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Brand New Season, Same Old Suwon?

 The 2023 K League 1 season is well underway and it was not the start that Suwon Samsung Bluewings would have wished for. After multiple chances were missed, they fell 1-0 to Gwangju FC in the opening round. 

First-round games for teams can always go one way or the other, however, Suwon will have to get their ideas together if they are to claim some points in the near future. Michael Redmond looks at the game and what is in store for the Bluewings in the month of March. 

Beginners' Luck? 

To say beginners' luck for Gwangju FC would be slightly unfair. They have been in the K League 1 before back in 2021 and dominated the K League 2 last year. This and the fact that Suwon had quite a forgettable season. However, the Bluewings looked confident going into this one, with a brand new and improved lineup. 

The first half brought a few chances from both teams, however, it was Suwon who looked to have had the better chances. Kim Bo-kyung came inches away from recording a goal on his Suwon debut. Acosty also looked lively up the pitch. Kim went down in the penalty box on the stroke of halftime, but a penalty was not to be given. 

The second half brought more of the same and if there was any team that was going to steal it, it would have been Suwon. An Byong-jun and Kim Bo-kyung almost put them ahead seconds after the restart, but they just could not get the ball in the back of the net. 

Suwon could not find a way to win in round 1 of the 2023 K League 1 season. 
More drama came in the 75th minute as the referee went to VAR on a suspected foul on Bassani. After the check was complete, another penalty claim was denied. Suwon then had the ball in the back of the net in the 78th minute. A chipped shot from Jeon Jin-woo saw Suwon go a goal up. However, the flag was raised and offside was eventually given after another VAR check. 

Both teams had ten shots throughout the game. Suwon had eight on target. Gwangju only managed four shots on target. However, that did not matter for Gwangju as they took the ball in the 88th minute of the game from a poor kick out from goalkeeper Yang Hyung-mo. A string of passes then saw Asani one on one with Yang. A super shot went over the keeper's head and bounced off the crossbar, into the back of the net. 

Suwon would have felt hard done by with all their efforts in the game, however, to win games, you have to score goals. 

What is Next for Suwon?

Well, it doesn't look good for Suwon in the month of March. Their next game will be against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors away at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium. They will be playing a Jeonbuk side that will look to bounce back from their loss to Ulsan Hyundai in round one. 

Then it is the Suwon derby away to Suwon FC in a game which could go either way given the occasion. The Bluewings then welcome new boys Daejeon Hana Citizen to the Big Bird who already started the season strong with a 2-0 win over Gangwon FC in round one. 

Could it be another long season for Lee Byeong-kyun?
The next two games will be against Gangwon FC at home and then they travel to play Ulsan Hyundai. If Suwon play the same way against these teams that they did against Gwangju, they could be in for a long March. 

Anything can happen in the K League, however, it would be expected that they wouldn't pick up any points against Ulsan and Jeonbuk. Daejeon looks strong and wants to remain in the K League 1. The Suwon derby was two wins apiece in 2022 and it is still tough to call.  The only team Suwon might believe they could get something from would be Gangwon in this case, who also looked poor against Daejeon. 

                                    [LINK: #KLUpod | 2023 K League 1 & 2 Round 1 Preview.]

Another Long Season Ahead? 

It was not the start Suwon would have wanted in the 2023 K League 1. They survived by the skin of their teeth due to the heroics of Oh Hyeong-gyu last year. Oh is now a Celtic player now and it looks as if Suwon are still looking light in some areas of the pitch. 

Suwon had eight shots on target against Gwangju and they really should have put some of them away. It is only the first round of the season and there is still a long way to go. However, this loss could really come back to haunt Suwon come the final games of the year. 

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