Daejeon Citizen 0-1 Seongnam
April 14th 2012
Despite Daejeon winning their first game of the season Wednesday night there was little excitement during the build up to this match. Daejeon have not thrilled spectators so far this season and have only over the last few weeks managed to at least make themselves difficult to beat. The lack of enthusiasm towards the side was reflected in the fact that even the local TV station decided not to cover the game, meaning their will be no match pictures to back up any claims I make.
Losing 1-0 at home to Seongnam is in no way anything Daejeon should be embarrassed about, instead it all felt rather predictable. What was painful for the Citizen faithful was the manner of the loss, especially considering Seongnam were down to 10 men for the entire second half. It highlighted that, though there has been improvement in recent weeks, the concerns that were highlighted were very real. At times the team looked completely short of ideas and movement, whilst Yoo showed even less in terms of being able to create a system or tactic to help his side attack a defensive team.
Daejeon started with the system that had served them well in recent weeks, defending with a flat 5 and having the wingers tuck in to create a bank of four. Chung would drift between the two lines, picking up Heverton or any spare men. The routine of only pressing once the ball entered the Daejeon half also remained.
This system has helped Daejeon look a far more solid team in the last few games but has left a lot wanting regarding attacking. Baba was asked to try and get close to Namgung with Kim and Leo providing width. Seongnam never looked to be too adventurous and were clearly trying to frustrate Daejeon early on.
5. Kim was suspended after colleting too many yellow cards so club captain Lee was recalled in defence. 7. Park was called in at right back, in another one of Yoos strange selections. Normally an attacker Yoo was possibly looking to add pace to the back line and add an attacking threat from deep.
The game began quite brightly for both sides. In the opening minute Seognam gave a free kick away on their right hand side that was excellently delivered by 22.Kim, with Namgung heading close. The early foul by Seongnam was a sign of their approach to the entire game. Another free kick was to be given away in the 25th minute, this time Alessandro heading just over from 22.Kims delivery.
Seongnam had chances of their own, most notably when they had a volley cleared off the line, following a poor decision by the Daejeon keeper to try and punch clear despite having plenty of time and space to catch the ball.
Seongnams physical approach to the game resulted in Daejeons striker Namgung being taken off in the 26th minute with a dislocated jaw that requires surgery. He had to be replaced by Kevin, but somehow the ref failed to see the challenge, along with two previous fouls Seongnam had made against Namgung.
Daejeon produced probably their best piece of football this season when in the 30th minute Leo beat one man then exchanged passes with Baba, working their way down the right hand side. Leo made his way into the box and after a tight turn managed to fire a shot off target.
It was the final few minutes of the half that were to prove telling. In the 44th minute, on one of the rare occasions the Seongnam midfield pushed high up, 18. Lee was given far too much room on the edge of the box and saw his shot deflected into the bottom corner. It was a fortunate and undeserved goal and meant Daejeon now faced an uphill task.
Almost immediately after kick off Seongnam were reduced to 10 men. 22. Kim cut inside 16. Kim and was brought down just inside the Seongnam half. This saw the ref produce a second yellow for the Seongnam captain and his team now faced the prospect of playing the entire second half a man down. However, this possibly only made things harder for Daejeon and had little impact upon Seongnams tactics.
Daejeon began the second half knowing Seongnam were going to show very little attacking threat and that they would have to try and break down the Seongnam defence in the hunt for an equaliser. As a response to this, Yoo made some changes to the shape of the side.
Seongnam simply dropped Heverton back into the hole in midfield and continued much as they were. Yoo now had a spare man in defence and would need to utilise him in the best way possible if the Purples were to get anything from this game. Yoo deiced to switch to a 4-2-3-1 formation, pushing Chang into midfield and asking Baba to get close to Kevin. This decision was clearly shaped by the fact that due to Namgung injury there was no other striker on the bench but it must be seen as a poor decision by Yoo.
The deployment of 2 holding midfielders meant that they often sat directly in front of the Seongnam midfield and failed to break between the lines. Both Lee and Chun offered next to nothing in an attacking or creative sense and Daejeon were often left with 4 players, Alessandro, 20.Lee, 10.Lee and Chung forming a square around the one lone Seongnam striker.
The withdrawal of the 5th defender seemed to put a stop to any attacking intent that either full back may have had. They were perhaps scared of being caught out so now sat s an almost perfect back four. Without 5.Kim at the back there was no real vision when on the ball and it became clear Daejeon lacked and ideas on how to break through Seongnam.
The introduction of Ji for Baba had little effect. The thinking would have been that Ji offers more attacking intent and may be able to pick a way through. However, Baba was the only player linking play and looking to move the ball forward, after his removal Kevin and the midfielders playing off him began to look increasingly isolated.
Daejeon lacked any movement in the centre of the park and their passing was slow and predictable. Seongnam sat deep and were happy to watch the ball be passed side t side within the Daejeon half, until a player would become frustrated and launch the ball forward into the organised ranks of Seongnam defenders.
The poor movement in the centre of the park was repeatedly highlighted whenever Leo received the ball wide on the right. He was often faced with the Seognam winger and full back yet there were zero passing options open to him. The Daejeon full back was slow to see over lapping opportunities and the two shielding midfielders seemed unwilling to move forward and help attacks in fear of leaving gaps at the back. Repeatedly Leo would have to attempt to beat both men alone over deliver a ball from 30 to 35 yards from goal towards Kevin. This was the same for whenever Ji or 22. Kim found themselves wide left. On the few occasions that they did manage to beat both their markers, the accuracy of the crosses found wanting.
Daejeon best chances were coming from set pieces, with a free kick going just over the bar and Kevin firing wide after a corner had been headed down in the box.
In the final 10 minutes Daejeon pushed bodies forward but still looked static and offered nothing more than insipid passing from side to side followed by a long ball up field towards Kevin who was surrounded by yellow shirts.
During the closing stages of the game Seongnam twice had great opportunities to seal the victory, with players going lean through on goal only to delay shooting and allow Daejeon defenders to clear off the line or get their body in the way.
Just as Yoo has been given the credit with finding a system that has made Daejeon a harder to beat, he must also take the criticism for the lackluster clueless performance. It took him 4 games of the season to find a line up and system that meant Daejeon were not being walked through by the opposition but after 8 games there is still no clear attacking strategy. Play was predictable, slow and uninspiring, and questions must be asked regarding what the team was doing in pre season. Why did it take so long to find a system for defending and what was the plan for scoring this season.
After the game some fans began to question the role of Kevin in the squad after seeing him go 8 games without a goal. However, only on one occasion this season has he received a good cross, one which he headed against the crossbar, and that was at home to Jeonbuk back in round 2. It’s hard to see how any striker in this side may get a goal with the standard of approach play. Off the ball movement is almost nonexistent meaning Leo, Kevin and 22.Kim are extremely isolated whenever they receive the ball. Yoo may point to the fact he was unable to field a second striker as he had been forced to bring Kein on when Namgung was injured, but the lack of cohesion and incisive passing would not have been solved by playing two strikers.
Though Seongnam did little to deserve their goal, one that shaped their tactical approach tot he remainder of the game, they were comfortble through the entire second hald despite sitting on the edge of their own box through out.
Daejon are away to fellow strugglers Chunnam this weekend and must be looking to collect at least one point. Yoo must do something to address the lack of chances created in open play and find away of asking questions of opposing defences, not just at set pieces.