Rotation or redemption - Lee Min-sung's FA Cup conundrum for Daejeon

With an FA Cup tie against lower league opposition coming up this Wednesday, is it rotation or redemption for Daejeon Hana Citizen when boss Lee Min-sung names his side? The Purples suffered their first loss of the season on Sunday, something that was always coming, but the manner of the defeat left fans scratching their heads. 

Daejeon manager Lee Min-sung may have already had a rotated lineup in mind for the visit of K4 side Goeje Citizen this Wednesday as his team enters the FA Cup in the third round but with champions Ulsan at home looming at the weekend. With survival very much the priority for Daejeon in what is thir first top-flight campaign since 2015, the FA Cup holds reduced importance. 

Lee called the defeat to Suwon a situation he could not understand and said he would have to watch the game again to be able to figure out what went wrong. He did, though, say it was his fault not not the players who were to blame.

The first 61 minutes or so had gone well but Daejeon collapsed and less-than-solid performances from Daejeon's defensive players compounded and the result was a sudden Suwon comeback. Anton Kryvotsyuk may have been one of the players who was expected to make way having started all six matches for Daejeon this season and been on international duty in Austria and Sweden. However, after being sent off against Suwon and suspended for Daejeon's next two league games, the Azerbaijan international may not have the night off after all.

How much rotation can Daejeon fans expect? Lee has hinted at striker Yu Kang-hyun getting a run out in order to break his goal-scoring duck, but after the 5-3 loss to Suwon FC on Sunday, he may want to let some of his players earn some sort of redemption.

[READ: Daejeon twice surrender two-goal lead to Suwon FC for first loss of 2023]

Lee will have much to ponder. He was, according to some sources, calm after the loss to Suwon. He also defended his players in the post-match press conference, owing the second-half collapse to a lapse in communication. He also admitted that he has been forced into rotating his back three:

"I couldn't help but think about rotating the players in the back three but now I am being forced to do so. There are a lot of games still to come. Anton's red card was a mistake but he's been working hard. Other players will have to step in to replace him. I hope we can move toward building a competitive system with each other."


The players, too, will want to bounce back as quickly as possible. Some might be happy to have a break, some will be itching to put Sunday behind them. It's a long season, though, and some players will need first-team minutes to get them up to speed. 

Monday was a day off for the players and so work begins in earnest on Tuesday. Senior players like Jeong San, Kim Hyeon-woo, Min Jun-young, Lee Jong-hyeon, Gong Min-hyun, Kim Young-wook, and Yu Kang-hyun will be keen to impress after either being on the bench for the most part or out of the squad altogether.

[READ: "FA Cup run can help build confidence": Chungbuk Cheongju's Peter Makrillos]

Masatoshi Ishida has played just 46 minutes of football across two matches while Leandro has featured in just three matches due to a hamstring injury. Whoever gets the nod to start on Wednesday night will be keen to impress and help the Purples move on from Sunday's debacle.

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