5 Things we learned from Round 6

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Five things we learned from Round 6

Winless Jeonnam

Yet again it would appear that the concept of attaining all three points in a game is alien to the poorer cousins in Jeolla Province. Leading 1-0 at home to Gwangju through a fantastic Orsic free-kick Jeonnam were only able to hold that lead for a total of 5 minutes before Hong Joon Ho squared things. They would then succumb to a strike from substitute Cho Ju Young with just over five minutes left. There was still time for the experienced figure of Stevo to miss a penalty as he squeezed his effort past the post although the penalty was a pretty harsh decision. They are still not bottom as that spot is currently occupied by Incheon but things are looking bleak for the POSCO boys.

Jeonnam launch a third kit
Jeonnam launch a third kit

A game lasts 90 mins when Incheon are in town

There’s an old saying in English football often coined by those soothsayers that are ex-pros which goes something like “a game lasts 90 minutes”. It’s up there with such  classics as “the best team won” that make you want to throw your new 43 inch TV out the window upon hearing it after your team throw away the lead. In Incheon United’s case though it does ring true. After coming from behind away to Champions Jeonbuk with a 91st minute Song Si Jong goal in Round 5 they repeated the feat again in Round 6, this time leveling the score at home to rivals Suwon Bluewings with Song again begin the last-minute hero. They might still occupy last place in the table but it could all by so much worse for them if it wasn’t for their ‘never say die’ attitude or perhaps it’s simply down to their opponents lack of concentration.

Seoul’s ‘ghostly’ support

The sit atop the table, their hero has returned, they boast a rather impressive ‘goals for’ record of more than 2 goals per game so obviously the Seoul World Cup Stadium is packed to the rafters every home game right? Well it would seem not! It would appear that the simple threat of rain is enough to send the Suhoshin scampering for cover in the local malls as only just over 13,000 turned out for what had all the potential to be another goalfest at Sangam. It may seem unfair to target Seoul as K-League attendances are poor across the board but in a city of 10M and with the team looking like they could score against any opposition it is yet another shocking crowd in a stadium that’s only really close to being ‘full’ if they have closed off a stand and sold their soul to the the evils of K-POP.

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Seongnam on the slide

It all started so well for Seongnam as they stormed to the top of the table with three wins out of four, which, coupled with Jeonbuk having a couple of unconvincing draws (including against cannon-fodder Incheon), resulted in renowned K-League talking head “48 Shades Mark” commenting that Seoul were Seongnam’s only realistic title-challenger.  A draw at home to Jeonnam in R5 didn’t do much to quell Mark’s ebullience as he boarded the bus to Jeonju for R6’s 2nd place show-down at the rather grandiosely named Jeonbuk Castle (although to be fair the concrete is crumbling like the masonry on a 1,000 year-old castle).  The game itself was pulsating as Jeonbuk twice took the lead before twice being pegged back only for Jeonbuk to snatch all three points at the death.  With a couple of tough fixtures coming up we’ll have to see if this is a temporary set-back or if they are on the slide towards the bottom half of the table.  Still at least he was able to console himself on the four hour bus journey back by looking forward to the next day’s Scottish Cup semi-final against a clearly inferior team….D’oh!!

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Again, daddy, again!

The ‘goals scored’ rule is working?

One of the big changes in the K-league this season was the move from goal difference to goals scored in determining the order of the league table.  Given that R6 didn’t have an obvious fifth talking point, 48 Shades has done some totally unscientific analysis of this years matches to date to determine whether the policy has worked.

2015 R1-6:

Goals Scored: 83 (2.3 goals per game)

0-0 Draws: 5 (14%)

Teams failing to score: 23 (32%)

2016 R1-6:

Goals Scored: 94 (2.6 goals per game)

0-0 Draws: 3 (8%)

Teams failing to score:  (24%)

Could it be that the K-league authorities have finally got something right?

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5 Things We Learned From Round 5

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Five things we learned from Round 5

Due to Election Day in Korea round 5 was upon us quicker than a Suwon Bluewings ACL campaign ends. We started the round with Seongnam sitting pretty at the top and a pointless Incheon rooted to the bottom of the table. Would all that change by full-time? Or would we see a round of ‘business as usual’?. There’s only one way to to find out…..

Jeonbuk Ain’t All That

Average in the league, unconvincing in the ACL it’s not been the swashbuckling, ‘sweep all aside’ start to 2016 that most were predicting but surely even a disappointing Jeonbuk would have too much for an Incheon side that already looks like they’ll be locking horns with Daejeon again next year. Much has been made of Choi Kang Hee’s rotation policy this season and it is definitely looking like this could be his downfall as for the second match on the bounce they lost a last gasp goal to slump to a draw. The fact it was at home to Incheon compounded the result all the more. You get the feeling that if he doesn’t find a settled eleven soon that it could all go ‘Pete Tong’ this season for the Champions.

Choi's rotation policy is out of control
Choi’s rotation policy is out of control

FC Seoul ‘Pay’ The Penalty

Last round we discussed ‘that’ penalty incident at Jeonnam when Seoul were awarded a rather ‘contentious’ decision, a decision which seems to have split podcasters and bloggers alike. In Round 5 Seoul would travel to Gwangju in the the hope of keeping the pressure on at the top of the table. Leading 1-0 after an early Park Chu Young goal they were gifted another penalty after a reckless challenge in the box by the Gwangju left-back, this time there was no dispute and the spot-kick was the correct decision. As Adriano stepped up and buried the ball in the net it was amazingly Seoul’s third penalty in three league matches. You could argue that the team that attacks the most has more chance of being brought down in the box….that or GS have invested in bigger brown envelopes this season.

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Without Kim Do Heon Seongnam look very ordinary

After the highs of Round 4 which saw a return to scoring form for Hwang Uijo during a well-deserved victory over Incheon United it was time for the only other ‘winless’ team in the league to visit Fortress Tancheon and surely face a defeat. Unfortunately nothing went to plan for the boys in black and the match finished 0-0. It was evident pretty quickly during proceedings that without their captain and main play-maker Seongnam fail to create enough chances to win a match. Sure Tiago and Uijo made runs into space and sure Pitu did a good job of plugging the gaps in the middle but without the guile of Kim it was a little too predictable and pedestrian.

The Captain is a huge loss for Seongnam
The Captain is a huge loss for Seongnam

Jeju are the Jekyll & Hyde of the K-League

With five matches played Jeju have managed two victories, two defeats and one draw to find themselves in 5th position in the table. This doesn’t sound like a hugely ridiculous start to a season and could be described as a tad erratic but the fact is they are two completely different teams home and away. On their home patch they are undefeated this season having notched up nine goals in three games and they look like they are capable of out-gunning any team that comes across the sea. Away from the Island though is where the problem lies, two matches played and two defeats is hardly the kind of record that is going to see them cement their status as a top six team.

Jeju Home and Away

The “People’s” Suwon are still on top!

They were going to be the cannon fodder of 2016, this year’s Daejeon or so we were led to believe as first Japa and then Sisi left for pastures new but so far it’s every non-Bluewings fan’s favourite team from the capital of Gyeonggi-do that is sitting furthest up the table. They are a stubborn bunch that’s for sure and their pressing style of play is winning them one or two plaudits as they refuse to sit back and take a defeat. Round 5 saw Belgium striker Ogunjimi grab another goal as he converted a penalty just on the cusp of half-time. They unfortunately couldn’t hold out and eventually conceded the equalizer with 20 mins to go but given the ‘big’ Suwonites inability to convert home advantage into points earlier in the day and again we see Suwon FC above Suwon Bluewings in the Classic. How much longer will it last? Well the first Suwon derby is only a few weeks away!!

Five things that we learnt from R4

Round three saw business as usual at the top and bottom of the Classic so here are five things we learnt from this week’s matches.

1. No Home Comforts
This week’s round of matches saw three score draws and three away wins leaving most home fans disappointed.  Jeonnam and Jeju fans will have been particularly disappointed after conceding in the last minute to lose and draw respectively.

2. Seoul Theatre is alive and well
FC Seoul have a reputation for scoring in the last minute to dig out a win and their match against Jeonnam saw the first occurrence of that this season as they got a last minute penalty to take all three points from a match they had not really competed in.  The internet was awash with conspiracy theories about the theatrical nature of the dive to earn the penalty. After viewing the replay, 48 Shades thinks that the Seoul player was tripped but definitely made the most of it.

3. Unbeatable trio
Three teams remain unbeaten after four rounds; bet you could have got great odds on Suwon FC being one of them prior to the start of the season! At the other end, Incehon remain pointless even though they fought back to 2-2 from 2-0 down and were gifted a brilliant chance for a third equaliser after the Seongnam keeper passed a backpass directly to Incheon’s non-Kevin foreign striker on the edge of the box. His failure to put that away will haunt his dreams for a while.

4. Jeonbuk stuttering on
Despite having the best squad on paper, Jeonbuk have not really being doing the job on the field although they are unbeaten and well in the mix. LDG scored with a tasty volley to take the lead in their match in Pohang but their shaky defence again let them down as they conceded a late eqaliser.

5. Kim Chang-soo must have booked a holiday somewhere
The Jeonbuk player followed up his red card in last week’s ACL match by getting sent off at the weekend for a horror tackle five minutes before the end. He lunged with is studs up, raking them down the Pohang player’s leg and into his ankle before following through with his trailing leg. He then had the nerve to smile while walking off the pitch. Anyway, that will presumably see him being able to jet off on holiday for three weeks or so…

Five Things we Learnt from R3

April promises to be a busy month with six rounds of the K-League Classic taking place and the first of these rounds contributed five new facts to add to the 2016 K-League Wiki…

1. Ban that Banner!
Anyone that has been to an FC Seoul game will be aware of Kim Yong-dae superfan and his succession of ever bigger KYD tribute banners. With KYD being shipped off to Ulsan over the winter, the most asked question in the Diablos forum was what new atrocity said KYD ajosshi would have to block our view with and in R3 we got our answer…Behold!
image1He swings it in a figure of eight regularly throughout the match completely obscuring our view…

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Diablo Bruce Banner’s view is blocked by KYD Ajosshi’s banner once again…

2. His Milkshake will bring all the boys to the yard…
Bluewings’ association with Maeil Dairies is the gift that keeps on giving. Hot on the heels of last week’s giant cow mascots is the news that the Man of the Match Award for this season will be 1,000 cartons of Maeil low fat and 2% calcium milk (500 of each?). Wunderkid Kwon Changhoon won the MotM award for R3 and when asked for his reaction said “It’ll be difficult to drink 1,000 cartons of milk by myself, I’ll have to think about what to do with them.” Sounds like a good competition for us to run, so answers on a postcard to the usual address!

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He’s really milking that!

3. Born Again Patriot
It’s now 4 in 3 games for the patriot to remain clear in the race for the golden boot. This week’s strike was very well taken as he hovered on the edge of the box and pounced on a half-hit clearance and slammed it into the net. The Patriot has really taken the Gwangju Phoenix mascot to heart in this renaissance.

4. Luck of the Irish!
All those years of singing Celtic chants has finally brought Seongnam the luck of the Irish as for the second week in a row they benefit from the lack of goal-line cameras in the K-League. This week Pohang had a clear goal disallowed and Seongnam won 1-0 to put them top of the tree.

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A close-up of the pitch at Tancheon!

5. Next stop Prawn Kimbap?
Where the UK is to the Dodgy burger van, so Korea is to pot noodles and dried squid…until now!  This past week, Ulsan had some foodtrucks at their game serving Turkish kebabs, Greek souvlaki and Mexican quesadillas.  Prawn sandwiches cannot be far behind!

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Don’t forget to crook your little finger!