Lingard’s faded K-League debut… ‘Lee Hee-kyun’s winning goal’ Gwangju defeated Seoul 2-0 ‘Winning the Opening Game’

Gwangju FC, led by head coach Lee Jung-hyo, has put a damper on the start of FC Seoul’s Kim Ki-dong system. Lee Hee-kyun became the winner of the winning goal that led Gwangju to its team’s victory with a cool mid-range blast, and Gabriel sealed the victory. Jesse Lingard from Manchester United (England), who drew keen attention, made his debut in the K-League as a substitute at the 30th minute of the second half. He displayed his presence by attempting to shoot immediately after the introduction, but his presence was not related to the offensive point, and his team’s defeat faded.

Gwangju defeated Seoul 2-0 in the first round of the 2024 Hana One Q K-League 1 at Gwangju Football Stadium at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, with Lee Hee-kyun’s first goal and Gabriel’s decisive goal. With the victory, Gwangju won the opening game of this season along with Ulsan HD, which beat Pohang Steelers in the opening game on the previous day. In contrast, Kim Ki-dong’s victory in Seoul’s debut match was postponed until the next day.

Gwangju continued its sensation last season by threatening the Seoul goal with strong pressure and sharp counterattack from the beginning of the game. Lee Hee-kyun’s mid-range shot was sucked into the Seoul goal at the 20th minute of the first half, and the team dominated the game in its advantageous position. Seoul had so much trouble that its first shot was only made at the last minute of the first half. It sought to turn the tables in the second half, but Gwangju remained focused. Rather, Gabriel’s extra goal at the end of the extra time sealed the victory.

Lingard, who had drawn much attention, was substituted as a substitute and played for about 20 minutes including extra time. After moving to Seoul, Lingard accompanied him from the opening match to Gwangju on the day, making his list of substitute players. Manager Kim Ki-dong, who was negative about Lingard’s possible participation in the match due to concern over his physical condition before the match, ultimately deployed Lingard who desperately needed a goal. Lingard tried to stand at the center of the attack with bold and wide movements but failed to make a turnaround.

Gwangju Football Stadium, where the game was held, was so hot that the reservation was sold out just two and a half minutes after the start of the reservation as the so-called “Lyngaard Effect” was added to the gust of wind that Gwangju showed last season. In fact, about three hours before kickoff, fans waited in a long line near the stadium, and a match was held in a crowd of 7,805 people.

In addition, Hwang Sun-hong, interim coach of the South Korean national soccer team, and coaches visited the stadium to watch the game. Coach Hwang, who watched the match between Hyundai and Daejeon Hana Citizen in Jeonbuk the previous day, is focusing on identifying K-League players ahead of the announcement of the national team’s roster for the second consecutive Asian qualifying match for the 2026 FIFA North-Central America World Cup against Thailand on the 11th. Seoul will play the Gyeongin derby against Incheon United at 4 p.m. on the 10th at the Seoul World Cup Stadium. Gwangju will bring Gangwon FC home at 4:30 p.m. on the same day.

Seoul launched the 4-2-3-1 formation on the day, with Cho Young-wook, Palosevic (Serbia), and Kang Sung-jin at the second line, led by Kim Shin-jin. Ki Sung-yueng and Han Seung-gyu worked together in the midfield, while Kim Jin-ya, Kim Joo-sung, Kwon Wan-kyu and Dongjin Park stood in the defensive line. Choi Cheol-won is the goalkeeper.

Lingard, Ilyulchenko (Germany), Sulaka (Iraq), Kim Kyung-min, Lim Sang-hyup, Baek Sang-hoon, Ryu Jae-moon, Lee Tae-seok, and Baek Jong-beom (GK) were waiting on the bench.

Kim Ki-dong, who debuted as a Seoul coach, said, “I feel nervous. I think I am a good golfer.” Nevertheless, I am always excited and nervous when I stand on the first tee box. I think that’s how I feel. I want to hit the ball well, but I want to hit the first tee shot in a cool way. I have some nervousness. I prepared for it for a long or short period of time after I got pregnant. It is not 100 percent, but I think it has increased as much as I expected.”

“I had meetings with Lingard constantly. In fact, I decided not to bring him here. I heard that he is in 60-70 percent condition. He said that he can play even for a short period of time, but if he is in 60-70 percent condition, he can only play that much even after 15 minutes. Many fans have high expectations for him, and he asked what he would do if he were disappointed. He added that even if he could not play in matches, he wanted to accompany the K-League players because he wanted to see how they would play. I need to see the flow, but under the current situation, I don’t think it will be easy even if I enter the league. As of now, I am not expecting much,” he said.

In response, Gwangju launched a 4-3-3 formation with Lee Kun-hee at the forefront and Ahn Hyuk-joo and Gabriel (Brazil) on both sides. Lee Hee-kyun, Jung Ho-yeon and Choi Kyung-rok worked together in the midfield, while Kim Jin-ho, Popovich (Australia), Ahn Young-kyu and Du Hyun-suk stood in the defensive line. The goalkeeper is Kim Kyung-min.

On the bench were Oh Poo-sung, Heo Yul, Park Tae-joon, Kim Han-gil, Lee Kang-hyun, Um Ji-sung, Byun Jun-su and Lee Jun-su. All three foreign players including Asani, Viktor and Becca were excluded from the list due to injury or condition.

“I’m half worried and half excited. I’m worried about how I’ll score a goal, what if I don’t get a goal, what if I don’t get a goal? Will the next method be implemented well with the players? I’ve prepared a lot, but will it be implemented in a stadium? I’m also worried as I have that kind of expectation. We are not a team under players’ names, but a team that plays as a team. There is a reason why three foreign players were excluded.”

“We are not going to use the tactics and strategies that we prepared in the winter. The opponent probably prepared it after watching the video of our game. So, we prepared for this game with different tactics and took it as an option in the winter season,” Lee said. “I think not to use Lingard means that Seoul will go ahead first, but I will try to make Lingard not to let him go ahead.”

Gwangju gained momentum early in the first half. It also had a decisive first goal opportunity in the first six minutes of the first half. Gabriel took the ball away from the front of the right side with strong pressure and made a grounder cross straight to the door. Ahn Hyuk-joo, who was born in 2004, connected the ball that flowed to the door with a non-stop shot of his right foot, but the shot missed the opportunity to score in front of goalkeeper Choi Chul-won.

Coach Ahn Hyuk-joo said before the game, “Lee Jung-hyo is aggressive. He is such a challenging player that he runs well and is reckless. He started the game with Um Ji-sung on the bench. However, he will only allow 25 minutes to play today.

BY: 토토

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