With Dan Petrescu (Romania) at the helm, the K League 1 Jeonbuk Hyundai has seen a change. The team colors have changed. Starting with coach Jose Morais (Portugal), Kim Sang-sik and acting coach Kim Doo-hyun abandoned the ‘build-up soccer’ style.
It was new, but familiar. Skipping the midfield, giving up possession, and playing a steady stream of forward movement was the foundation of Jeonbuk’s heyday under Choi Kang-hee (Shandong Taishan). Combined with a tight back line and a “dakgong” (shut up and attack) offense, Jeonbuk was invincible.
Jeonbuk technical director Park Ji-sung, who led the search for the new coach, also focused on this. CFR Cluj, led by Petrescu, also performed well in Romania with bold soccer. Petrescu, who took over during the A-match break in June, emphasized his philosophy from the first training session. The first was an away match against Gwangju FC in the 19th round of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 at the Gwangju Football Stadium on June 24. With Hapa Silva and Gustavo up top and Han Kyo-won and Lee Dong-joon on the flanks, the team played a “kick-and-rush” offense with fewer ball touches in dangerous areas.
But Gwangju had already 안전놀이터 anticipated it. Gwangju coach Lee Jung-hyo, one of the league’s best tacticians, mastered Cluj’s game last season. His analysis and prediction of “good at counterattacking, preferring the long ball, and active in crossing” was accurate. After shutting down Jeonbuk’s attack with an organized defense, Gwangju didn’t miss any chances. In the 19th minute, Lee Soon-min headed in a cross from Doo Hyun-seok for the first goal.
“It’s hard to add color in a short time,” Petrescu said, and Jeonbuk didn’t look good. Second-half changes were inevitable. Cho Kyu-sung and Song Min-gyu were brought on to bolster the front line. However, a fatal flaw was revealed. Inaccurate crosses.
While Jeonbuk faltered after using all of their substitutes, Gwangju continued to dominate possession. Despite having one goal disallowed by the video assistant referee (VAR), Lee Eun-hee scored a goal just before the end to seal the 2-0 victory. With the second win in a row against Jeonbuk and a strong run of four wins and two draws in their last six matches, Gwangju has rejoined the top half of the table with 28 points (8W4D7L). The win was also a big boost ahead of the FA Cup quarterfinals at Jeonju World Cup Stadium on April 28.
“There are few good things,” Petrescu said soberly as Gwangju fell to 27 points (8W3D8L).