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FA Cup Recap: Seongnam 1-0 Pyeongchang FC - Should The Alarm Bells Ring At Tancheon?

Seongnam FC enters the FA Cup in the second round, playing against Pyeonghang FC who plays in the fourth division (K4). This match was surrounded with enthusiasm by Seongnam fans for a couple of reasons: the possible debut of four players, two recent acquisitions Manzinga and Denilson, and two returnees from the AFC U20 Asian Cup Kim Ji-soo and Lee Jun-sang. The other reason is to see where Seongnam is in terms of quality when compared with lower-league opposition.

Starting Eleven:


GK: Kim Young-kwang

DEF: Kim Jin-rae; Patrick Flottmann; Kang Eui-bin; Park Ji-won

MID: Manzinga; Lee Jae-won; Yang Si-hoo; Moon Chang-jin; Shim Dong-woon

ATT: Denilson

After a difficult start to the 2023 season, it was a must for Seongnam to perform well in the FA Cup opening match for the club, especially looking at who they faced. After showing two faces in the first couple of rounds in K League 2, which face would the fans see in the FA Cup? Would Manzinga and Denilson be the solution for the lack of goals? Those were some of the questions surrounding the fanbase before the starting whistle.

First Half

Normally, Lee Ki-hyung's 4-1-4-1 changes into a 3-4-3 with Lee Sang-min dropping in between the CBs, and both full-backs go further up the pitch. In the game against Pyeongchang, the player responsible for making a back three was Yang Si-hoo but he doesn't have the characteristics of Lee Sang-min, therefore Si-hoo was a bit lost in the first 20 minutes, just like his teammates. No one knew what to do and what area of the pitch they were responsible for. The first build-up stage was nonexistent, Yang Si-hoo didn't know where to be, Patrick and Kang Eui-bin didn't know what to do with the ball, and the coordination between full-backs and center-backs wasn't right. The defenders were uncomfortable with and without the ball. 

It was no exaggeration to say that PyeongChang was the better side in the opening 20 minutes. Three clear-cut chances with Martin Sawi being the dangerous man for the K4 side for which Seongnam defenders had no answer at all. The lack of organization, awareness, and coordination shown in the first 20 minutes from Seongnam should be a concern.

It took 20 minutes for Seongnam to show something offensively with a good play between Manzinga and Lee Jae-won who crossed it to Shim Dong-woon. The captain then crossed it again and Lee Jae-won headed it against the crossbar. Manzinga showed promising signs, looked strong in possession, and always looked to be involved when out of possession, his physical characteristics will be a problem for everyone in K League 2. He won the freekick that Shim Dong-woon converted into the only goal for Seongnam in the game.

Second Half

The second half wasn't much different from the first half. Seongnam gave the initiative to Pyeongchang who almost scored in the early minutes of the half. The Magpies had some difficulties against a higher press from the K4 side and were forced to play a more direct style of football. 

After the 60th-minute mark, Seongnam was able to break the high press and started creating danger, with Denilson having an important role as a link-up forward. The Brazilian striker stepped up in the second half and showed glimpses of how he can be an important player if Lee Ki-hyung decides to play a more patient style of football with link-up plays.

The Magpies came alive in the last 15 minutes with Pyeongchang making some mistakes due to fatigue, Denilson was subbed off injured, and Jeon Seong-soo came in, with this substitution Seongnam got more pace and movement up front but lost an offensive reference. 

With the lower-league side playing with a high engagement and defensive line in the last ten minutes of the much, Jeon Seong-soo's pace and movement created some danger but Seongnam wasn't able to score the second goal. 

Should The Alarm Bells Ring At Tancheon?

Yes, especially after this performance. Seongnam performed underwhelmingly against a team that plays two divisions below. Kim Young-kwang had a couple of good saves that held Pyeongchang scoreless while Seongnam needed a free-kick goal to break the deadlock.
The Magpies will face the winner of the Daejeon Korail Vs Gimcheon Sangmu match in the 3rd round, Daejeon Korail plays a division higher than Pyeongchang while Gimcheon Sangmu is one of the strongest teams in K League 2.

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