The 2018 World Cup may very well go down as one of, if not the best, World Cup of recent memory but for the majority of true football fans there is nothing quite like the feel, taste and even the smell of a live match and so it is with no small measure of excitement that we welcome back Korea’s premier league for drama …. yes it’s the return of the K-League Two. It’s hard to imagine that when the super computer at K-League HQ was churning out the fixtures that it would have had Bucheon v Seongnam down as a massive match but so it is as this week’s K-League Two ‘Match of the Day’ sees 3rd host 2nd.
2018 K-League Two – Match Day 17 – ‘Match of the Day’
Bucheon 1995 vs Seongnam FC
It’s fair to say that Bucheon have had a strange season so far, they started on fire and won their first five matches in a row, all away from home due to stadium redevelopment plans. They mainly had Willan Popp to thank for that as the Brazilian came close to matching the K-League record for goals scored in consecutive matches. Their form since returning home has been a little patchy with only three wins in eight games. Their last victory was the penultimate match before the World Cup break, a 4-1 thrashing of Suwon FC with Jin Chang-soo (pictured left) grabbing a brace that night. The veteran midfielder has chipped in with five goals in sixteen starts this year and has looked hungry for more each time I’ve seen him. He’s been almost ‘ever-present’ for Bucheon since his 2016 move form Goyang and is something of the linchpin in the Red’s midfield. He is always looking to get himself involved and, where possible, offer an alternative option to Popp when the team pour forward. Bucheon are generally a tough team to beat at home, not that their recent form would suggest that, and most of that is down to the battling qualities of their midfield and Jin in particular.
If Bucheon’s form has been “patchy” recently then Seongnam’s have been downright woeful, they were sitting clear at the top a matter of weeks ago but a run of only one victory in five has seen them slip to 2nd spot behind The Police. They are still finding the back of the net but have been unable to keep a clean sheet since No.1 goalkeeper Kim Dong-jun injured himself against E-Land away back in April. It could be argued that losing Yun-Young-sun (pictured right) to the World Cup squad has somewhat compounded their issues at the back and they must be happy to have him return from Russia and especially after his faultless performance against Germany midweek. It might be too soon for him to feature today but if they can get him back as soon as possible, and stop the K1 vultures swooping for him in the summer, then he could well be the rock that they can rebuild their title challenge on.
The teams have only met five times since their first ever encounter last season and it is pretty much honors even with 2 wins apiece and a draw. Seongnam won the clash earlier this year with a 2-1 home victory after Willian Popp saw red for an elbow at the start of the 2nd half. Both teams have a lot to play for with Seongnam hoping the break will see them come back fresh and Bucheon knowing that a win today would see them leapfrog their guests into second. One thing is for sure we should be in for a cracker as Bucheon Stadium rarely disappoints.
Prediction : Seongnam 1 – Bucheon 1