In the battle of the neon shirts, Jeju United were dropped by Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 3-1 at home on Wednesday, June 13, in their worst performance so far this season.
Except for a brief stint during the second half, Jeju were outplayed and outgunned all game.
The loss drops the orange from third to fourth behind the Suwon Bluewings by a point, that is until Suwon play 14th place Sangju Sangmu Phoenix FC later today. Jeonbuk are now in second with 30 points, one behind first-place FC Seoul.
During the first half the Orange were their own worst enemy with their back line consistently coughing up the ball deep in their own end under Jeonbuk pressure, particularly by Chilean midfielder Hugo Droguett.
The Motors hit the pitch hard and early, applying the pressure on United keeper Han Dong Jin chasing after him every time he had the ball.
It looked like Jeju may have started to gain their legs at the ‘10 with a nice rush by Jair down the left side of the pitch beating two Jeonbuk defenders resulting in a decent shot on net, but only two minutes later that notion was dashed with the Motors first goal of the game.
At the ‘12 Jeonbuk forward Jeong Seong Hoon scored off a rush by Droguett who got a decent shot off but was blocked by Jeju defender Oh Ban Suk. The deflection went straight to Jeong off at the top of the box and he netted the easy rebound while the Jeju backline was caught watching the play.
From this point forward, the two dozen or so Jeonbuk fans were consistently louder than the couple thousand Orange supporters.
The Motors next goal came at the ‘41 with Jeju defender and captain Choi Won Kwon coughing up the ball deep in his own end inside the box to the Motors midfielder Huang Bowen who sailed home an easy touch passed Han who didn’t have a chance.
The first half ended with a rare glimpse of life from the Orange with Jair hooking a free kick around the line of blockers, ending up on target but Jeonbuk keeper Choi Eun Sung just got enough of a hand on it to send it over the bar.
The second half was much of the same as the first except for starting at around the 50-minute mark Jeju were able to turn their game up a notch and looked like the team they were before the break.
At the ‘60 on a play that started with a rush down the right side, Jeju captain Choi chipped the ball to Santos Jr. who was all alone in the penalty box. He got a nice shot off that was blocked by the Motors keeper and the rebound was picked up by Orange midfielder Song Jin Hyun who made it hit mesh. It was now a 2-1 match and Jeju looked like they may come from behind as they did earlier this season against Suwon.
The point gave Jeju United a heart beat and right away had two good breaks, one resulting in Jair getting a good shot on net from a give and go, but keeper Choi turned it aside.
But their drive quickly deflated when in injury time, after Jeju had dominate the last 20 minutes, the Orange were caught looking for the goal.
Off a Jair free kick outside the box, the Jeonbuk deflected it up the field to Droguett alone with the Orange’s sole back defenceman, with three more Motors jumping in on the rush for a four-on-one. In the stadium you could actually hear a simultaneous sigh from the entire crowd seeing what was to come. The Chilean chucked the ball over to Kim Hyun who hit it home. Han, yet again, didn’t have a chance. And Jeju were to lose their first home game of the 2012 K-League season.
This marks Jeju’s third loss of the season and their first since May 19 against the Chunnam Dragons 0-1 away.
Jeju United next take on the Suwon Bluewings away, Sunday, June 17. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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