Last weekend had plenty of talking points as it brought us 12 goals in total and included our first hat-trick of the season as Seongnam’s Kim Do Heon put three past Daejeon. We also saw the debut of Park Chu Young and with it Seoul’s first points of the season. Suwon, Jeonbuk and Ulsan all safely took the points in their matches and a slight gap has started to open up at the top of the table. Daejeon also remain firmly rooted at the bottom of the table and already their goal difference is resembling a score capable of winning the US Masters. This week we are back to three matches on Saturday and three on Sunday.
Daejeon v Ulsan (2pm)
Not since David reached into his back pocket to find only a slingshot has there been such a potential mismatch as this one. An incredible 10 pts and 17 goals separate the two teams at either end of the table after only 4 matches played and this has the potential to be humiliating for the hosts. Daejeon have had the worst possible start to their return to the Classic league. To say they have looked second best in every match they’ve played is being politer than letting 15 ajummas get on the subway before you only to see the doors close and end up left on the platform. They did manage to snatch their first goal of the season last weekend and even though they only kept the lead long enough for me to tweet “wow! Daejeon have scored” it might give them a little boost. In contrast Ulsan are having a great start to the season. 3 wins and a draw from 4 matches sees them sit top of the table albeit on goal difference. Last weekend they inflicted defeat on Gwangju with a 2-0 home victory, the highlight being a great header from Kim Shin Wook who looks up for it this season after his injury at the end of last year. With fellow table-toppers Jeonbuk and Suwon not playing until Sunday they have the chance to put some pressure on them by beating Deajeon.
Prediction: Daejeon 0 Ulsan 2 (but could be more to be honest)
Seongnam v Busan (2pm)
8th take on 9th in a match which could see the victors finding themselves in the top half of the table depending on results later on in the day. Seongnam will probably have the edge in terms of confidence coming into the match having dismantled Daejeon last weekend before gaining a point midweek against Guangzhou R&F in the ACL. The Guangzhou match was a rather drab affair ending 0-0 but for the last 10 minutes Seongnam threw everything at them and but for better composure in front of goal would have won. Always a difficult team to beat at home (unless Suwon are in town) Seongnam will be hoping their forward line can be as lethal as last Saturday. Busan come into the match on the back of a confidence-sapping last minute defeat at Suwon. Having played the second half with ten men they battled back to level things with a 75th minute strike from Weslley. With the clock ticking down it looked like they had ‘won’ a point but up popped Kim Eun Seon with a 93rd minute winner and all their efforts were to no avail. There really isn’t a whole lot to separate these teams and you wonder if Seongnam’s midweek exertions might be the deciding factor.
Prediction: Seongnam 1 Busan 1
Jeju v Pohang (4pm)
The final match on Saturday sees Jeju take on Pohang at home. Both teams have had disappointing starts to the season and sit in 7th and 6th respectively. Jeju were on the end of a Park Chu Young inspired defeat in Seoul last Saturday but in fairness they must have boarded the plane back to the island wondering just how they had lost. This truly was a ‘game of two halves’, Jeju by far the better team in the first looked like awestruck kids in the playground when Park entered the fray second half. They have yet to concede a goal at home this season and did manage to score five against Daejeon in their last one. Pohang have been ridiculously erratic already this season, from the high of a victory in the Big Bird to the low of that 4-2 home defeat at the hands of Ulsan in a match where Shin Hwa Yong looked like he was wearing Krusty the Clown’s boots as gloves. Although early stages yet they won’t want to let the gap between themselves and the top of the table get any bigger and really need to start hitting some consistency.
Prediction: Jeju 0 Pohang 0