Busan IPark Hold On to Earn Third Straight Draw

Busan IPark drew 1-1 with Sangju Sangmu FC on Saturday evening in an entertaining encounter in the K League 1.

Sangju Sangmu, a team comprised of players on military duty, traveled to Busan’s Gudeok Stadium on the back of two wins and a draw, while Busan came into the game after drawing two games on the bounce.

Following last weekend’s goalless draw with Suwon Bluewings, Busan coach Cho Deok-jae recalled Kim Jin-gyu to the starting lineup in a bid to provide more of a creative spark to Busan’s midfield. Park Joon-gang also returned at left-back in the only other change from last Saturday’s stalemate.

There were few chances of note in a cagey first half, but Sangju’s Jin Sung-wook and Ryu Seung-woo both forced Busan keeper Kim Jeong-ho into smart saves in the opening fifteen minutes. It was Busan who drew first blood, however, when Lee Jeong-hyeop appeared to be pulled back inside the box just before the half-hour mark. The referee awarded a penalty and Lee picked himself up to drive home his second goal of the campaign.

Busan had chances to extend their lead in the second half, but Lee Dong-joon curled wide when well placed, and Park Jong-woo’s free-kick was kept out by Sangju keeper Lee Chang-geun. Busan looked on course to record their first win of 2020, but a costly error from young keeper Kim Jeong-ho gifted Sangju a route back into the game on 68 minutes.

22-year-old Kim, who was making only his fifth professional appearance, fumbled a routine collection on the edge of his penalty area, spilling the ball at the feet of Sangju winger Moon Seon-min. The Korean international pounced on the error and had the simple job of passing the ball into an empty net to level the scores.

With Busan rattled and unable to get a foothold on the game, the military side looked the more likely team to score a winner. Busan’s Brazilian substitutes Gustavo Vintecinco and Jonatan Reis failed to make any impact after being introduced in the closing stages, and the home team had to make do with a point.

The draw was Busan’s third in succession and leaves them with three points after five games. The seasiders face fellow newly-promoted side Gwangju FC next Sunday at 7 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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