The promoted team is more frightening. Daejeon Hana Citizen and Gwangju FC of the K League 1 this season are leading the league trend with ‘Nopaku’ soccer.
Daejeon and Gwangju,메이저놀이터 which were promoted after being in the K League 2 last year, are continuing a sensation in the early stages of the K League 1. Up to the 7th round, Daejeon is in 3rd place with 4 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss with 14 points. In the 7th round, he caused a stir by defeating Ulsan Hyundai, a player who had won 6 consecutive wins. Gwangju also had the same 4 victories as Daejeon. With 3 losses without a draw and 12 points, they are in 5th place. It is said that the two teams classified as candidates for relegation enter Final A, straining existing teams and destroying the ecosystem.
Rather than grades and results so far, the process of reaching the top ranks stands out. It is encouraging that both teams achieve results with aggressive soccer, rather than counterattack tactics commonly used by weak teams. They have one thing in common: they strongly press the opponent from the front and advance defiantly no matter what team they meet. Daejeon is scoring the most goals in the league with 16 points. Along with Ulsan (14 points), Daejeon is the only team to score more than 2 goals per game. With 12 runs, including 5 runs against Suwon FC in the 6th round, he has the second most goals in the league, but he is continuing his high-altitude march with his powerful scoring power. Gwangju also scored 12 goals. This is the background of 4 wins despite allowing more than 1 goal per game on average with 9 goals.
The philosophy and beliefs of the two coaches who lead Daejeon and Gwangju are clear. Daejeon coach Lee Min-seong said, “I tried defensively as well. He personally prefers balanced football. However, I believe that if we do well in what we can do well, we can achieve good results. In terms of our player composition, aggressive football is right.” In fact, Daejeon played a hit-and-run game against Ulsan without backing down. With a strong midfield line at the forefront, he was ahead of the competition for possession of the ball and focused on attack.
The same goes for director Lee Jeong-hyo. Even when he led the team to win the K-League 2 last year, he used offense as his biggest weapon. While preparing for the season after being promoted to the first division, “I will be more aggressive this year. It’s not even possible to do it defensively. As we used to do, we are going to play soccer that focuses on attacking the opponent,” he announced, and is putting this into practice. Some people are concerned with their somewhat radical and provocative comments, but they have made Gwangju a strong team with clear beliefs and clever team management.
Coincidentally, the two are senior and junior at Ajou University and played together at Daewoo Royals. They are competing in good faith, cheering and encouraging each other as motivation for promotion.
The selection of Daejeon and Gwangju is stimulating the existing K-League 1 teams. Ulsan coach Hong Myung-bo said, “I think this is the direction the K-League should ultimately pursue. When we meet a strong team, we get down and counterattack. I think today’s Daejeon sets a good precedent for other teams,” he praised Daejeon’s performance.
Suwon FC coach Kim Do-gyun, who is on the rise with a recent winning streak, also said, “I thought a lot while watching Daejeon and Gwangju. It didn’t work just because I was trying to be defensive anyway. So, I also put weight on the offense we are good at, and the results came out. In the end, I think it’s important to make the things you do well better,” he said, saying he was inspired by the two teams. Suwon FC is also in 6th place, corresponding to Final A.