[Recent News][6]

K League 1
K League 2
FC Seoul
Korean National Football Team
Seoul E-Land
FA Cup
K-League Classic
Pohang Steelers
K League Challenge
Suwon Bluewings
Seongnam FC
Bucheon 1995
Suwon FC
Daejeon Citizen
Football Manager
From The Stands
K League Classic
Busan IPark
World Cup
Korean national team
Elimination Game
Asian Cup
KNT Women
Chungbuk Cheongju
K League All Star Game
Russia 2018
East Asia Cup
Qatar 2022
Power Rankings
Away Days
Club World Cup
Busan Transport
Inter Korea
North Korea
Ulsan Citizen
Yangpyeong FC
Asian Games
Chiangrai United
Cho Hyun-woo
Final A
Final B
Final Round
Goyang Citizen
Mokpo City
National League
Russia 2020
Winners Circle

Defensive Woes Help Lift Asan to a 3-0 Win at Jeonnam

Promotion-seeking Jeonnam Dragons suffered a shock result at the weekend, losing by three goals to a Chungnam Asan side that has struggle for most of the season. Guest columnist Ben Griffis takes a look at the Dragons' defensive woes that led to such a scoreline.

Title chasers Jeonnam Dragons hosted a struggling Chungnam Asan in good form this weekend at Gwangyang Football Stadium. Jeonnam came into the match in 2nd, just two points behind league leaders FC Anyang. Asan, meanwhile, sat three points off the bottom in 9th. Both teams were in decent form, with Jeonnam going unbeaten in their last four matches while Asan hadn’t lost their last two after losing four in a row.

Here’s how both teams lined up on Saturday.

Figure 1: Starting lineups and substitutes.

Looking at the matchup on paper, it appeared Asan would struggle for goals. While both Jeonnam and Asan rank in the bottom half for goals scored (Asan 9th with 18, Jeonnam tied for 7th with 20), Jeonnam have let in the fewest, conceding just 12 goals in 20 matches.

Figure 2: Goals for and Goals Against in K League 2 before round 21’s fixtures.

Furthermore, Kim Da-sol has been one of the best goalkeepers in the league this season, keeping six clean sheets in 13 appearances and conceding just 0.77 goals per match. Asan’s starting keeper for the match, Park Ha-keun, has performed remarkably similar to Kim Da-sol, so this match was set up to be a low-scoring affair—on paper.

Figure 3: Goalkeeper performance in K League 2 before round 21’s fixtures.

The match, however, was fairly high scoring as Asan beat Jeonnam 3-0, scoring two set-piece goals and one clinical counter. While Jeonnam had let in the fewest goals and have one of the best goalkeepers in the league, their defense had several issues in this match. Asan took advantage of the issues to end Jeonnam’s good run of form while continuing theirs.

As the possession breakdown shows, Jeonnam’s defense had little sustained work to do. Jeonnam had most of the possession and played low-tempo passes before looking for dangerous balls, while Asan mainly used their possession by attacking on the counter or by playing at a high tempo.

Figure 4: Possession breakdown by 15-minute intervals.

Asan’s high tempo both when starting attacks and while countering carved Jeonnam open on multiple occasions throughout the match. There were two key reasons Asan were able to attack so efficiently. First, Jeonnam’s shape during their attacks was wide with lots of distance between defense, midfield, and attacking lines, aiming to open up spaces for dangerous balls up the lines. This shape, however, left plenty of space for Asan to play in when they won the ball and Jeonnam transitioned to defense.

Second, Jeonnam’s transition from attack to defense was usually lazy, with several attacking players slowly stopping their runs and tracking back to their defensive positions. Asan typically had a few seconds to pass the ball or dribble into suitable positions before Jeonnam were in any sort of solid defensive shape.

Asan’s second goal, from Kim Chan, showcases this weakness perfectly. Asan won the ball at the start of their defensive third when there were five Jeonnam players in front of the ball carrier. All five were slow to react and transition, leaving just Kim Hyeon-uk to close down Kim Jae-heon as he picks up the ball. The slow nature of Jeonnam’s transition leads it to be ineffective. Kim Jae-heon plays a ball over the center backs to Kim Chan, but it was a little wide, so Kim Chan has to move into the box. Kim Chan is allowed time and space because Jang Sun-hyuk kept backing further towards his goal instead of restricting space and pressuring Kim. Kim Chan recognized the opportunity and placed the ball perfectly into the corner of the goal—space that Choi Ho-jeong should have been in. Choi motioned to Park Chan-yong to track Alex Sandro’s run, but then tracked it himself as well, leaving the far post angle open for a clinical finish by Kim Chan.

While Asan only scored one goal from Jeonnam’s ineffective transitions, they were able to get several shots off at the end of counters and use their limited possession well. The match’s shooting statistics show how open Jeonnam were when Asan attacked.

Even though Asan had 42% possession to Jeonnam’s 58%, Asan had eight shots—just one fewer than Jeonnam’s nine. Asan averaged a shot about every 4:45 minutes, while Jeonnam averaged a shot about every 5:45 minutes. Asan were also allowed more dangerous shots, with six on target compared to Jeonnam’s one. That’s a 75% shot on target percentage for Asan, and 11% for Jeonnam. Even with a great goalkeeper in Kim Da-sol, those are numbers Jeonnam would have wanted to avoid.

Chungnam Asan’s other two goals came from set pieces. Han Yong-su’s opener came from a free kick close to the corner flag, and Kim Hye-song’s goal came from a corner.

Park Se-jin’s free kick to set up the first goal was well-placed, flying over both Kim Tae-hyeon and Choi Ho-jeong’s heads. Both defenders were focused on tracking Yoo Jun-soo’s run to the near post and not on Han Yong-su. As a result, Kim and Choi are both off balance by the time they make a play for the ball and can’t jump high enough to get anything on it. Han Yong-su reads the ball very well for a stooping header into the side netting. Either Kim or Choi should have stayed in front of Han, since both players don’t need to track Yoo’s run.

Kim Hye-song’s goal came from a pin-point Kim Jong-kook corner. Kim Jong-kook delivered the ball straight to Kim Hye-song at the top of the 6-yard box after he won the physical duel for positioning over Park Chan-yong. Kim Hye-song could then jump vertically for the ball above instead of slightly ahead or behind him and choose his placement. Park Chan-yong knew he was beaten and fouled Kim by grabbing much of his shirt—but that didn’t stop Kim from scoring. Prior to this, Nnamani had backed away from Park and Kim as the ball came in to cover the space behind the two players if they missed it. As hindsight is 20/20, his physical presence would have helped make it harder for Kim Hye-song to get into a good position, but Nnamani made the right move at the time, as there was plenty of space behind Kim and Park in the ball’s path and an onrushing Asan player.

Overall, Jeonnam dominated the possession but were outdone by their relaxed approach to defensive transitions. Multiple Asan counters threatened Kim Da-sol’s goal, even if only one went in. One goal was all Asan needed by keeping a clean sheet, but they scored two further goals from well-placed set pieces with help from less-than-optimal Jeonnam defending.

Chungnam Asan will be happy with their clinical performance even if they remain 9th after Seoul E-Land’s draw on Monday. They continue their good run of form, going without a loss in three straight matches for the first time all season. Jeonnam Dragons end their good form, but were lucky not to lose ground in the title race after FC Anyang lost to Daejon Hana Citizen.

- Ben Griffis

No comments:

Post a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search