The first week of the the new K-League One season was worth the wait as we were served up fifteen goals across the top table’s six clashes with Jeju v Seoul being the only match without a name on the scoresheet. We had a predictable winning opening for Champions Jeonbuk who continue their incredible ‘opening match’ winning streak as they defeated Ulsan 2-0 in Jeonju. Elsewhere we had Suwon Bluewings losing at home to Jeonnam while Gyeongnam’s Marcao staked an early claim for the ‘Golden Boot’ award as he bagged a hat-trick before an unfortunate double yellow card saw him trudge off the pitch for an early shower.
This week sees another ‘company clash’ as Jeonnam Dragons host Pohang Steelers in the ‘POSCO derby’ in what two weeks ago would have been seen as an unlikely ‘Match of the Day’, of course that was before both opened 2018 with impressive wins.
2018 K-League One ~ Match Day 2 – ‘Match of the Day’
Jeonnam Dragons vs Pohang Steelers
The opening weekend couldn’t have gone better for both the POSCO teams if they had paid for the outcomes themselves. Pohang, although at home, surprised more than just the almost 15,000 in The Steelyard with just how lethal they put Daegu to the sword but it would be at the Big Bird Stadium in Suwon where the surprise of the day was taking place as Jeonnam left with all 3pts.
As kick-off approached in a cold Suwon World Cup Stadium on March 1st all eyes were on Dejan to see if he could bounce back from his Asian Champions League penalty miss and find the form the saw him almost single-handedly destroy Sydney the week prior. Alas it was not to be and indeed it was a more diminutive foreigner that would steal the limelight as Wanderson Carvalho would have a more than impressive debut for the Dragons. Wanderson (pictured left) is no stranger to K-League fans having played for Daejeon, Jeju and Pohang Steelers since 2015, it’s safe to say that after Thursday the Bluewings’ defence will be hoping he doesn’t become a regular visitor.
While it was Brazilian Leo Gamalho who stole the headlines with his brace for Pohang it was Kim Seung Dae’s goal to round off the victory that would have pleased the home crowd the most. The winter departure of Yang Dong Hyun, and his goal every two games ratio, would have been hard for the Pohang fans to stomach but in the 83rd minute last weekend Kim (pictured right) will have gone some way to numb those pains. He connected well with Leo upfront and if the two can continue to develop this partnership throughout the coming months then the headaches caused by the poor league positions of 2016 onwards might also begin to dull.
Both teams will obviously come into the match with their chests puffed out and tails in the air after last week. They have met each other on forty-two occasions down the years with Pohang just about having the edge with seventeen wins to Jeonnam’s twelve. Last year’s clashes were rather one-sided affairs as The Steelers twice ran out 3-1 winners at Jeonnam while drawing both games in The Steelyard. Incredibly The Dragons took the lead in three of those matches only to be pegged back each time. Both teams looked good on the front foot but also looked less than secure at the back, it could all come down to who can keep their composure when on the ‘backfoot’.
Prediction : Away Win : Jeonnam 1 Pohang 2
Also in K-League One this weekend we have…..
Incheon United v Jeonbuk Motors ~ Prediction : 0-2
Daegu FC v Suwon Bluewings ~ Prediction : 1-1
Gyeongnam FC v Jeju United ~ Prediction : 0-1
Ulsan Hyundai v Sangju Sangmu ~ Prediction : 2-0
FC Seoul v Gangwon FC ~ Prediction : 1-1