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 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)
This week sees The Phantom make the trip to 48 Shades Towers as he and Mark discuss the main issues making the news in Korean football. Hot on that list of topics is some recent transfer shenanigans that can best be described as a tad complex. We had Alex moving to E-Land from Anyang and in turn Lukian moving from Busan to Anyang to potentially make way for Leo coming from Daegu. We had podcast favourite Rodrigo Parana returning to Bucheon. Pohang swapped Lee Dong Ki for Seongnam’s Oh Do Hyun (of laughing at FC Seoul fame) and E-Land signed Ahn Jae Hoon from fellow Challenge club Suwon. Confused yet? A lot of work lies ahead for the ‘name of the back of the shirt’ industry that’s for sure.
Also on this week’s show the boys review two sets of Classic fixtures, discuss Pohang’s plight, look at some interesting PR from Seongnam, discuss gardening tips, look ahead to the weekend’s matches and more……
” I am in misery, there ain’t nobody who can comfort me”
This week the guys discuss the highly anticipated FA Cup match as FC Seoul welcome Anyang to Seoul World Cup Stadium for what could be a fiery encounter both on and off the pitch. Anyang fans do like to hold a grudge and still haven’t forgiven the KFA for relocating their team to Sangam. Many of the fans forums recently have been swamped by the boys in purple as they seem to view this as their “match of the season”. With Seoul in rather unpredictable form, and the memory of Bucheon claiming Jeonbuk’s cup scalp last year still fresh, this was has all the potential to be a cracker…..or Seoul could very well run out 5-0 winners. Whatever happens I’m sure those of a purple persuasion will have some kind of display in store for their hosts!
Also on this week’s show the guys discuss the continuing poor form of Seongnam (editor’s note : I’m just cutting and pasting that sentence week on week now), review a rather mixed week for the ACL teams, give an update on Uli and where he might be come next summer, they preview the weekend’s matches,discuss team’s of the week and more…..
This week the guys discuss the goings on at FC Seoul as yet again the Champions put in a rather schizophrenic performance as they failed to show up for the first 45 minutes of their match against title rivals Jeonbuk. They were 1-0 down at half-time before Hwang gave them the hair-dryer treatment in the dressing room. This is not the first time that it has taken them a full half to ‘warm-up’ and it must now cast doubts over Hwang’s ability to lead them to a title defence. The boys also discuss just what it takes for Kim Shin Wook to get sent off as he somehow amazingly escaped a straight red card for aiming a petulant kick at Ju Se Jong midway through the first half.
Also on this week’s show the guys discuss Seongnam’s shocking start to the season as the boys in black failed to win yet again and still prop up the Challenge table, they preview the upcoming ACL matches, discuss Dejan’s ‘best XI’, preview the upcoming K-League games this weekend and get ready for the birthday party to end all birthday parties!!
This week with no Classic action to review due to the international break the focus falls on the Challenge and in particular another dreary day for the fans of Seongnam as Cho Seok Jae (homework) scored a brace to consign The Mapgies to bottom of the table. Mark tries to get through the review without tears in his eyes although he does seem buoyed by the recent FA Cup performance. To say it’s been a tough start in the lower league for Seongnam is an understatement as with only one goal in four matches they have been beyond difficult to watch and must now surely be in danger of spending more time than even the most pessimistic iin black could have predicted pre-season.
Also on this week’s show the boys discuss the Korea v Syria World Cup qualifier, look at the FA Cup 3rd round results and of course discuss that Seoul v Anyang match, they preview the upcoming fixtures and briefly discuss some goings on from China.