Four wins in five - with the only defeat coming against table-toppers Pohang - leaves Jeju an impressive third with a 6-3-1 record. As the season matures, the Orange is laying down roots at the top end of the table.
Jeju United 2-0 Jeonbuk Motors (Wednesday, April 9)
Jeju United found themselves briefly top of the K-League Classic after goals from Kim Hyun and Yoon Bit-garam put Jeonbuk to the sword 2-0.
Jeju defended well in the first half and even when Jeonbuk looked liked breaking through, Jeju recovered lost ground quickly. An evenly matched first 45 minutes drew a scoreless game at halftime.
It was not until the second half that Jeju made the breakthrough. On 53 minutes, a nice passing move from midfield ended at the feet of midfielder Yoon Bit-Garam. With poise and control, Yoon smoothly shot in his first goal of the season to give Jeju a 1-0 lead.
United made it two in the 72nd minute. A cross from wide right found Kim Hyun who headed powerfully past Jeonbuk’s keeper. It was Kim’s first of 2014 and gave Jeju an unassailable lead, despite valiant efforts from the visitors.
The the 2,389 in attendance had both Jeju’s defense and the crossbar to thank as they welcomed their team’s continued run of good form.
Pohang Steelers 3-0 Jeju United (Saturday, April 12)
Jeju United’s stay at the top of the K-League Classic was brief courtesy of a 3-0 loss at the hands of the Pohang Steelers, knocking them down to third, fifth on goal difference.
Jeju enjoyed some of the early exchanges and Droguett could have opened the scoring when he picked the ball up just outside the box. His attempted through ball to Song Jin-Hyung was deflected to the feet of Kim Hyun, who shot into the side netting.
Pohang began to take over as the half wore on and a 22nd-minute shot from a corner forced a sprawling save from Jeju’s Kim Ho-Jun. Two minutes later Pohang picked up a Jeju clearance and centered from the left to Kim Jae-Sung. Kim poked it into the top corner to give Pohang a 1-0 lead.
On 35 minutes, Kim scored his second and made it 2-0. Jeju failed to clear a ball in the box and the it fell to Kim, who found himself in bearing down on goal. He bested Jeju’s keeper for the second time in 11 minutes to double Pohang’s lead before halftime.
Jeju did not fare any better after the restart. On 78 minutes, Pohang streaked down the left wing and a three-pass move outwitted two Jeju defenders and put Kim Seung-Dae through. Kim dummied and rounded Kim Ho-Jun for his fifth of the year, making him league top scorer and putting his team 3-0 up. The win put Pohang clear at the top of the league.
Jeju United 1-0 Incheon United (Sunday, April 20)
A 1-0 victory over Incheon earned Jeju United a much-needed boost in points and confidence, as it drew them back within three of the first place spot they were tossed from by Pohang.
The 3,279 in attendance saw the game’s only goal come in the 31st minute as Hugo Droguett intercepted a back pass. Incheon’s keeper rushed out but the Chilean midfielder confidently danced around him and slotted into a yawning net. It was his third goal of the season, making him Jeju’s leading scorer.
Intensity picked up in the second half as Incheon tried to equalize. On 47 minutes, Lee Chun-Soo was kept out by a Kim Ho-Jun save to the right before a 54th-minute break from midfield sent Incheon in two-on-one. Jeju’s defenders, however, neutralized the danger, as they were with every Incheon attack that followed.
Jeju had a great chance to extend their lead in injury time as Jin Dae-Sung was through with only one defender to beat. He shot from the left of the box, only to be denied by the crossbar. The full-time whistle sounded seconds later.
▲ Jin Dae-Sung fires in a shot in the 84th minute to give Jeju the three points. Photo courtesy Jeju United Football Club
Jeju United 2-1 Busan I'Park (Saturday, April 26)
Had it not been for a first half own goal by defender Aleksandar Jovanović, Jeju United would have shutout Busan I'Park entirely on Saturday. Despite the folly, The Orange still emerged victorious, claiming a 2-1 victory.
Busan had the best of the opening exchanges and in the 11th minute the Jeju defence failed to clear a ball floated into the box. The ball ultimately ricocheted off United defender Aleksandar Jovanović and into his own net to put Busan up one nil.
It wasn't until the second that Jeju United took noticeable control of the game. The equalizer came after a 58th-minute dribble by midfielder Yoon Bit-Garam. He moved into into Busan territory from the left and teed up a shot under a challenge from a defender. With a little bit of luck, the deflected ball beat Busan's keeper and bounced into the back of the net making it 1-1 with his second of the year.
A 77th-minute fingertip save from keeper Kim Ho-Jun kept the game level before Jeju took the lead on 84 minutes. Attacker Jin Dae-Sung collected the ball just outside the penalty area and beat Busan's keeper with a powerful close-range shot. Jin's first goal of the year put the Orange in control with only 6 minutes remaining.
The win -- Jeju United's fourth in five games, and second in a row -- improved their record to 6-3-1, bumped their goal differential up to a positive +1, and maintained their third place ranking on the K-League Classic table with 19 points.
Next game: Suwon Bluewings (home/FA Cup) Weds., April 30, 7 p.m.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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