Busan IPark Beaten 2-0 by Sangju Sangmu FC

Busan IPark slumped to their fourth straight defeat on Sunday evening in the K League 1. A brace from Moon Seon-min helped Sangju Sangmu FC to a 2-0 victory at the Sangju Civic Stadium.

Busan traveled to Sangju on the back of a narrow loss to league leaders Ulsan Hyundai, but the defensive cohesion shown in that game was absent for Busan against Kim Tae-wan’s third-placed Sangju team.

A rain-soaked pitch didn’t help the performance of either side, and a dire first half was more notable for player slips and loose touches than for chances created. Sangju’s Han Suk-jong had the only real effort of note in the opening 45 minutes, his free-kick from 25 yards sailing narrowly over the Busan goal.

Busan coach Cho Deok-jae made a tactical shift for the second half, replacing anonymous teenage midfielder Kwon Hyeok-kyu with striker Kim Hyun, who had scored for Busan in last weekend’s Ulsan defeat. The switch from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 only exacerbated Busan’s problems, however. While Sangju turned through the gears in attack, Busan looked bereft of ideas and confidence and struggled to string two passes together.

Sangju advanced through Busan’s midfield at will as the half wore on, and an unconvincing defensive performance from Busan center-back Dostonbek Tursunov only seemed to spur the military team on. The home side eventually made the breakthrough on 74 minutes, when Moon Seon-min danced past four Busan defenders before coolly slotting past goalkeeper Choi Pil-soo.

Busan never looked likely to get back in the game, with substitutes Kim Hyun and Park Gwan-woo failing to make any kind of impact. Cho Deok-jae’s final substitute, right back Park Joon-gang, put the seal on a poor team performance by gifting the ball to Sangju’s Kim Bo-sub with the Busan defense exposed. Kim released Moon into the Busan penalty area, and the Korean international rounded keeper Choi before scoring his second of the night.

The defeat means that Busan IPark drop to ninth in the K League 1 table. Only three points separate Seongnam FC in sixth and Suwon Bluewings in eleventh, while Incheon United remain rooted to the bottom of the table with five points, ten behind Busan.

With Sangju Sangmu FC set to be relocated and refranchised at the end of the year (and therefore transferred to the K League 2 in 2021), only one team will be relegated from the top division this season.

Busan will look to get back on track with an important game against Seongnam this Friday evening at 7.30 p.m.

Tomas Marcantonio
Tomas writes novels, travel, flash fiction, and sports. He’s been getting gleefully lost in Busan’s neon-lit backstreets since 2011. You can follow Tomas on Twitter @TJMarcantonio and @IparkBusan

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