened his body before curling an unstoppable shot from the very edge of the box. Wonderful.

Bucheon are another team that are difficult to break down but they're simply not scoring enough goals. With one defeat in eight - and that was against Jeonnam who staged a scarcely believable late comeback in May - Bucheon are a mid-table side with a midtable record; the 17 goals scored is one of the lowest, just like the 17 conceded. Lupeto's opening goal was his fifth of the season but major question marks would need to be asked of Choi Bong-jin's goalkeeping. Bucheon have Cup football to look forward to.

Seongnam FC 3 (Jang Hyo-jun 29', Park Ji-won 59', Kim Jeonghwan 74')
FC Anyang 1 (Kim Dong-jin 52')

Tancheon Stadium
4,026

Park Ji-won inflicts more pain in the rain for sorry Anyang.
Seongnam really need to bottle performances like these and save them for the following week. After recording a pair of 2-1 wins in early May (including against Suwon), they went on a four-game losing streak, scoring just one. In June, they have picked up maximum points from two games, the highlight being this comprehensive beating of FC Anyang. Jang Hyo-jun scored the opener from an impossible angle and then had time to pick up a straight red card late on. Seongnam were really dangerous on the break and if performances like this become the norm, they should start climbing the table.

A difficult night for Anyang ended with their first away defeat and just their third of the season. With Jeonnan slipping up at home and Seoul E-Land taking a week off, this was a great opportunity for Yoo Byeong-hoon's side to extend their lead. They recovered from a goal down at the break through Kim Dong-jin but Anyang were hit on the break twice to leave with nothing. The second goal, especially, will annoy the coaches. A simple ball across goal evades four defenders before ending in the back of the net.


Gimpo FC 1 (Leonard Pllana 45')
Ansan Greeners 0 

Solteo Stadium
2,750

Gimpo players celebrate a late penalty save.
This match was surprisingly action-packed. It featured one of the league's best players, a red card, a saved penalty and several good chances wasted that all combined produced just a single goal. Gimpo were in an unfamiliar red kit and took the lead on the stroke of half time through their brilliant winger Leonard Pllana. With Luis Mina missing several good chances on Sunday and throughout the year, Pllana's winter arrival is pushing Gimpo towards the play-off spots. On Wednesday, they welcome Jeonbuk Motors in the cup and few would be surprised if they send the K League 1 team packing.

Ansan were pretty awful for much of the game, living of scraps and half chances. They scrambled well in defense but, in reality, poor finishing kept the game close until a dramatic late finish. Approaching injury time, Kim Beom-su was sliced down in the box. The referee waved play on even though it looked like a certain penalty on first viewing. Manager Lim Kwan-sik was shown a straight red for protesting, and then the referee was called to view his monitor. On-field decision overturned. Penalty given. Penalty saved. Poor Ansan.


Chungbuk Cheongju FC 1 (Hong Won-jin 18')
Cheonan City FC 1 (Bruno Mota 82')

Cheongju Stadium
2,576

Bruno Mota saving Cheonan is a familiar sight these days.
Both goals in this contest were of the highest quality and the final result was fair, even if Cheongju will be disappointed to concede so late. Bruno Mota deserves to be at a club competing at the other other end of the table, yet again rescuing his Cheonan team from defeat. Mota knocked the ball down to himself from a corner before rifling home with his right foot. It was a similar finish to Cheongju's in the first half.

Hong Won-jin opened the scoring when he chested down a cross from the right and volleyed the ball before it hit the ground. It was a superb finish, and Cheongju led against the run of play. On reflection, a draw was the right result. This is Cheongju's 9th draw in 16 games, yet they are one of several teams in joint 5th on 21 points. Goal scoring is a massive problem; Cheongju have managed 12 all season but they do boast the meanest defense. This Wednesday, Cheongju will travel to Seongnam for a winnable cup tie.


Chungnam Asan FC 0
Busan IPark 0

Yi Sun-sin Stadium
1,768

Park Jin-sub needs points to haul Busan away from the chasing pack.
The problem with Chungnam Asan is you just get used to results like this. Improvements have clearly been made over winter under a new coaching ticket but this was just another weekend Asan game that gently passed us by. The goalless draw brought Asan level on points with four other clubs for the final play-off spot but it is highly unlikely they'll finish close to that. This was their 6th (yes, 6th) home draw of the season from nine games. On the road, they've won or lost every game. 

Busan are level on 21 points with Asan following a rare dropped points on the road. Before this game, Busan had only failed to win two of seven games away from Asiad, a run of form that completely made up for their atrocious performances at home. Busan, like Suwon and Asan, are closer in points to Ansan in 13th than Anyang in first. Without the distraction of a cup run, Park Jin-sub will be under pressure to deliver wins as we head into the long summer months.

Seoul E-Land sat out Round 17.

Best of luck to Seongnam, Bucheon FC 1995, Chungbuk Cheongju, Gyeongnam FC, Gimpo FC, and Suwon Samsung who'll be flying the flag for K League 2 in the FA Cup this week.


Up next... (all games kick off at 19:30)
Saturday
Chungnam Asan vs. Gyeongnam FC (19:00)
Suwon Samsung vs. Seongnam FC (19:30)
FC Anyang vs. Seoul E-Land (19:30)
Sunday
Gimpo FC vs. Busan IPark (all 19:00)
Bucheon FC 1995 vs. Chungbuk Cheongju FC
Ansan Greeners vs. Cheonan City FC

Clashes at both ends of the table. A great weekend to look forward to.

Jeonnan Dragons have a much-needed rest.


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