If there’s one thing Seongnam fans missed most as they were making their way from Anyang to Asan in the K2 it was the sight of their biggest rivals, Bluewings, across the pitch from them. Thankfully the K-League Gods had decided not to make them wait too long for the opportunity to lock horns both on and off the pitch as the fixture’s computer churned out a Bluewings visit in week 3 of 2019. Tancheon Stadium is nicknamed ‘Fortress Tancheon’ and so it was only apt that even though the game in question was at Seongnam Sports Complex that I went armed with a bottle of Fortress makgeolli (산성 막걸리) for the occasion.
It was a mad dash to make kick-off due to me being in mid-move and you can imagine the smiles on Mrs. Kilt’s face as I shirked my furniture lifting duties to head down Moran way but it was Bluewings at home and I was sure she’d understand…..finally. I got to the stadium with a minute or two to spare and headed straight for the back rows of the ‘Blackzone’ area, a location I would have to leave by half-time due to the coldest of winds whipping through the roofless stands.
Much like the Seoul clash the previous week Seongnam started well but couldn’t turn their early possession into clear-cut chances as once again Eder proved to be more than a handful for a K-League One defence. And indeed much like Seoul it would be the visitors who would take the lead, Jeon Se-jin winning his team a penalty kick with a ridiculous dive on the 25th minute mark and Yeom Ki-hun coolly converting from the spot almost Pirlo-esque. It was a lead that would be relatively short-lived as Seongnam would equalize with their own penalty as Kim Min-hyeok was pulled down in the box, Eder scoring.
The remaining 10 mins or so were cagey as neither team wanted to trudge down the tunnel on the end of a 1st half defeat. The HT whistle sounded as Dejan complained and the rest of the players made their way towards the changing rooms and that all important half-time team-talk, well at least one manager gave one!.
As the players left the pitch I decided enough was enough of the wind and walked round to the other end of the stadium to try and find some shelter. This resulted in me being closer to the away fans and some fifty-odd minutes later there was nowhere I’d rather be as a majestic injury-time strike from Cho Sung-jun won the game for Seongnam and consigned Suwon Bluewings to three straight defeats. Bluewings started the 2nd half by bringing on the firepower of Adam Taggart and Waguininho and it was the latter who seemed most up for the challenge as he made run after run teasing the Seongnam defence out of position.
Despite those changes though it was the hosts who carved out the best chances although they survived a pretty solid claim by Bluewings for handball with 10 mins left. With the game heading towards a 1-1 draw some neat footwork from Seo Bo-min allowed him to find space and he laid it into the path of Cho to fire home the winner from about 20yds. It was a fantastic strike and one which will be replayed over and over on many a Magpie’s phone and laptop.
The full-time whistle sounded shortly after and as the Seongnam fans danced and celebrated all that was left was for the Suwon Bluewings players to make their way to their rather upset fans and bow in apology. A moment I was only too happy to catch! It’s been an interesting start to the season for Seongnam with two defeats and a win, away to Gangwon and home to Jeju await after which we should have a clearer picture of how the season might unfold.