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What we learned about Daejeon's draw with Suwon Bluewings

Daejeon may be safe but Suwon definitely are not, sitting bottom of the table and two points behind Gangwon heading into Sunday's contest. The onus was on the Bluewings, then, to get a much-needed win; incentivised by Gangwon only managing a draw with Jeju on Saturday. For Daejeon, then, the last few games are a chance for manager Lee Min-sung to see how his team approached the last few games. But what could be learned about Daejeon's performance?

In the end, salvaging a draw after being 2-0 down heading into the last 10 minutes will have felt like a win for the fans, players, and coaching staff. But there were some lessons to be learned from the performance and tactical approach. We learned that Lee Min-sung is willing to experiment, that he's willing to give starts to some young players, and that he is willing to make first-half changes if things aren't going right. But, what else?

Daejeon aren't suited to a back four

The lineup sheet had Daejeon in a 4-2-1-3 with Anton Kryvotsyuk and Cho Yu-min at the heart of a back four with Kang Yoon-seong at left back and the returning Oh Jae-suk on the right. Lee Dong-won partnered Lim Dug-keun in the centre of midfield with Lee Jin-hyun in the 10 position; Tiago was flanked by Lee Seon-yu and Shin Sang-eun. 

It became clear from the opening exchanges that the formation was more or less a 4-2-1-3 but Lee Jin-hyun was opting to drop into a six position with Lee Dong-won moving further forward. The Purples are usually set up with a back three so clearly Lee Min-sung was trying something out.

Daejeon in possession in the opening exchanges

Daejeon never really looked comfortable with a four and this was highlighted by Suwon's first goal. Suwon broke the deadlock with a superb finish from Kim Ju-chan who was free on the left but it could have been prevented had Daejeon been switched on. Oh Jae-suk looked to have been following Kim Ju-chan but once the play shifted to the right, he stopped. Shin Sang-eun didn't spot the danger in the first phase of play and by the time Kazuki picks the ball up and looks to play Kim in, he has acres of space. The first thing Oh does after the goal goes in is point toward Shin Sang-eun as if to say 'Where were you?'.

In a back three with wingbacks, Daejeon's right-sided centre back would have had protection. But with Oh Jae-suk having to tuck in, he had no protection with his winger Shin Sang-eun asleep and not tracking back. Lee Min-sung will have had some stern words for his players during the interval in terms of their concentration levels but his formation simply didn't work and it's also clear that Daejeon still haven't solved their right back problem. 

Daejeon's shape out of possession at the start of the second half

It wouldn't have been at all surprising if Daejeon switched to a three in the second half but Lee Min-sung stuck to his guns and the back four stayed. Maxwell Acosty, forever a thorn in Daejeon's side it seems, made it 2-0 on 30 minutes with a header no more than six yards out. It was simple in its execution with a long throw into the box, flicked on with Acosty on hand to nod in but from a Daejeon perspective it was a poor goal to concede. Cho Yu-min is actually who makes the flick on, not able to get enough contact on the ball when attempting to clear but more than anything, what will have been most disappointing was that no one was picking up Acosty. Kim In-gyun is to Acosty's right but doesn't see him and neither Anton nor Kang Yoon-seong glance to their left. Acosty wouldn't have believed his luck.


Daejeon seem to forget Tiago's strengths

Tiago was given the nod to start up top against the Bluewings, returning to the starting XI after being on the bench last time out and with the golden boot in his sights. Daejeon weren't able to impose themselves on Suwon in the final third and Tiago cut a lonely figure up top. Not a single proper shot on goal in that first 45 tells its own story.

Daejeon have this interesting way of seemingly deciding they do not want to play to Tiago's strengths or that they forget how to. He is excellent at getting on the end of crosses or balls into the box not once in the first 80 minutes did they look to do that.

Finally, a decent ball into the box and Daejeon had pulled one back; Tiago turned in from close range for his 16th goal of the season. Kang Yoon-seong did well to exploit the half-space and show good composure to tee up Tiago who started the comeback. A good ball into Tiago led to the equaliser too with the Brazilian nodding the ball down to Masa. Once Daejeon had got in behind and fed Tiago, they seemed to remember again how to utilise their top scorer. 

Lee Min-sung might be unsure about playing the kids

Lee handed starts to Lee Seon-yu and Lee Dong-won, two emerging talents who have been in and around the first team this season or last. But both were taken off after 27 minutes with Masatoshi Ishida and Kim In-gyun coming on. Lee Seon-yu started at left wing for what was only his second appearance at K League 1 level but only eight of his 24 actions were successful, according to Wyscout. Lee Dong-won has made six appearances this season and did slightly better than Lee Seon-yu in a central midfield role with eight of his 18 actions being successful. Whether the two first-half substitutes were planned or not is unknown but Lee Dong-won has started games before and played more than a half, lasting 65 minutes against Gangwon and the Bluewings just a few weeks ago.

It was an incredible and frankly unlikely turnaround at Big Bird with Daejeon looking dead and buried after a poor first-half display. Once some adjustments were made, particularly in the attacking third of the pitch, Daejeon looked a bit more like their usual selves. But the performance for much of the drew at Big Bird will have given Lee Min-sing something to think about ahead of the visit of Gangwon in Round 36.

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