5 Things we learned from Matchday 31
It’s all too little too late for Ulsan
For a team that started with so much promise, Ulsan have had a horrendous season in the league seeing themselves free-fall from second spot to third bottom during a run where they simply couldn’t buy a win. Poor performances from star players, spineless performances from others seemed to be supported by some baffling tactics that ensured their fall from grace. Then suddenly just when it looked like a playoff battle with Busan was becoming a reality for them they have put together a fantastic string of results, and performances, to creep their way up the table and into safety. Victories over Gwangju, Jeonbuk and Jeonnam and a battling draw away to Jeju has seen them become the form team in the Classic this month. Even the enigma that is Kim Shin Wook has started getting himself on the scoresheet again. He is either a joy to watch or something out of a Wes Craven movie, there is no middle ground. Unfortunately it is all too little to late for Ulsan as the best they can hope for now is 7th and the title of ‘best of the rest’.
Seoul eventually turn up for a Supermatch
It’s only taken 3 matches for it to happen but eventually FC Seoul decided to turn up for a Supermatch. 180 minutes had passed in the previous two encounters with Seoul only managing one goal, albeit a cracking free-kick from Molina, and I think few of their fans made the trip down to Suwon expecting this one to be different. About 30 mins before kick-off the team sheets came out and it looked like Choi had been on the flavored Soju as he opted to start with two up front and Molina and Takahagi behind them. It was a bold move and one that for the first 10 mins looked like it was going to backfire. But then on the 20th min mark Seoul got a penalty which Adriano converted and from them on there was only going to be one winner. Seoul ran out deserved 3-0 winners and went some way to exacting revenge for their 5-1 drubbing early this year. The icing on the cake had to be a great solo goal by the much maligned Cha Duri who had been taking his usual amount of abuse from away fans. Way to shut them up big man!
Jeju get squeezed out the top 6
It’s been a season of up and downs for the team from Jeju, although it’s probably been more downs to be honest. Slipping out of the top six and a quarter final exit at the hands of Incheon have been the two lowest points. But even though they were out of the top half of the table you still felt they had enough about them to claw their way back into things and at least finish the season out playing against the Jeonbuks and Suwons instead of the Busans and Daejeons. Unfortunately two poor home results on the bounce, first to Ulsan and then Pohang seem to have all but destroyed those chances. With remaining matches away to Busan and then a tough home tie against Jeonbuk it looks more than likely the boys in orange will be strutting their stuff in the lower half of the table come Halloween.
Hwang Uijo can’t stop scoring
It was another weekend and another goal for Seongnam’s favorite son this past Saturday. Fresh from collecting his first cap the 23 yr old came off the bench against Pohang two weeks ago to give Seongnam a chance of claiming a share of the points with a cracking volley only to see his defence blow it. Fast forward 7 days and he was blasting another cracker into the back of the Gwangju net to put his team one up. He’s scored seventeen in all competitions this season and is currently sitting 3rd in the K-League Classic scoring charts behind Adriano and Kim Shin Wook. When you consider he rarely takes penalties, a job entrusted to captain Kim Do Heon, then it really is a good return for a player playing in the colours of Seongnam. He can be a frustrating player at times, generally missing the easier chances, but there is no denying he has talent and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. His goals, along with the consistency of Kim Do Heon are the reason Seongnam are fighting for an ACL spot and not to avoid a playoff this season.
Jeonnam’s bottle crashing curse strikes again
Last season they were the team on most neutral’s lips as they have a great start to their inaugural season with their Romanized name. They looked destined to finish in the top six but then it all went pear-shaped and they started to slide down the table and then found themselves in the position of having five meaningless matches to see out the season. This season was to be oh so different, a new manager and a couple of new additions to the playing staff they were aiming to go one better and make the the top half of the table this time around. Again it all started well and they found themselves as high as third before that all too familiar sight of dropped points and unlucky calls started to impact on them. An incredible run of eight matches without a victory has seen them fall down into 7th place, three points behind Incheon. It’s not impossible for them to still claim a top six berth and indeed they are still in the FA Cup semi-finals so it could still end a successful season for them but you do get the feeling they lack the confidence and experience to claim the results they need for that to happen. Home to Suwon before away to Seoul is what awaits them in the league, it all looks too much for them at this point.