Defending Champions Jeonbuk Defeat Busan IPark 2-1 With Injury-Time Goal

Busan IPark were beaten 2-1 in dramatic fashion against defending K League champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on Saturday night. An injury-time winner from Jeonbuk debutant Lars Veldwijk denied Busan the point they arguably deserved after fighting back from a goal down and dominating the second half.

Busan manager Cho Deok-jae raised eyebrows with his team selection for Busan’s first home game of the season, making five changes from the team that lost last weekend’s opening game against Pohang Steelers. Brazilian playmaker Rômulo and veteran midfielder Park Jong-woo were among those dropped for the visit of Jeonbuk, as Cho opted for pace over experience in the middle of the park. 19-year-old midfielder Kwon Hyeok-gyu was handed only his third professional start in an experimental lineup to face the two-time AFC Champions League winners.

Busan were positive in the early stages, but Jeonbuk took the lead after 16 minutes when Son Jun-ho’s inswinging free-kick was headed home by former Bundesliga defender Hong Jeong-ho. Jeonbuk threatened to extend their lead before the break, but Son’s fierce drive was well saved by Busan keeper Choi Pil-soo, and Jeonbuk striker Cho Gyu-seong hit the post from seven yards out.

Busan brought on Rômulo for the second half, and the Brazilian made a telling impact as Busan began to dominate possession and carve out chances of their own. Lee Gyu-seong and Kim Jin-gyu were influential as the home team pushed forward, and on the hour mark flying winger Lee Dong-joon was tripped just inside the penalty box by international left back Kim Jin-su. Rômulo stepped up to calmly convert the resultant penalty for Busan’s first goal of 2020.

The goal turned the game on its head, and Busan looked the more likely winner as Jeonbuk struggled to regain their composure. On 70 minutes Kim Byung-oh should have given the home team the lead, but he sliced his effort horribly wide after being found unmarked ten yards out by Lee Dong-joon. The miss eventually proved costly, as Jeonbuk’s Dutch striker Veldwijk pounced inside the Busan area deep into stoppage time to break Busan hearts.

The result leaves Busan with zero points from two games, but manager Cho Deok-jae will take a lot of heart from the manner of the performance against the reigning league champions.

Next Saturday, Busan IPark travel to last year’s runners up Ulsan Hyundai in search of their first points of 2020.

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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