Week 2 of the K-League grew attention far and wider yet again as Sangju surprised everyone with their win over Gangwon while Jeonbuk surprised nobody as they defeated Busan with another late goal. We did of course make headlines worldwide yet again although this time it was for off the pitch action as FC Seoul misunderstood the concept of their fans “getting dolled up” for a game. This week’s games sees the return of Friday night football and it should be a cracker as Pohang welcome Seoul to town.
Prediction : Home Win (2-1)
Saturday 23rd May
Gangwon FC v Seongnam FC (16:30)
After that scintillating opening day performance against Seoul that garnered the name “Byungsoo Ball” (read The Tavern’s article here) , Gangwon disappointed the neutrals as they fell to a 2-0 loss away to Sangju Sangmu. They did continue to play the good football of the previous week but they were far more wasteful in front goal and seemed to be too easily caught by Sangju’s quick counter attacks. Lee Hyun-sik was lucky to be one of only two yellow cards for Gangwon as the visitors grew more and more frustrated in the 2nd half. They have a pretty strong squad and it will be interesting to see if they swap a few players around this week with names like Ko Moo-yeol and Kim Ji-hyun itching for a start.
Gangwon have been something of Seongnam’s bogey team the last few years and it would surprise many if they didn’t continue to frustrate The Magpies this week.
Prediction : Score Draw (1-1)
Suwon Samsung Bluewings vs Incheon United (16:30)
Last week Suwon Bluewings threw away a two-goal home lead against lead leaders Ulsan FC at the Suwon World Cup Stadium as they collapsed in the 2nd half with most of their players practicing ‘social distancing’ from the ball. They led through goals from Ko Seung-beom and Sulejman Krpić, who looked assured on his debut , with Ko’s goal being a pretty sweet strike. Bluewings looked good until Ulsan scored after which they completely disintegrated and it must be a concern for fans and players alike at just how easily they lost the game. Last year’s top scorer Adam Taggart was dropped to the bench and he looked beyond angry when he came on for Han Eui-gwon on 60 minutes.
Prediction : Home Win (1-0)
Sangju Sangmu vs Gwangju FC (19:00)
Sangju were like one of those Extreme Makeovers last week as they bounced back from a 4-0 hammering at the hands of Ulsan to put Gangwon FC to the sword on Saturday. Their fans surely feared the worst when Moon Seon-min was dropped to the bench but it must have been the kick up the arse he needed as only 3 mins after coming on he scored a goal that ex-Seongnam hero Tiago would have applauded. Intercepting the ball at an opposition corner he ran with it almost the full length of the pitch before calmly placing into the bottom corner past Lee Bum-soo in goals. That made it 2-0 after an earlier Kang Sang-woo penalty had fired the Army in front, an extreme difference from the previous scoreline indeed.
Gwangju have not had the best of starts to K1 life as they followed up that defeat to Seongnam with a 1-0 defeat to FC Seoul. They barely laid a glove on the Capital side, managing just one shot on target in a game that never really got started. They came up last season with a lot of hope, and perhaps too much hype, but unlike Busan don’t really have anyone else to blame for the poor start. Felipe really needs to start getting more, and better, service if he is to lead their campaign to keep their top table place.
Prediction : Home Win (2-1)
Sunday 24th May
Jeonbuk Motors vs Daegu FC (16:30)
Jeonbuk maintained their 100% start to the 2020 season with a last gasp 2-1 victory over Busan in the final game on Saturday night in what was another unimpressive performance from the Champions. They started well and took the lead through Hong Jeong-ho but as the game went on they were pinned back by the “new boys” and there could be no complaints when Romulo opened his K-League One account from the spot. Just like last week it was a substitute who would earn them the 3pts as Lars Veldwijk came off the bench and grabbed the winner. This just goes to highlight the depth in squad that is available to Jose Morais who boasts a bench most teams would love to have in their Starting XI, but question marks do continue to remain over how they’ll handle one of the league’s better teams.
Prediction : Home Win (2-0)
Ulsan FC vs Busan IPark (19:00)
The last match of the weekend features the most impressive side in the K League 1 this season as Ulsan play host to Busan in a local derby. They come into the match on the back of that incredible comeback against Bluewings and are looking every bit the team capable of prising Jeonbuk fingers off the league trophy. Junior scored his second brace in two games as they ran all over Bluewings in the 2nd half. Lee Chung-yong was fantastic in what looked like a free role and hurt the opposition time and time again. I may be getting carried away but this Ulsan team do look unstoppable.