With it’s big brother on their World Cup break it’s been time for the K-League Two to showcase their talents to the football-starved Korean audience and it’s safe to say that few have been disappointed. Just this past midweek we had a Memorial Day to remember as three of the four matches played had 4 goals or more with two of them seeing goalfests as Bucheon ran out 4-1 winners over Suwon FC before Asan put league leaders Seongnam to the sword with a 4-2 humbling. With the K-League One trophy all but certainly keeping its green Jeonbuk ribbons on it could be the K2 which keeps the hardy K-League neutral tuning in until the winter months.
This weekend sees another round of potential cracking fixtures as Seongnam hope to bounce back and drag themselves out of a rather poor run of form against promotion hunters Busan I-Park, there’s a bottom of the table clash in Suwon and Bucheon will hope to keep their promotion dreams alive when they host Daejeon. It’s to Tancheon that we go for this week’s ‘Match of the Day’.
2018 K-League Two ~ Match Day 16 – ‘Match of the Day’
Seongnam FC vs Busan I-Park
Seongnam had been riding high through most of April and May and looked, at one point, in danger of running away with the K2 title, but two defeats and a draw in their last 4 outings have seen them come crashing back down to Earth and the swashbuckling and almost scintillating football that Nam Ki-Il has had them playing this season seems a distant memory for the fans in black. There have been some positives during that poor run though and undoubtedly one has been the form of ex_Pohang midfielder Philipe Muralha (pictured left) who has been a standout in The Magpies midfield the last month or so. A powerful and direct player he is also capable of finding the net and seems to particularly enjoy having a pop from distance. He’s only scored 3 goals this season but has come agonizingly close on numerous occasions and is definitely a player that they look to get on the ball as much as possible. It’s taken him a little while to settle into the team but he looks like he’s found his stride now. Seongnam, as mentioned above, lost midweek to The Police after taking the lead through Kim Jeong-hyun with only 60 secs on the clock. They were completely overrun and outplayed in the 2nd half though and, just like with their defeat in Ansan, they didn’t look like they could handle a team running directly at them. They will need to regroup this week and shake themselves down as another poor result against Busan could see them lose their lead at the top and even worse, fall into a 4 team battle for first with Busan.
I think it would be fair to say that Busan have been something of a disappointment this season after last year’s FA Cup final and Playoff heroics, you get the feeling most pundits would have had them leading from the front but have really struggled to match expectations. They are currently on a four game drawing streak having drawn 2-2 with Anyang midweek. Three of those draws have seen them come from behind though and it must be seen as somewhat of a positive that they don’t allow their heads to go down. A highlight of their season so far has been the form of 21yr old midfielder Kim Jin-gyu (pictured right) who is beginning to look like he might realize his FM Mobile 2018 potential. He’s scored 4 goals from 10 starts which considering the fact the team has only scored 18 goals in total all year is pretty impressive. He’s definitely a player that given time on the ball will punish even the best of teams and Busan will look to him to pull the strings in what will almost certainly be a hard fought battle in the middle of the Tancheon pitch on Sunday. For all that Busan have only scored 18 goals so far this season they have also only conceded 12 (joint best defensive record with The Police) and have managed to keep a clean sheet on five occasions. They currently sit in 4th spot in the table, 7pts adrift of Seongnam at the top. A victory at the weekend would see them right back in the title fight, a defeat? Maybe not so much!
The teams have faced each other a total of 41 times down the years with the most recent clash being a 1-1 draw in Busan on the opening day as Seongnam scored a last minute equalizer from the spot. Last year the games between the two finished ‘honors even’ as both won once (away from home) and drew the other two fixtures. The games do have the tendency to be quite unpredictable and home advantage hasn’t really counted for much recently. There is a lot at stake for both teams which could ultimately lead to a cagey affair, Seongnam have generally played better in the 2nd half of games under Nam and if it’s still even come the last 10 minutes or so it might just be the boys in black who wrap up the 3pts.
Prediction : Home Win : Seongnam 2 Busan 1
Also in the K-League Two this week….