Daejeon Hana Citizens have secured their place in the top flight.
Daejeon drew 1-1 with Suwon FC in the 34th round of the ‘Hana OneQ K League 1 2023’ at Daejeon World Cup Stadium on the 22nd, thanks to Thiago’s equalizer in the 16th minute of the second half. The draw was the final piece of the puzzle for Daejeon, who needed just one more point to secure retention. With 46 points, Daejeon extended their lead over 10th-place Suwon FC (32 points) to 14 points and secured their spot. Suwon FC, meanwhile, remained winless for the third straight game, increasing their goal difference over ninth-place Jeju United (38 points), who beat Suwon Samsung 2-0 on the day, to six points over 11th-place Gangwon FC (26 points), who also lost on the day.
Daejeon pulled out the 3-4-3 card. Yoo Kang-hyun was the centerpiece, flanked by Kim In-gyun and Jeon Byung-kwan. The back line consisted of Seo Young-jae, Masa, Joo Se-jong, and Lee Hyun-sik. The back four was Kim Hyun-woo, Cho Yoo-min, and Lim Deok-geun. Lim returned from injury to make his first appearance in the starting lineup in a long time. Lee Chang-geun was in goal. Thiago, the team’s leading scorer, was benched. Suwon FC lined up in a 5-3-2 formation. Ugogomes returned from the sidelines and fiddled with the back four card, but opted to stick with the 5-3-2 that had been working so well recently. Kim Do-yoon and Kang Min-sung, both U-22s, were up front, while Suwon FC’s vaunted Yoon Beom-garam, Lee Young-jae, and Kim Sun-min formed the back three. Park Chul-woo and Oh In-pyo stood on the left and right, and the back four was Ugo Gomes, Choi Bo-kyung, and Shin Se-wha. Lee Seung-woo, Kim Hyun, and Lopez started from the bench.굿모닝토토
“I was just thinking that I wanted to make a decision unconditionally and quickly, and I didn’t care about the bottom or the top,” said Daejeon coach Lee Min-sung before the game. “From the players’ point of view, they may think it’s over, but from the coach’s point of view, I think it’s good to make a decision as soon as possible, and I also think that we need to win another home game in front of our fans so that we can keep going and think that this will lead to next year, so I’m adding meaning to that.”
As for motivation, he said, “When you’re a professional athlete, I think you have to be faithful to every game. I don’t think it’s a professional athlete to do something because they want to, but because they have to, so I talk to them about that. If I say that I will be here next year, I think I should organize the players in that way, and if they show such complacency, I think they will do the same again next year, so I think the players will not do that and will do their best until the end.”
Kim Do-gyun, head coach of Suwon FC, said, “I think the current situation is a bit like that, but during the break, I watched training sessions and played practice games, and I think this is the best situation during the season. The players’ physical condition, mental state, and everything is good now. In hindsight, I wish it was earlier in the season. But it can’t be helped, and I feel as a coach that the atmosphere is not bad now, so I think I can do it with a little confidence.”
“I thought Daejeon would be a little more aggressive, because they’re almost guaranteed to stay and they lost to us twice, so I expected them to be a little more aggressive at home without the pressure of losing,” Kim said, “I think it would be better for us to attack. To be honest, Daejeon is also a team that has been struggling defensively, and we have conceded a lot of goals, but Daejeon has also conceded some goals, so I wonder if there is more risk now that they have abandoned the three-back they have been pursuing in favor of a four-back, and I wonder if there will be a better situation for us to attack.”
Suwon FC also considered a four-back with Ugogomes’ return, but ultimately went with a 5-3-2, which has worked well recently. “I thought a lot about it, and the other thing is how to use Seung-woo now, because he’s been in good form lately and scoring goals, so I was very worried about how to use him, and I thought it would be better for us to attack if we put him in the center and reduce the burden on Seung-woo’s defense, so I put out this formation,” Kim explained.
A fierce first half ensued. In the first minute, Oh In-pyo broke down the right side and cut back. Unfortunately, he couldn’t connect with his shot. In the third minute, Kang Min-sung headed a corner kick from the left by Yoon Beom-garam, but it was cleared off the line. Daejeon fought back. In the 12th minute, Lee Hyun-sik and Masa took consecutive shots from a corner kick, but they were blocked by the Suwon FC defense’s physical defense. Lim Duk-geun then joined the attack and hit a mid-range shot. It went wide. In the 13th minute, Yoo Kang-hyun caught a backpass before Labor made a quick save.
Suwon FC made the first change. In the 18th minute, Kim Do-yoon took off Kang Min-sung and introduced Lee Seung-woo Kim. In the 19th minute, Lee Young-jae took a shot after receiving a sensational pass from Yoon Beom-garam. It went wide. In the 25th minute, Kim Sun-min beat one defender after an interception and tried to shoot. Lee Chang-geun made the save. In the 30th minute, Daejeon had a great chance. After receiving a long pass from Ju Se-jong, Seo Young-jae sent in a cross from the left side. Jeon Byung-kwan dived in and attempted a change of direction shot. Labor Gun narrowly missed.
After surviving the crisis, Suwon FC scored the first goal. In the 32nd minute, Kim Hyun shook the Daejeon goal with a header off a cross from Lee Young-jae. It was his first goal of the season after 16 games. Daejeon fought back. In the 38th minute, Jeon Byung-kwan’s mid-range shot was headed straight at the keeper. In the 42nd minute, Kim In-gyun beat one defender before firing a right-footed shot. It was well saved by goalkeeper Labor Gun.
In the 44th minute, Lee Seung-woo broke through and took a right-footed shot on goal. It went wide. In the 45th minute, Joo Sae-jong attempts a right footed shot from outside the box. It went just wide. In the 49th minute, Suwon FC missed a golden opportunity. Lee Seung-woo broke through and found an overlapping Oh In-pyo. Oh In-pyo moved from the right to the center of the box and sent the ball to Yoon Beom-garam. Yoon beat the goalkeeper to the ball, but Lee Chang-geun made the save. Yoon laid down and expressed his disappointment.
Both teams made changes at the start of the second half. Daejeon took off Joo Sae-jong and brought on Kang Yoon-sung. Lee Hyun-sik moved to the center and Kang Yoon-sung started on the right flank. Suwon FC also removed Choi Bo-kyung and added Park Byung-hyun. In the first minute of the second half, Suwon FC missed a crucial chance. Park Chul-woo sent in a ball from the left side that Kim Hyun dived to head home. It went just wide of the goal. In the third minute, Yoon Beom-garam connected with a volley after receiving a header pass from Kim Hyun, but it was ruled offside.
In the fifth minute, Daejeon had a great chance. Kim In-gyun broke down the left side and delivered a grounded cross that Yoo Kang-hyun beat a defensive battle to get to his feet. But it was off target. Daejeon made their second change. In the 7th minute, they took off Yoo Kang-hyun and Masa and brought on Thiago and Kim Young-wook. In the 9th minute, Suwon wasted another chance. Lee Seung-woo’s cutback from the right was deflected behind. Park Chul-woo, who joined the attack, caught it and tried to shoot with his right foot, but it went wide of the goal.
12th minute, Daejeon missed a great chance. Kim Hyun-woo connected with a sensational header from a corner kick from the left by Kim Young-wook, but it went just wide of the goal. Suwon FC also had a good chance. A back header from Kim Hyun was sent behind and Lee Seung-woo made a quick move to catch it. He faced the keeper, but his shot was blocked by the defense. In the 16th minute, Daejeon equalized. Seo Young-jae sent in a cross from the left side that found Thiago right behind him. Thiago calmly slotted it in. His 15th goal of the season. Thiago jumped to the top of the scoring charts.
Suffolk played one more yellow card. In the 18th minute, Oh In-pyo was removed and Lee Yong-soo was introduced. Daejeon had a good chance in the 22nd minute. Seo Young-jae’s early cross from the left found Thiago again. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get a shot off. In the 24th minute, Kim Young-wook’s free kick was headed by Thiago, but it went wide of the goal.
Suwon FC also went on the attack. After receiving a header from Kim Hyun, Lee Seung-woo beat one defender in front of the arc and connected with a right-footed shot. The shot was saved by goalkeeper Lee Chang-geun. In the 28th minute, Lee Young-jae tried a powerful mid-range shot from the front of the arc. Lee Chang-geun made a good save. In the 30th minute, Daejeon had a good shot. Lee Hyun-sik sent in a cross from the right and Kim In-gyun headed it in. Suwon FC pushed forward. In the 35th minute, Kim Sun-min was taken off and Lopez was brought on. Suwon FC switched to a 4-3-3 with Park Chul-woo up front.
In the 36th minute, Daejeon missed a crucial chance. In the midst of a scramble, a ball cleared by Ugogomes fell to Thiago at the nomark. Thiago’s shot went just wide of the right crossbar. Daejeon also went on the offensive. In the 37th minute, they brought on Leandro. In the 38th minute, Kim Hyun’s shot from Lee Seung-woo’s pass was blocked by the defense. Suwon FC came out aggressively and tried to create chances, but couldn’t connect until the last minute. In the remaining time, both teams gave it their all, and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.