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Week 18: Big Review of K League 2

FC Anyang moved five points clear at the summit of K League 2 after a dramatic victory over defensively inept Seoul E-Land. Suwon are still unbeaten under Byeon Seong-hwan, Ansan Greeners confirmed their status as Korea's worst team, and did Gyeongnam make a terrible decision sacking Seol Ki-hyeon? Here are the main talking points from week 18.

Chungnam Asan FC 4 (Kang Jun-hyeok 7', Juninho 17' and 48', Jose Monreal 75')
Gyeongnam FC 0

Yi Sun-sin Stadium

This extraordinary result moved Chungnam Asan temporarily into 4th and completed a league double over Gyeongnam, managed by their former coach Park Dong-hyuk. It must come as some disappointment that barely a scratch above 1,000 showed up to see the best Asan team, ever. Juninho picked up the man of the match award, continuing his good form, and a new recruit from Suwon FC, Jose Monreal, made an immediate impact, winning and converting a late penalty. Kang's opening goal, however, was the pick of the bunch.

For Gyeongnam, this was a truly awful result, especially in light of their midweek heroics in the cup. On Wednesday night, they played almost 80 minutes in unbearable heat with 10 men but still managed to put 4 past Ulsan HD. They went out on penalties. Asan was a reality check for the Changwon club who still occupy 12th. How much longer Park Dong-hyuk can keep hold of his job remains to be seen. Gyeongnam ended 2023 in the playoff positions. Was it a terrible mistake to remove Seol Ki-hyeon?

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

Suwon Samsung 3 (Fejsal Mulic 25', Kim Bo-kyoung 71', Jo Yoon-sung 95')
Seongnam FC 0

Suwon World Cup Stadium

All smiles in Suwon after Jo Yoon-sung completes the destruction of Seongnam.
Two clubs that experienced different emotions on Wednesday night met at a rain-soaked but jubilant Suwon World Cup Stadium. For the Bluewings, a first win since April, a first home clean sheet, three goals, and an assist for new signing Peter Makrillos. Chuck in a man-of-the-match display and first goal in blue for Kim Bo-kyoung and Suwon can feel good about themselves this weekend. Bigger tests await, starting with the long midweek trek to Gwangyang.

Seongnam unsurprisingly made wholesale changes from the line-up that scraped past Chungbuk Cheongju on penalties. But their curious form continues, which must be highly frustrating for their fans. After beating Suwon last month, they embarked on a four-game losing streak, then won two on the bounce, only to be flattened in Suwon. Their promotion race is far from over but they need to find form and the back of the net quickly.

FC Anyang 2 (Choi Seong-beom 15', Danrlei 85')
Seoul E-Land 1 (Danrlei, OG, 45')

Anyang Stadium

A K League 2 classic in Anyang on Saturday featuring atrocious defending, disallowed goals, controversies, a red card, and frankly bizarre officiating. Anyang's Brazilian striker Danrlei scored four times; two were disallowed, one was an own goal, and then Anyang's late winner. The reasons for Danrlei's disallowed second will remain one of life's great mysteries. It infuriated the home dugout with manager Yoo Byeong-hoon picking up a red card for protesting 5 seconds after being shown a yellow. 

Kim Do-kyun must have been pulling his hair out watching the shambolic defending for Anyang's two goals. The first was solely the responsibility of Kim Oh-kyu, who completely misread the flight of a long punt downfield, allowed the ball to bounce, and as he scrambled to get into position, Choi Seong-beom snuck in to give Anyang the lead. The second was even worse and needs to be seen to be believed. Jo Dong-jae played a three-yard pass straight to Danreli, who planted the winner. It was extraordinary. 

Bucheon FC 1995 0
Chungbuk Cheongju FC 4 (Yoon Min-ho 23', Hong Won-jin 35', Kim Seon-min 75', Nathan Oduwa 86')

Bucheon Stadium

Goalscorers Hong Won-jin and Nathan Oduwa celebrate a thumping win in Bucheon.
Two beaten FA Cup sides met in Bucheon on Sunday but the nature of this trashing will have surprised most observers. Cheongju had struggled for goals, managing 12 in their first 16 games. Only twice all year did they score 2 in a game so it goes without saying that this is, by far, their biggest win of the season. Cheongju have the meanest defense; they just need to stop drawing so many matches and they could go up. 

For Bucheon, seven goals conceded in two games makes for ugly reading. Occasionally Bucheon just lose their way in defense; this is the second time they've conceded four in a game, and on three occasions they conceded three. This loss brought to an end a run of five without defeat. Cheonan awaits midweek then Anyang rolls into town at the weekend. A tough end to June.

[READ: Paul Neat looks at Hong Myung-bo's incredible record]

Gimpo FC 1 (Lee Yong-hyeok 45')
Busan IPark 0

Solteo Stadium

Through to the quarter-finals of the Korean Cup, Gimpo are now up to 3rd in K League 2. We said from the outset that if Gimpo could stay in playoff contention after a grueling start to the season, then, with a load of home games to come, they could seriously challenge for the championship. The gap to Anyang is just six points. They have three more home games to come before a trip to Bucheon. Immediately following that, Anvisitsvisit Solteo. Blockbuster! The lack of goals remains a problem, and Luis Mina isn't bailing them out this season. After notching 16 last term, the Brazilian has just three this campaign. But Leonard Pllana is pure class. He was sensational again on Sunday.

It'll be interesting to see how much time Boffersoffer Park Jin-sub. After last season's demoralizing meltdown, they haven't come close to replicating their end-of-season form that appeared to ensure promotion. Their home form in 2024 is woeful and now they're dropping points on the road. They probably felt the game's only goal should have been a freekick as goalkeepers are overprotected here. But Busan were shredded for most of this game, and yet they came the width of the crossbar from snatching an unlikely point.

Ansan Greeners 1 (Park Jun-bae 45+1')
Cheonan City FC 2 (Paulinho 45+3' and 51')

Wa~ Stadium

Match winner Paulinho was in fine form in Ansan.
At what point will the local Ansan government decide enough is enough? The Green Wolves are rock bottom, with three wins all season - 2 in their last 15 games - and a measly 11 goals scored. Cheonan are a better team than 2023 but this represented a fine opportunity to pick up points and close the gap on the teams above. What will infuriate the coaching staff is Ansan opened the scoring in added-on time at the end of the first half. But they couldn't even take that lead into the break. Within minutes of the second half starting, Cheonan scored again and the game was up.

Paulinho grabbed both goals for Cheonan. The first was from a header and the second was a combination of outrageous skills/a massive slice of good fortune. Bruno Mota's flick was surely meant to be on target but it spun to the left post where Paulinho slammed home from a tight angle. Mota sometimes looks like the best player in the league, but having a partner like Paulinho is vital. His brace in Wa means the Brazilian has scored 14 goals in 31 appearances for Cheonan.

Jeonnam Dragons sat out Round 17.

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

Busan IPark have a much-needed rest.

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