by Joe Quinn (@chiefinkorea)
A belated and (thankfully?) fairly brief alternative view for you this time round.
Last week Suwon FC managed a 1-0 victory at home over Busan. In truth, the game was dire until the 54th minute when Suwon FC centre forward Matheus Alves was shown a red card for a second bookable offence. I’m unsure of the merits of the red card as I missed the flashpoint. Matheus, already on a dubious yellow card, was clattered into by the Busan number 4; let’s call him Hong Jin-gi, for that is his name. Not Big Cheating Twat as I had originally thought. As I followed the ball, I missed what happened next but when the whistle blew Hong was rolling around holding his face and Matheus pleading innocence. The referee, overly fussy all day, proceeded to book both of them (without consulting VAR I might add) and Matheus was off. Hong, needless to say, made a remarkable recovery. Surprise, surprise!!
At this point my already small expectations of a Suwon win diminished. There had been very little cohesion all season and while Busan hadn’t shown much either, I fully expected them to take advantage of their numerical supremacy. Suwon’s total of 3 goals in the previous 6 league matches didn’t fill me with confidence.
But then a funny thing happened. Suwon showed some spirit and urgency. The remaining attacking players ran and harried more than I’d seen all season. Midfielders put more “umph” into their tackles. Defenders stopped “fannying about” to use a lovely Scottish expression. Goalkeeper, Kim Da-sol stopped everything that came his way. To be fair to Kim, I really rate him as a goalkeeper, and we looked much more vulnerable in the games he missed through injury earlier in the season. To top this off Suwon managed to score a goal. In the 72nd minute Park Se-jin bombed forward from his right wing back position and possibly fortuitously (but he who dares wins and all that) found himself in on the goalkeeper and blasted home from around 8 yards out. Cue mass hysteria among the Suwon fans. OK, that might be stretching it but we were happy and the wife informs me my gut got some spring sunshine as I jumped around like a demented fool (must buy bigger tops). Busan largely dominated the rest of the game and had a few chances but it was a hard-earned win for the heroes in red and blue. Having not watched it back (part-time fan!!) I am unsure if the red card was justified or not but the possible sense of injustice seemed to fuel the players on Sunday.
So the question is: can that red card be the catalyst for better performances from Suwon? Can we see performances more akin to the pre-season expectations of them? Was it the adversity they needed to rouse them from their slumber and get their season back on track or will it prove to be a one-off? I certainly hope the team build on the victory. With Bucheon being brought back to the chasing group, it’s all to play for as the K-League 2 looks like being especially tight this season.
I have been harsh in my analysis of their performances this season. However I recognize injuries have been cruel. Highly-rated players such as Adrian Leijer, Baek Seong-dong, Kim Dong-chan, Bruno and others have all missed large chunks of the season so far. Manager Kim Dae-eui has seemed panicky early in the season with mass changes in formation and player selection week to week. I think I’m right in saying we’ve had 5 different captains in 7 league games. Having said that, his substitutions on Sunday were effective, at 0-0 and down to ten men, he replaced Alex and Lee Gwang-jin with Lee Seung-hyeon and Baek Seong-dong who both worked hard for team. Now is the time for some consistency and we can hopefully build on last week’s spirited victory. The next 2 games, away to Gwangju and home to Deajeon, will be telling. Both are below Suwon in the league and are teams they must beat to have any chance of promotion.
So, I think it’s time for a bit of audience participation. What of your own unexpected and/or enthralling footballing victories? Winning when down to ten men? Thumping higher level opposition? Scoring three goals in injury time to win? Pray tell? Share your memories with the 48 shades community here or on twitter. If Gwangju beat Suwon on Saturday, there will be a cup of my salty tears on offer for the best response