Ju Se-jong was furious with Daejeon teammates during FA Cup clash with Goeje Citizen
At half time and with the score at 1-1 against K4 side Geoje Citizen, captain of K League 1 Daejeon Hana Citizen Ju Se-jong didn't hold back in letting his younger teammates. The former FC Seoul man felt the need to remind his younger teammates that they were the professionals, not the visitors from the South Coast.
Ju Se-jong, who has made 31 caps for Korea and has a World Cup assist to his name, was back in the starting lineup for the first time since the second league match of the campaign having picked up a facial injury.
The 32-year-old, having taken his protective mask off at half time, laid into his teammates on Wednesday night as they arrived into the dressing room on level pegging with a side from the fourth tier. It was a youthful-looking Citizen lineup with Bae Seo-joon, Kim Ji-hun, Lee Seon-yu, and Lee Dong-won all 22 or under.
The match in question was Round 3 of the 2023 Korean FA Cup and Daejeon were at home to Goeje Citizen. The Purples got off to a great start, too, and had taken the lead early on through 20-year-old winger Lee Dong-won, who swept in a Kim Ji-hun cross from close range.
While the fixture served as an opportunity for manager Lee Min-sung to rest some of his key names with Ulsan Hyundai coming up next in the league, it was also a chance for some of Daejeon's starlets to impress and force their way into the first team.
But despite breaking the deadlock early, the K League 1 outfit were pegged back on the half-hour mark and this, along with what was perceived as a sub-par first-half display, prompted Ju Se-jong to tell his teammates exactly what he thought.
From footage on Hana TV, Daejeon's official YouTube channel and as part of the Off The Pitch match documentary series, Ju can be seen posing the question of whether it was the opposition that was professional:
"You lot should be embarrassed. They're K4, what are you doing here? You're professional footballers, professional. You would call yourselves K League 1 players."
|Screenshot from Daejeon's official YouTube channel|
Kim Young-wook, one of a handful of senior players who got the nod to face Goeje, stepped in to play 'good cop' to Ju's 'bad cop', saying:
"What I'd like to see is defending with confidence, and attacking with confidence too, okay? There are situations where we have more margin for error but we're in too much of a hurry and so are making mistakes. We need to deal with that with a bit more freedom."
Manager Lee Min-sung sided with Ju Se-jong, saying:
"Do you lot not have the desire? How can you play like that? You should be ashamed. Don't you know how good of an opportunity this is? But if you're going to do things like that then I just don't understand."
Daejeon went on to win the match 4-1 with goals from Lee Seon-yu, Byun Jun-soo, and Yu Kang-hyun who had missed a sitter in the first half and seemed embarrassed to bundle a loose ball in from on the line. But last year's K League 2 top scorer is off the mark for the Purples, something which has come to the relief of the fans and players alike.
Ju Se-jong didn't come out for the second half, instead he watched the game from the bench and was very much the cheerleader. Afterwards, he apologised for getting angry:
"I'm sorry that I got angry after the first half. I was annoyed because you have this great environment, you get treated well, you train... but it felt like (Goeje) were the professional team and we were the K4 side. We kept losing our individual battles, technically too (we were g and so these things if we can have more of a sense of urgency then that'd be great."
Daejeon will face Jeju United away in the next round of the cup but have eight league matches to play first as the club looks to avoid relegation.