Monday, 23 April 2012

A loss of concentration

Chunnam Dragons 3-1 Daejeon Citizen
April 22nd 2012

Daejeon slumped to their eighth defeat in nine games away to Chunnam Dragons. The conceding of goals in the 90th and 95th minute may have given the impression that the defeat was unfortunate, but in reality it was all the side deserved. Over recent weeks I have credited Yoo with finding a system that has made Daejeon a more resolute outfit than it had been when it started the season. Why this system took four games to discover is worrying, but the fact it was successfully addressed was down to Yoo.  Since that point however, none of the other glaring issues facing the side in their hunt for points have been resolved. Week by week, Daejeon have begun to look more and more hopeless. After losing 1-0 to ten man Seongnam last week and failing to trouble their keeper in the least, a response was needed this week. Unfortunately it wasn't forthcoming, and instead we saw one of the poorest DCFC performances so far this season.


Yoo stuck with the system that has started the last few games with Chung being asked to fill in as a 5th defender whilst trying to ensure the midfield doesn't get too overrun. Namgung was missing due to the broken jaw he received last week, so in came Kevin. Otherwise the team was the same. This was a surprise, considering how the team struggled to create any real chances when playing against only 10 men last week. 

The Match 
The game actually began brightly for the Citizen when in the 4th minute Kevin was able to chest down a long ball into the path of Baba, who struck straight at the keeper from 18 yards. It was a good opening and encouraging to see a player getting near to Kevin.

Daejeon were once again planning on defending for most of the game, retreating to their own half when not in possession and trying to crowd Chunnam out. Chunnam defenders were allowed to advance towards the halfway line unchallenged by any Daejeon player. The weakness in this game plan was exposed early on when Daejeon fell behind. If a team is sent out to defend for the majority of the game whilst frustrating the opposition and looking to counter, the defence must be able to concentrate for the entire ninety minutes. Daejeon took just thirteen to fall asleep. A routine corner from the left hand side of the box was woefully defended. A Chunnam player won the near post flick on to find 2 yellow shirts standing in the 6 yard box completely unmarked and unchallenged, leaving Hong to tap home the opening goal. As you can see below, the Daejeon defence failed to track the simplest run across the goal and Jin-Ki Hong managed to lose Alessandro with ease.

Alessandro had a poor game, and throughout the contest he was guilty of giving away free kicks in dangerous positions with late or sloppy challenges. The rest of the half passed without any real incident. Chunnam were finding it hard to get through the crowd of Daejeon bodies, while Daejeon could not retain possession long enough to trouble Chunnam.

The second half started much as the first ended and only came to life in the 75th minute. On loan winger 22. Kim struck a sweet free kick from around 25 yards out, sailing over the wall and into the top corner, and drawing Daejeon level. It was hardly deserved but showed how a small piece of quality can make a big difference.

The equaliser didn't have much of an effect on the pattern of the game, Daejeon being stuck in their own half and Chunnam constantly probing the ranks of purple shirts.

Though they never created any golden opportunities for themselves, Chunnam certainly played with a lot more intent and were forcing errors with a high pressing game, whilst Daejeon were again hoping to rely on not conceding and seeing out the match. Once again, a lack of concentration cost the Citizen in the 90th minute when a free kick from the left-hand side was bent in towards goal by Suk-Young Yoon, and sailed directly over the head of Choi into the Daejeon goal. Defeat was confirmed when four minutes later one Chunnam player managed to wriggle free of five Daejeon defenders and stroll unchallenged into the box to roll the ball back for the easiest of finishes by Dong-Woon Sim.

The inability to maintain the levels of concentration required means planning to defend for the vast majority of a game will not be easy for Daejeon.


Yoo's plan to stifle teams and hope to steal points on the break simply doesn't work for Daejeon. Even when parking the bus the team cannot hold out for 90 minutes and conceding is inevitable. There hasn't been a single clean sheet so far this season, and retreating to their own penalty box and surrendering possession is not helping. For this type of system to succeed, it requires the team to have the ability to break forward incisively with quick accurate passes. The service towards Kevin was terrible. Time after time, long balls would be over his head or fall 10 yards short, and when he did win them there was only usually one player anywhere near him.
Another long ball going over the head of Kevin
Kevin marked by two players wins the header but there is no Daejeon player in sight
A long ball from the right back, once again too high for Kevin who only has one player near him

This meant that there was little in the way of time for the defence to reorganise and allowed Chunnam to create constant pressure. Chunnam did not possess the ability to carve Daejeon open, but given 90 minutes of constant control nearly any side will force enough errors from the defence. The inaccuracy of Daejeon’s passing was further compounded by Chunnam’s high pressing game. It was clear most of the Citizen defence were not comfortable on the ball. Chunnam exploited this, often winning the ball back quite a way into the Daejeon half. The inability to move play forward accurately and quickly led to Kevin dropping extremely deep in search of the ball.
On this occasion Chunnam used 3 players to press the full back area and successfully won the ball and broke down the right hand side of the box. Kevin and Leo were both brought off early in the second half but their replacements fared little better.

There has been growing concern amongst some fans with Kevin's lack of goals, but the fact is that no striker has scored so far this season for Daejeon and that indicates the problem lies in the build-up to, rather than with, the strikers. Fans have also begun to question the appointment of Yoo, who, though a South Korean legend, had only managed at a high school level before. Yoo must address the team’s inability to retain possession and find a way of imposing his side on the opposition – otherwise, he may soon find himself out of a job.

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