It was a game that began shrouded in farce as the K-League had announced on Monday past that they were giving the Police team a deadline of November 19th to submit their recruitment plan, if any, for the 2019 season. This is, of course, a deadline which has been extended a ridiculous number of times and as such left the K-League Two in the situation where no team really knew what, if anything, they were playing for as 2pm and kick-off approached.
The game in question was the confirmed 2nd place team (Seongnam) hosting the 3rd place team (Busan) and rather surprisingly boasted almost full-strength squads from both teams with I guess both looking to get the mental upper hand were they to meet in the playoffs at the end of the month.
The game started as a cagey affair with neither team really committing anything forward and so it would be for the first 30 mins or so until Busan cracked the bar after one of the best worked corners I’ve seen in a while. That intervention from the woodwork seemed to spark both sides into life as each team had half chances to take the lead before the whistle. The first half ended 0-0 with both sets of fans slightly more optimistic about the 2nd half, or maybe that was the Sake making it’s way to my head.
If the first half was cagey then the second half was anything but as both teams began to venture forward more and more. There were chances at both ends as space began to open up and then in the 54th minute Busan’s Kim Hyun-sung received a 2nd yellow card and his marching orders and with them the tide turned. Seongnam, sensing blood, made great use of the extra man in the middle and started to stretch Busan and the feeling among the fans in black, well those not feeling worse for the Sake, was that a goal was on it’s way. Lim Chai-min would sting the gloves of the Busan keeper first from a header and and then from a fantastic long range effort as The Magpies would push forward relentlessly in search of the goal their 2nd half attacking mindset deserved.
They would have to wait until the 87th minute for the breakthrough, but in truth if you have to wait for a goal it may as well be an absolute beauty. The ball was played forward and was firstly controlled on the chest by Lee Hyeon-il before he pulled off an overhead kick that Ronaldo would have been proud of. It was an incredible goal to end a roller-coaster season and it gave the fans behind the goal and those filling the slopes on either side something to sing, cheer and quite rightly celebrate after being deprived of their potential moment in the sun by the blazers at K-League HQ.
The final whistle was greeted with joy, relief and of course thoughts drifted towards November 19th and the announcement of whether Seongnam would need to prepare themselves for the playoffs or take a well-earned rest over the close season and gear themselves up for the 2019 K-League One season and their return to the top table of Korean football. This fan of course feels that there is only one decision to be made, unfortunately fans don’t seem to be at the forefront of the K-League blazer’s minds.