Last week saw two rounds of K-League One games as we had a round of midweek matches which finally witnessed FC Seoul run out of luck as they traveled to Jeju full of confidence only to fall to a 4-2 defeat with ex-Seoul hero Yun Il-lok getting himself a hat-trick.
Elsewhere there were wins for both Jeonbuk and Ulsan who sit 1st and 2nd respectively. Bluewings climbed into the top 6 with back-to-back victories over Jeju and Incheon while Seongnam lost away to Pohang leaving them 4pts adrift in 9th position but still with a pretty decent buffer between themselves and the relegation pack.
There are only two games this Saturday with the highlight of the two being the Gyeongin Derby between bottom side Incheon United and third placed FC Seoul in Incehon Football Stadium. The last time the two teams met it was a borefest of a 0-0 draw with the highlight being Park Chu-young blazing over the bar from 6 yards out. Incheon won the last derby at home with Nam Jun-jae and Moon Seon-min scoring that day, both are now plying their trade elsewhere in the K-League and Incheon are by far the weaker for that. They lost 3-2 to Suwon Bluewings on Wednesday night and now trail Gyeongnam by 3pts at the bottom of the table and it looks like it is going to take a minor miracle for them to retain their K-League One status. FC Seoul, as mentioned above, finally saw their luck, or VAR bias, run out and now sit 3rd and 4pts behind Ulsan who still have that game on hand against Sangju. Seoul found themselves 2-0 down after only 10 mins on Wednesday night and 3-0 come half-time. It was as comprehensive a defeat as you could witness and given that is their first defeat since April and only their third all season it will be interesting to see how they bounce back from it, though Incheon is not exactly a tough nut to crack these days.
The other match on Saturday night sees Jeju United hope to build on that midweek victory over Seoul when Pohang Steelers come to town. That midweek victory hoisted Jeju to 10th in the table as they capitalized on Gyeongam’s defeat to Ulsan. Given that Gyeongnam lost again last night another home victory this weekend would see The Islanders begin to put some light between themselves and the playoffs. Pohang also got back to winning as an Iljutcenko goal earned them victory over Seongnam. It was a game that they controlled from the kick-off and one that they could have won by a far larger margin. They hit the post twice in the first half and missed another couple of half chances as they looked a far better team than the one that lost to Seongnam earlier in the season. You have to go back to May 2017 for the last time that Pohang won the fixture and given recent form this one is a tough one to call.
The Match of the Day without doubt is the top of the table clash at Jeonju World Cup Stadium as Jeonbuk take on Ulsan as both Hyundai giants vie for top spot. Both teams had relatively straightforward victories midweek with Ulsan defeating Gyeongnam 3-1 and Jeonbuk easily dispatching of Daegu with a comfortable 4-1 win. Moon Seon-min scored a hat-trick to take his tally to eight goals for the season and given the departure of Kim Shin-wook he is now in pole position to finish the season as their top scorer. Ulsan are not exactly shot-shy themselves with Junior also bagging himself eight goals. Both teams have the tightest defences in the league to match their potent strike-force and this clash has all the elements to live up to it its top billing.
Also on Sunday we have Bluewings travelling to Sangju hoping to make it three wins on the bounce while Seongnam host Daegu hoping to stop it being three defeats on the bounce. Bluewings have had Adam Taggart to thank for their recent rich vein of form as the Aussie hitman grabbed goals 9 and 10 on Wednesday night against Incheon. He has now scored in four of their last five matches as they remain unbeaten since that embarrassing Supermatch collapse. Sangju come into the game on the back of an absolute trouncing in Gangwon as they lost 4-0 and you can’t really imagine them giving the Bluewings much of a game this weekend to be honest.
Seongnam slipped from 8th to 9th after losing their last two matches, with the defeat in Pohang probably hurting more than the previous loss to Jeonbuk. Eder scored yet another goal of the season contender to level the score at 1-1 in the Jeonbuk match but it was only to provide a slight glimmer as the Champions went on to the win match relatively comfortable. There is a big enough gap between Seongnam and the rest of the bottom six to allow them another slip-up or two but then that’s what they thought last year as they blew the K-League Two title and finished runners-up to Asan. Daegu are also struggling for form and have fallen to 5th following a run of five games without a win, in Cessinha they have their own Brazilian capable of magic but too often they rely on him or the goalkeeping heroics of Jo Hyun-woo and it would seem like it’s finally taking its toll on them. The game will see Seongnam return to Tancheon after their sabbatical in Moran….will it be a Fortress once again for them?