Friday, 16 March 2012

Football Cliche #734 - Champions know how to win when playing badly

So on Sunday a group of us headed down to the World Cup Stadium for Daejeons first home game of the season, against reigning champions Jeonbuk.

The club had announced they'd be offering free tickets to people living near the ground and were hoping for a bumper crowd. When you have a home ground that can 40,000 people but your average attendance sits around 5k, any increase in numbers will help the atmosphere. As it was there was around 11k present, including a healthy number of Jeonbuk fans.

We treated the day as you would any fixture in England, and by that I mean pre drinking. By the time I entered the ground I was well in the mood to watch a game of footy.

We created a few of our own songs to some classic British tunes and got a few stares from the locals but it was all in good spirits, and though few in number, both sets of fans set about having some fun and making some noise.

The fixture was quite a daunting task for The Citizen, with Dajeoen being touted for relegation and having played appallingly the previous week. The first half passed without much action and to be honest without much quality. Dajeon comfortably contained Jeonbuk, who looked half asleep for parts of the first half, but struggled to play any football of their own. Repeatedly the ball was booted long in the vague direction of Kevin Oris, who without support or any decent service looked completely lost. Both sides managed a couple of shots on target but not anything to be too concerned over. The highlight of the half was getting Koreans to join in our songs or shouting Korean insults anytime a Jeonbuk player came near our goal.

The second half started and immediatly Jeonbuk looked more composed on the ball. They werent exactly threatening but you felt that if a chance fell their way theyd have the composure to take, where as most Daejeon attacks seemed to come as a surprise to our own players, who looked like they had never played together at times.

The one bit of good service that Oris received in the box came in the form of a left wing cross. Daejeon had started to have a few decent openings through their left winger and at one point he placed a slow looping cross around 10 yards from goal. Though tightly marked Oris won the header which he was unfortunate to see come back off the crossbar. This was to be Daejeons only real chance of the game.

Around the 70 minute mark Jeonbuk went down to 10 men following an injury and having already made the 3 permitted substitutions. It was quite concerning that this seemed to make no difference to the flow of the game.

It seemed to be drifting to a 0-0 draw, which would have been fair on both teams, but as is often the case it was to be a defensive mistake that would lead to a goal.

Jeonbuk hoisted a freekick from the centre circle down onto the edge of the Dajeon box. The ball was contested and lost by 2 Daejeon defenders leaving a huge gap in the heart of the defence which Hugo Droguett drifted into to slot the second ball home. Commnication between the defenders and a midfielder tracking the run of Droguetts would have prevented the goal, but neither of these happened meaning Jeonbuk took a 1-0 lead in the 87th minute. With Jeonbuks ability to keep the ball, Daejeon never managed to threaten an equaliser.

Jeonbuk had done what all champions do, and thats still win even when playing badly.

Its hard to judge the Daejeon team on this performance. They were vastly improved on the previous week (my pre match prediction had been 4-0 jeonbuk), and they did manage to contain the Jeonbuk side well, but on the other hand I dont think they put together a string of five passes and at times seemed directionless.

This sunday we make the trip north, to take on the riches of FC Seoul. Im not putting any money on Daejeon getting their first three points, I'd be happy with a goal.

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