The focus for this week’s episode is on the boys from Busan as their season draws to a close with two final appearances in the space of a week. It was a week which promised so much but ultimately delivered nothing but heartbreak, and VAR anger, as first they lost to Sangju on penalties in the playoff final before falling 2-1 at home to Ulsan in the first leg of the FA Cup Final….yeah I know it’s 2017 and Korea still has two-legged Cup finals :-). The playoff final defeat must really have hurt as they fought back from a 1-0 1st leg defeat to take the Army boys to penalties and were it not for a contentious VAR call (again I hear you say) they would almost certainly have killed the tie off in normal time. Joo Min Kyu would be the Army’s hero on the day as he scored the decisive penalty for Sangju to consign Busan to their third season on the bounce in the Challenge. Sangju have under-performed this year and when you look at the potential influx of players for the 2018 season you do get the feeling they might have won the Challenge in 2nd gear. As mentioned, Busan would then go on to lose at home in the FA Cup to an Ulsan team who on the day looked a division higher than their opponents. Can they turn it around in the 2nd leg???
Also on this week’s episode the 48 Shades boys look ahead to the World Cup draw and Mark gets his Anyone But England scarf out, they get their anoraks on to analyze foreigners in the K-League, preview the 2nd leg of the FA Cup, reveal their winners and loser of the week and more…….
On this week’s episode the boys discuss the final round of the K-League Classic as Suwon Bluewings confirmed their place in the ACL qualifiers and Sangju confirmed their place in the playoffs due to a quite ridiculous episode of shambolic defending as not one but three players trip over each other and fail to prevent Incheon taking the lead. Sangju would then go on to somehow return from Busan 1-0 to the good after being pummeled by the lower league team in the first leg of the playoff final and find themselves in pole position going into the 2nd leg. As mentioned The Bluewings fought their way into next year’s ACL with a spirited comeback in Jeonju with the departing Santos being the hero, coming off the bench and scoring twice to send the boys in blue back home with 3pts in their pocket and smiles on their faces. Both FC Seoul and Ulsan managed to round the season off with victories and all eyes will now be on the FA Cup final as Ulsan and Busan clash over two legs to see who will take home the silverware and that all important last ACL spot.
Also on this week’s episode the guys give their winners and losers of the week, discuss the upcoming playoff final leg and how Sangju’s captain still gets to play despite his red card against Incheon, they talk about the Gyeonggi Cup, all the hot news making the K-League forums buzz, FC Seoul’s new “fashion range” and more……
After Mark’s lengthy and rather alcohol-infused round trip to watch Asan defeat Seongnam in the playoffs the guys relocate to a “dry” venue for this week’s episode as they discuss all the big news in the K-League and beyond. The main focus is on the recent Korean National team games as they defeated Colombia in Suwon before drawing with Serbia in Ulsan. It was a double header of almost unbridled joy as Korea emerged unscathed from the matches….which is more than can said for Colombia’s chances of winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018. There was a double for Son Heung Min against the South Americans before Ko Ja Cheol grabbed an equalizer against the Serbians. We also saw a debut handed out to Daegu FC’s Cho Hyun Woo as the keeper got just rewards for a fine season and some pretty nifty attacking play from the hosts as, especially against Colombia, they opened their opponents up with relative ease……now if only they can find a natural goal-scorer (yes Joo Min Kyu I’m looking at you).
All in it was a good set of results for the Taegeuk Warriors as they hope to put on a better show than the abject performances in Brazil….speaking of abject, Mark is so disgusted with Seongnam’s showing against Asan that he has downloaded Football Manager 2018 Mobile and vowed to right the wrongs of 2017…..we’ll keep you posted on that one.
Also on this week’s show the boys preview the final round of the Classic, announce their winners and losers of the week, look ahead to Busan v Asan in the playoffs, give their tips for the drop from the Classic and more…….
The boys meet up this week to discuss all the great, great news happening in the K-League while a certain President is in town, hence the rather interesting background noise!! The boys look ahead to the first round of the playoffs featuring Asan and Seongnam and with no K-League matches on the weekend attention was tuned to the National Team’s upcoming friendlies. First up is the visit of Colombia to Suwon World Cup Stadium before the Taegeuk Warriors welcome Serbia to Ulsan. The Colombians have promised to bring James Rodriguez to Korea which should, hopefully, put a few extra on the crowd. Korea will of course have their own ‘crowd-drawers’ as both Ki Seung Yueng and more importantly Son Heung Min have made the trip over for the games. Coach Shin Tae Yong has come under quite a bit of flak as many don’t view him as a) being good enough or b) imaginative enough to lead Korea out of the group stages in Russia. He needs a good couple of performances from his players to get that much needed breathing space from an expectant fanbase and a less than patient media.
Also on this week’s show the boys discuss the final round of the K-League Classic and Seoul’s chances of an ACL spot, announce their winners and losers of the week, look at some of the Colombians who have graced the pitches in this week’s K-Classic and more…….
This week the boys gear up for some end of season Shenanigans as the K-League enters it’s final stages and everyone has to start dusting off their volleyball scarfs and flags. Last weekend seen the final round of the Challenge as Asan, Seongnam and Bucheon all battled for the final two playoff spots. Mark is finally able to look out form the behind the couch as Seongnam, thanks to Seoul E-Land, made it by the skin of their teeth despite falling 1-0 to Champions Gyeongnam. There was some pre-match beer, banter and pizza awaiting his arrival in Jamsil as E-Land coach Dan Harris gave him some pointers on how to cope with the 90 minutes ahead. *Spoiler Alert – it involves the biting of nails and consumption of beer (okay Dan didn’t actually suggest the second part). Asan would also join Seongnam in the playoffs as they came from behind to draw 1-1 at Busan which left Bucheon feeling sorry for themselves as they fell short on the day. The fact that the bottom tier had all the seats ripped out before the match meant that not only did the fans watch their team ‘cement’ a lowly 5th position but they also had to endure sitting on cold concrete.
Also on this week’s show the boys discuss the Classic fixtures and the upcoming Player of the Year awards, they congratulate (kind of) Jeonbuk on another title and ultimately star on their badge, they reveal their losers and winners of the week and get all misty-eyed as they remember the Seongnam “glory days” for this episode’s K-Classic!
This week saw the return of Mark to co-host the podcast as the guys turned their attention to the FA Cup and the Challenge which plays it’s final round of matches before the playoffs this weekend. One of the main topics for discussion was more VAR drama as the Video Referee continues to kill the K-League star. This week there were penalties given and taken away and goals chopped off all for what, to the naked eye, seemed ridiculous decisions. The Supermatch ended 2-2 due to a dubious VAR penalty and then Suwon crashed out of the FA Cup with VAR playing yet another heavy role in the proceedings. It’s fairly safe to say that VAR hasn’t been the roaring success many thought, and hoped, it would be and it’s definitely something that needs fine tuning for next year. Interestingly in my old days working in IT VAR stood for Value Added Re-seller, one would imagine you could travel the length and breadth of Korea without finding anyone who sees some added value of this system!!
Also on this week’s show the boys review the recent matches in both the Classic and Challenge, relive a VAR-esque moment involving Dejan and a big screen, reveal their losers and winners of the week, look ahead to the weekend’s clashes and more……
This weekend sees the final round of the K-League Challenge and there are still two playoff spots up for grabs as Asan, Seongnam and Bucheon all fight for the right to face-off to see who will play Busan and ultimately the lowest placed Classic club to join Gyeongnam at the top table of the K-League Classic. Gyeongnam and Busan have been running away with things at the top of the table for what seems like the full year while everyone else (well maybe not Daejeon) have been making up the numbers in the race for best of the rest. After some surprising results on Saturday past it was left to Seongnam only needing a win to clinch one of the spots, alas they failed to show up yet again which sets up the 3 team battle in the final week. With the table looking like this……
Below is a preview of the teams involved and predictions for their final positions.
Asan Mugunghwa FC
The Police team have, for the most part, performed better this season than their flailing Army counterparts in the Classic. They recently saw a four game winning streak come to an end as they lost at home to Champions Gyeongnam after being 2-1 up with only 30 mins to play. They of course won the league last year under the guise of Ansan Mugunghwa but were prohibited from promotion due to some ‘office politics’ involving Ansan wanting their own team. This year they have flirted between 3rd and 5th pretty much since the season began and would surely consider it a failure if they were to fall out of the playoffs now. Their final game is away to 2nd placed Busan who are in FA Cup semi-final action this midweek against Suwon Bluewings, defeat there might just knock their confidence a little. Busan have won two and drawn three against the Police this year, can they go undefeated?
Prediction : 3rd (should probably have enough to come back from Busan with a point)
The team in the Challenge that most expected to bounce straight back up have been beyond poor this season, they started with a goal drought which lasted for what must have felt like an eternity to their fans during which time fan favoutite and focal point Hwang Uijo was transferred to Gamba Osaka. They then dumbfounded most by going on a run of fourteen games unbeaten including eight victories which clawed them into playoff contention. In recent weeks though they’ve looked devoid of both imagination and confidence and look like a team in a downward spiral, not too dis-similar to this time last year. They’ll need to find huge performances from somewhere if they are to claim the ultimate prize of playoff glory. Seongnam have arguably the hardest match of the three as they travel to champions Gyeongnam who don’t appear to be letting up. Seongnam have failed to win against Gyeongnam this season but did draw 1-1 in Changwon earlier in the year.
Prediction: 5th (a draw might not be enough)
The final team vying for the playoffs is Bucheon FC who will be hoping to go one step further than last year when they lost in the playoff semi-final to Gangwon FC. This year they have been in and around playoff contention for the best part of the season, sitting between 3rd and 4th. They have a relatively strong squad and probably play some of the most attractive free-flowing football in the league although this does tend to leave them exposed at the back at times. In Waguininho they have one of the top goalscorers in the league and, along with Kim Shin, is definitely the one to watch. They travel to E-Land having lost heavily there back in August, E-Land have only their pride to play for but as we seen with Daejeon last weekend that can often be enough to squeeze a performance out.
Prediction : 4th (they have the easiest task of the three teams and should have enough to get the result)