안전놀이터Suwon FC smiled again in the Suwon Derby, winning for the first time in nine games.
Suwon FC earned a 2-0 victory over Suwon Samsung in the 25th round of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 at Suwon World Cup Stadium on Friday, thanks to back-to-back goals from Ras and Lee Seung-woo. With the win, Suwon FC, which had been winless for eight matches, added three points to its tally after nine games. Suwon FC has won all three Suwon derbies this season. Head coach Kim Do-gyun has an impressive winning percentage of 8 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses in 11 Suwon derbies. With 23 points, Suwon FC has opened up a five-point gap on 11th-place Suwon (18 points). Suwon FC hasn’t kept a clean sheet in three months, since the 11th round against Gangwon FC in May. On the other hand, Suwon, who were unbeaten in five matches, suffered a bitter defeat after six games.
Both teams fielded their best squads. It’s the front line that stands out. Suwon started their summer signing, Werik Popo. Mulwich has struggled of late, but it was a disappointment. Kim Byung-soo took the gamble of playing him in the first game. “I think we’ll see how he performs today. He’s a pure player. He has a clear mind. He’s not selfish. From what I saw, he’s not afraid to defend. There are times when he has speed. He’s a player I’m looking forward to watching.”
Suwon pulled out the 3-4-3 card. With Werik Popo as the centerpiece, Jeon Jin-woo and Kim Joo-chan stood on the left and right sides. Kim has been on a goal-scoring tear for two games in a row. Lee Ki-je, Seung-beom, Kazuki, and Lee Sang-min were in the back four. Park Dae-won, Kim Joo-won, and Ko Myung-seok formed the back three. Ahn Chan-ki was in goal in place of the injured Yang Hyung-mo.
Suwon FC welcomed back Ras. Ras was not convinced by the FC Seoul transfer rumors. Coach Kim Do-gyun also left him out of the lineup, considering the team’s mood. However, he recovered from the break and returned to the starting lineup. “There were issues during the transfer window, and I was having a hard time. But afterward, we talked about it, and I realized that I had to focus on the team. I prepared hard.”
Suwon FC lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation. Rath started up top, followed by Kang Min-seong, Lee Seung-woo, Yoon Beom-garam, and An Chiwoo in the second line. Kim Sun-min is the defensive midfielder. The back line was composed of Park Chul-woo, Woo Gomes, Shin Se-wha, and Jung Dong-ho. Park Bae-jong wore the goalkeeping gloves.
The bench also featured key attackers. Suwon had Mullich, Acosti, Gum Yeol, Kim Kyung-Jung, Yoo Je-Ho, and Han Ho-Kang. Suwon FC had Bautersson, Kim Hyun-Kwang-Hyuk, Jung Jae-Yong, Park Byung-Hyun, and Oh In-Pyo.
The game was tense in the beginning. Suwon FC didn’t try to attack too much and instead played the ball out from the back. They tried to set the tone by increasing their possession. Suwon countered with Werikpopo. He used his physicality to make threatening breaks. Shots were hard to come by. Suwon FC continued to pass the ball calmly, and Suwon defended well at the back rather than pressing too hard.
Suwon FC made the first change. In the 22nd minute, An Chi-woo took off Kang Min-sung and brought on Bautersson and Lee Kwang-hyuk. In the 26th minute, the first shot of the game came from both teams, and it was a goal. Yoon Beom-garam sent in a corner kick from the left, and Rath headed it in unmarked. It rattled the net. Rath returned to the field and beat Boeun. Rath’s ninth goal of the season. Lars, who had been troubled by transfer rumors, scored a goal in his comeback.
After the goal, it was more of the same. Suwon FC dominated possession and created chances. Instead of forcing the issue, they took their chances calmly. In the 36th minute, Lee Kwang-hyuk attempted a cross from the right side with his left foot. The Suwon defense blocked it with a header. Kim Sun-min dived to catch it. He took a straight shot, but it went wide.
Suwon didn’t create much of a chance. It wasn’t until the 41st minute that they had their first shot. From a free kick, Kim Joo-chan collected the loose ball and fired a mid-range shot. But it went wide. Suwon tried to create chances by attacking from the flanks, but the Suwon FC defense remained steadfast.
Suwon scored a valuable goal just before the end of the first half. It was Lee Seung-woo. Lee put on a one-man show. He dived in and beat the defense. He then fired a thunderous right-footed shot past goalkeeper Ahn Chan-ki. Suwon FC went into halftime with a 2-0 lead.
Suwon made a change at the start of the second half. They brought on Rubber and Acosti to strengthen their offense. In the fourth minute of the second half, Suwon FC had the decisive chance. Lee Seung-woo sent an exquisite through ball to Rath. Rath attempted a left-footed shot from the no-mark. It went just wide of the goal. In the sixth minute, Bautersson received the ball from Ras-Seung-woo and cut in from the left to the center of the box and attempted a right-footed shot. It was blocked and sent out.
Suwon made another change. In the ninth minute of the second half, he brought on Mulicic for Wericpopo. In the 14th minute, Suwon won a free kick in a good position. Lee Ki-jae’s shot hit the wall. A minute later, Suwon’s interception was picked up by Acosti. He sent in a sharp cross from the right. Shinsegae made a great defense.
Suwon FC fought back. In the 17th minute, Lee Kwang-hyuk had a great chance after receiving a pass from Lee Seung-woo. However, his shot went wide of the goal.
A back-and-forth battle ensued. Suwon FC had a chance when Rath’s header was met by a second ball. Suwon counterattacked through Mulicic, but Ugogomes, who was on the mark, was unable to break through. Suwon brought on Kim Kyung-joong in the 23rd minute as Suwon missed another crucial chance. In the 25th minute, Kim Sun-min played a nice penetrating pass. Lee Kwang-hyuk caught it and turned it around nicely. He then connected with a right-footed shot, but the ball hit the post.
Suwon took advantage of the opportunity. In the 31st minute, Mulicic’s shot was saved by Park Bae-jong. In the 34th minute, Lee Ki-jae’s corner kick from the right side was headed back by Park Bae-jong, but not by Acosti. Suwon FC took Bautersson off in the 35th minute and added Oin-Pyo to strengthen their defense.
Suwon finally broke through in the 37th minute when Lee Gom-yeol fired a powerful right-footed mid-range shot. It went just over the crossbar. Both Suwon and Suwon FC made changes in the 40th minute. Suwon took out Jeon Jin-woo and introduced Yoo Je-ho, while Suwon FC took out Rath and Lee Seung-woo and introduced Kim Hyun and Jung Jae-yong.
The game continued to be fierce until the final minutes. Suwon scored in stoppage time when Kim Kyung-joong’s cross from the right was headed over by Acosti. A minute later, Kim Joo-won headed home a cross from Kim Gum-yeol, but it went wide. Mulicic’s shot went straight at the keeper.
In the end, the match ended with a 2-0 victory for Suwon FC.
In the post-match press conference, head coach Kim Do-gyun said, “For a long time, everyone had a hard time. It was a difficult time. I’m grateful to them for showing their fighting spirit in today’s game, and for being 100% and 120% professional on the field. During the break, I was looking at the players’ attitudes and the way they trained, and I thought we could be even better when the league started again, and it showed. I told the players to think of it as a process during the season, even when they have difficulties. I told them to always be ready. I told them that they haven’t failed yet, that they need to get better and better, and that’s what I talked to them about. I’m happy with the win after two months. Now we have to keep fighting for survival in the relegation zone, so we will recover well and prepare well for the next game.”
“It’s a shame we lost because it was an important game. The lack of numbers in the midfield led to our problems. The fact that we conceded the first goal was a big blow,” he lamented. “We switched to a back four in the second half. Soccer is a one-on-one battle in each area. I didn’t see too many problems. We had some good chances in the second half, but we couldn’t capitalize on them.”