“Kyungin Derby”

Seoul held a 0-0 draw without scoring in the second round of the Hana Bank K League 1 2024 “Kyungin Derby” against Incheon United at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on the 10th.

Seoul, which lost 0-2 at the away match of Gwangju FC, the opening match, failed to score a goal despite frustrating performance in the latest match. Analysts say that the players have yet to embrace Kim Ki-dong’s style.

Coach Kim led the Pohang Steelers until last season and became a representative K-League master.

He also demonstrated his competitiveness in international arena by ranking second in Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League. Last year, he topped the FA Cup and even lifted the trophy.

Seoul, which has stayed only in the lower split (Final B) for the past four consecutive seasons, brought in manager Kim and started a plan to rebuild the prestigious family as the capital club of South Korea.

The transfer market was also brisk. Seoul, which recruited talented players including Choi Joon and Ryu Jae-moon through free agents, has beefed up its efforts by recruiting Jesse Lingard from prestigious Manchester United in England, and Sulaka, who played for Iraq at the 2023 AFC Asian Cup. At the end of the transfer window, it recruited Japanese midfielder Shigehiro and Kang Sang-woo, who played with Kim at Pohang, raising expectations for Seoul’s advance to the Final A (Top Split).

However, during the second round, Seoul players seemed to be torn between Kim’s style and the existing Seoul style. The fast and efficient offensive soccer that Kim sought in Pohang did not yet seem to have been properly implanted into Seoul players.

The match against Gwangju, which was a poor match, was the first game of the season and there was room for consideration as a large number of existing Seoul players participated. Except for Cho Young-wook, who was discharged from the military, Palosevic, and Kwon Wan-kyu, who had experience with coach Kim in Pohang, it was composed of players who were familiar with the existing Seoul style.

However, players familiar with Kim’s style participated in the match against Incheon, but their performance did not change much. Even though half of the field players, including Kwon Wan-kyu, Palosevic, Kang Sang-woo, Ilyulchenko and Lim Sang-hyup, were players who played with Kim in Pohang, they showed lackluster performance.

Players passed slowly from the back in the traditional Seoul style, and even after advancing to the opponent team, they missed the opportunity due to sloppy play. Scenes such as taking the ball out to the side or turning it back to the rear often appeared.

Rather, he gave Incheon the lead and was dragged around. While Seoul attempted only four shots on the day, Incheon tormented Seoul with as many as 15 shots. It was a regrettable game that Seoul did not lose.

In response, Kim said after the game, “I think there were many situations where we had no choice. Since we were a team that counterattacked after getting off, we could have been attacked by counterattacks if we were caught recklessly by the opponent.”

“The fact that Seoul soccer continues to play is only a matter of when the opponent puts pressure on the team. I think it is natural to pull out the opponent carefully when he gets off,” he said. “It was a play to penetrate the solid teamwork of Incheon’s defense.”

Seoul’s top priority is how quickly it combines the existing build-up form that slowly moves forward from the back with the fast-tempo soccer that coach Kim pursues. As it is still early in the season, it is not possible to change the existing tactical colors or players’ playing habits overnight. However, it is regrettable that there was no clear change even after using the players he played with in Pohang.

Seoul will play its third round match against Jeju United at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday at home. The team will have an A-match break for about 15 days thereafter. During this period, players should work together as much as possible to enhance performance of the team. Both Seoul and Kim still need time to adjust to each other.


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