Daejeon Hana Citizen 2-0 Gangwon FC Recap: Purposeful Purples pick up win on K League 1 return
Daejeon Hana Citizen marked their long-awaited K League 1 return with a 2-0 win over Gangwon FC. It was a pulsating and purposeful performance from the Purples who looked very much the part at first division level.
Two goals inside the first 23 minutes from Daejeon's two Brazilian stars Tiago Orobó and Leandro got the Purples off to a dream start to life back in K League 1.
Purposeful and aggressive, Daejeon were good value for their win while Gangwon were worryingly lethargic and devoid of ideas for much of the afternoon.
Daejeon boss Lee Min-sung went for a 4-3-3 with Leandro and Lee Jin-hyun flanking new signing Tiago Orobó as the main striker. Experienced full back Oh Jae-suk and Azerbaijan international centre back Anton Kryvotsyuk started in Daejeon's backline at left full back. Regular left back Seo Young-jae was ushered into midfield.
For Gangwon, there were returns for Han Kook-young and Dino IIslamović, both had missed most of last season through injury. However, there was no place in the squad for former Daejeon midfielder Ikromjon Alibaev.
Out of possession, Gangwon were very much in a back five. Daejeon's shape was 4-3-3 and the Purples, now playing in green, began on the front foot.
The fans were in good voice too and the upper tier of the south stand at Daejeon World Cup Stadium was fuller than it has been for a long time. Daejeon were back in the big time.
An early lapse in concentration and heavy first touch from Oh Jae-suk almost allowed Kim Dae-won the chance to drive at goal, but new skipper Ju Se-jong showed great strength to ensure the former Daegu man was unable to advance any further.
On 13 minutes, Seo Young-jae dispossessed Kim Jin-ho, drove forward and tried to find Leandro at the back stick, the Brazilian looked for Lee Jin-hyun who came ever so close to breaking the deadlock.
GOAL!! Just a couple of minutes later and Daejeon had taken the lead through Tiago Orobó. It was a lovely cool finish from the Brazilian who almost had too much time, but showed great composure to guide the ball into the far corner from a mere six yards out.
However, there had been some initial doubt as to whether the goal was going to stand. The flag went up on the far side for offside with the former Gyeongman seemingly just a fraction the wrong side of his man.
The referee wanted to check for himself on the VAR screen and took an awfully long time to look at what had initially looked like a fair decision by his assistant. But to the relief of Tiago and the 18,000-strong crowd, he was just on side and the goal stood to put Daejeon in front.
Daejeon were clearly up for this contest, their back four were assertive and confident and in transition there was penetration and purpose.
GOAL!! And so it didn't take too long before Daejeon had made it 2-0. On 23 minutes, their other Brazilian star Leandro found the near post with what was his first goal at K League 1 level.
It was an incisive move, too. Centre back Cho Yu-min intercepted a loose pass, played the ball through to Lee Jin-hyun in central midfield who turned quickly before feeding Leandro who showed great pace to advance towards goal.
The Gangwon defender slipped and allowed Leandro to cut inside into the box before be could drill the ball into the bottom corner past goalkeeper Yu Sang-hun. Daejeon were now 2-0 up and in dreamland on their return to K League 1.
Gangwon looked a bit flat and right back Kim Jin-jo's wayward cross - their first real forray forward - was met with ironic cheers from the Daejeon fans behind the goal.
Choi Yong-soo cut a frustrated figure on the touchline, his former 2002 World Cup teammate Lee Min-sung had, so far, had gotten the better of him.
Gangwon's first real look at goal came in the 32nd minute. Jeong Seung-yong advanced down the left-hand side, cut inside and found Kim Dae-won who fashioned himself a chance to shoot on his right foot from the edge of the area but Daejeon goalkeeper Lee Chang-geun parried away to safety.
But Daejeon stood tall and remained cool when clearing their line, thoughs. Cho Yu-min was his usual excellent self. Anton too, when called upon, showed his quality on the ball and in anticipating where the ball was going to land.
Daejeon began to turn the screw as the game headed towards the interval. Cho Yu-min's range of passing and the tidy link-up play between Leandro, Tiago, and Lee Jin-hyun with Oh Jae-suk and Ju Se-jong getting involved almost had Citizen three up.
Tiago and Leandro had clearly struck up a good relationship on the training pitch already as both seemed to know exactly where the other one was.
But Gangwon came as close as they had done so far with Yang Hyun-jun grazing the side netting on 40 minutes. Now donning the number seven shirt, the young winger had had a quiet first half but reminded those in attendance of the quality he has.
On 43 minutes, another slick Daejeon passing move led to Leandro bearing down on goal. His fizzing shot across goal almost sneaked in at the far post but the was the feeling that Daejeon should and could have more than just the two goals.
A minute later and Tiago had a go from range, feeling he had done enough to earn the right to have a pop from way out.
But the half-time score read Daejeon Hana Citizen 2-0 Gangwon FC. It was a superb first-half display from Daejeon who fully deserved their two-goal lead but there was work to do for Choi Yong-soo at the break, though.
Choi decided to bring on Yoo In-su and Galego in place of Dino and Kim Jin-ho. Personnel-wise, Daejeon kept things as was but in terms of their shape it was a back three of Kim Min-duk, Cho Yu-min, and Anton with Oh Jae-suk and Seo Young-jae now at wingback.
A big, big chance fell to Yang Hyun-jun just a couple of minutes into the second half. The winger tried to clip the ball over Lee Chang-geun after receiving the pass from Yoo In-su but he was too close to goal and it went over for a goal kick.
In the second period, Daejeon were kicking towards their own fans who, following a super first-half display from their team, wanted more goals.
The breakneck pace of Leandro had caused problems for Gangwon all afternoon, he was again a nuisance for them in the second half and managed to win a free kick off Kim Young-bin on the halfway line and prompting the first caution of the afternoon.
It had to be said, most of the decisions from referee Shin Yong-jun went Daejeon's way. Even a fairly decent penalty shout in the 53rd minute following a coming together involving Cho Yu-min and Jeong Seung-yong.
The second period wasn't played at quite the same intensity as the first, certainly not in the opening 15 minutes. Daejeon were still trying to hit Gangwon on the break but often had just one man forward - usually Leandro.
Gangwon's build-up play was a touch lethargic and they didn't seem to know what to do with the ball when they had regained possession.
Daejeon made two subs on 65 minutes, Leandro came off with Kim In-gyun coming on and Lee Jin-hyun off with Shin Sang-geun in his place. Boss Lee Min-sung was clearly keen to make sure his team kept its pace, even with legs beginning to tire.
Kim In-gyun caused problems almost immediately. His pace and direct running was a key asset to Daejeon last season.
The match began to get a bit scrappy and untidy, thgouh, as it neared the last 15 minutes. The referee's whistle was getting some good use and Daejeon were beginning to lose a little but of defensive composure.
Gangwon had had little to go on in the first half but setpieces were becoming more frequent. One free kick on 76 minutes from Rim Chang-woo forced a good save from Lee Chang-geun.
Seo Min-woo came off on 80 minutes and was replaced with attacking midfielder Hwang Mun-ki. Hwang had added the fourth for Gangwon in that 4-1 playoff second leg in Gangneung in 2021.
Ju Sejong cleverly won a free kick for Daejeon on the edge of the box, spinning and drawing the foul from Gangwon's Yang Hyun-jun. Ju stepped up to take but his cross was poor and the chance was gone.
Gangwon went up the other end and had another decent chance to pull one back but Han Kook-young was thwarted by Oh Jae-suk allowing Lee Chang-geun to collect.
Former Korean international striker Lee Jeong-hyeop then came on for Gangwon in place of Yang Hyun-jun with just over five minute of normal time remaining.
The game and ebbed in Gangwon's favour now with Daejeon having fewer and fewer touches in the other half of the pitch. While it wasn't last-ditch stuff, the Citizen were having to dig in.
On 87 minutes, Lim Dug-keun came on in place of skipper Ju Se-jong who gave the armband to Lee Chang-geun. Manager Lee Min-sung was now looking to protect what he had.
Six minutes were added on a the end of the second half, making the Daejeon fans wait just that little bit longer before their first win back in K League 1 was confirmed.
They had waited eight years, though, so six minutes wasn't all that long given their team had a two-goal cushion.
Further attack-minded subs were made by Daejeon manager Lee Min-sung with Kim Young-wook and Yu Kang-hyun coming on. For Kim, it was his 300th K League appearance.
But the score stayed at 2-0, Daejeon's work was done in the first half.
In the post-match press conference, both Lee Min-sung and Ju Se-jong had talked about easing the pain from 2021.
For Gangwon, though, Choi rued his team's individual errors and said conceding too early affected his team's balance.
Daejeon Hana Citizen - 4-3-3
1 Lee Chang-geun, 2 Seo Young-jae, 98 Anton, 20 Cho Yu-min, 3 Kim Min-duk, 22 Oh Jae-suk, 97 Lee Jin-hyun, 8 Ju Se-jong (c), 17 Lee Hyun-sik, 28 Tiago Orobó, 70 Leandro
Substitutes: 23 Jeong San, 5 Lim Dug-keun (Ju Se-jong 87'), 14 Kim Young-wook (Lee Hyun-sik 90+2'), 9 Gong Min-hyun, 11 Kim In-gyun (Leandro 65'), 10 Shin Sang-eun (Lee Jin-hyun 65'), 10 Yu Kang-hyun (Tiago Orobó 90+2')
Gangwon FC - 3-4-3
1 Yu Sang-hun, 2 Kim Young-bin, 20 Yun Suk-young, 23 Rim Chang-woo (c), 4 Seo Min-woo, 8 Han Kook-young, 22 Jeung Seung-yong, 24 Kim Jin-ho, 10 Kim Dae-won, 9 Dino Islamović, 7 Yang Hyun-jun
Substitutes: 31 Lee Kwang-yeon, 17 Yoo In-su (Kim Jin-ho 46'), 21 Kim Woo-seok, 88 Hwang Mun-ki (Seo Min-woo 81'), 3 Kevin Jansson, 18 Lee Jeong-hyeop (Yang Hyun-jun 85'), 11 Galego (Dino 46')