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The #KLeagueFM18 Challenges: Citizens Unite! [Part 4]

The last time and only time Daejeon Citizens lifted the FA Cup trophy was in 2001, if we have any hopes of winning it this year it starts now against Gwangju. It's probably the soju talking but I've got a feeling this is going to be our year. Then again I was sure Dejan would finish his career at Seoul. 

Previous Installments: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3


Backstory of that fateful season


The 2001 season that Daejeon won the cup on what can only be described as a shoe string budget they had to beat 4 teams on the way. The round of 16 drew them against Gangneung City the national side held Daejeon to a 1-1, until the 91st when Papa Oumar Coly scored the winner to see them to the Quarters.

Which drew them against now one of the most famous Korean teams in FC Seoul, at the time being called 'Anyang LG Cheetahs'. The game finished in the familiar scoreline of 2-1 to the Citizens. Where a certain Daejeon and Seoul legend Kim Eun-Jung scored the would be winner. This led them onto the semifinals to face Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.

The semi final finished 1-1 in regulation and extra regulation time, causing the tie to go to penalties. 3,200 fans attended and watched the mighty Daejeon Citizens walk out victorious after winning 4-3 in the resulting penalty shootout. Onto the final against another extra time winner in the other leg being Pohang Steelers.

The final was held on November 25th 2001, with over 40,000 people attending to see the greatest achievement in Daejeon history as in the 56th minute Daejeon legend Kim Eun-Jung scored again. His goal was the winner, the decider that would always be in the minds of fans.

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The Fa Cup trophy where it belongs in our trophy cabinet.
Image courtesy of http://pics.dcfc.co.kr

Our FA Cup Run


So far in our version of their magical run saw us run out 4-0 clear winners over Ulsan University, and drawing us against K League 1 team Gwangju away. Gwangju come into this with poor form of 4 losses in a row with only three days of rest. If we are to advance this would be the time and team, even if our form is patchy at best.

Even after our poor performance against Bucheon, the players look up for it although we dropped points the extra rest gave to players might help us see this game out. With that said the rested players make their way back into the first time for this key match.

Hwang In-Beon one of the highest rated young talented players in Korea is rapidly growing and every week my coaches tell me how he is better than Daejeon, his contact runs out in 9 months but luckily by promising promotion in 2 years he has signed a new 3 year deal. Securing this might be some compensation for if we lose this match.

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The line up is our normal K League 2 team line up with the slight change of playing a bit further forward, It may be foolish but I smell a bit of blood in the water with the Gwangju team. Worryingly the Gwangju team have started Niall McGinn who might be a bit up and down performance wise but he's probably the most gifted player on the pitch.

Kick Off


The kick off starts scarily for us as Gwangju go close within the first minute but its saved by Su-Hyun, He kicks up the field, the ball gets passed neatly around. Gathering momentum up the pitch to the feet of Chan-Hee who has been on four weeks of finishing training. It worked he curves the ball into the far post. This is a miracle Eun-Jung style. 1-0 Daejeon we don't let this slip!

Whatever prays were made before the match have been answered as a ball in causes confusion and Rae-Se is brought down for a penalty. Up steps Kim Jin-Kyu, he missed one in pre season surely not now. The prayers must of been curses as he lashes it over the bar, at least he didn't injure his leg like last time. He might not be taking the future penalties now, hopefully that doesn't cost us.

Straight from the penalty, Niall McGinn does a mazy run to the corner, crosses it in and its scored by Je-Heon for Gwangju to make it 1-1. The penalty has turned our luck.

The most ridiculously lucky goal you will probably ever see this year is scored, but we don't care because its for us! A corner is crossed in bouncing around to the feet of Chang-Hyun who shoots with all his might, cannoning off a Gwangju defenders face into the opposite corner of the net. It's 2-1! Lee Hoo-Kwon with the OG.

It's McGinn again his dribbling skills sees him out on the wide alone, to easily pick his cross right onto Jin-Wook to head into the net 2-2. I'm at a tactical loss what to do now.

94th minute, it looks set for extra time. Gwangju players are looking dead on their feet but we are not looking much better, three subs done with Jae-Woo on at CB, Dae-Hoon at ST and Ho-Suk on the wing to try and use his pace.

Start of extra time and Gwan-Pyo begged me to take him off but after shoving a orange down his mouth he's got to stay on, just hope he doesn't rupture anything. The cup is important to me but promotion is still first. 101st minute Dae-Hoon one on one with the keeper if he scores this I'm closing the doors, the windows everything but he sky's it. Still 2-2 second half of ET kicking off now.

IT'S IN, IT'S IN , IT'S IN! 112th minute, a corner is again misread by the Gwangju defence, hits off four players before Sung-Hyun prods it in with I think his knee? It's 3-2! This isn't a dream it's reality. We have won, I can't believe it 3-2 to Daejeon the players who are left standing are hugging each other. Onto the next round we go.

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Memories of  Jeong Shung-Hoon celebrating a late winner perfectly summarizes us right now
Image Courtesy of http://daejeoncitizen.blogspot.co.uk/

Busan Three Days Later


The extra time may have completely wrecked our players physically, but mentally they've got a huge boost of belief in themselves after knocking out a league 1 team. This is probably going to mean we will go into this Busan game tired but it was worth it.

Game day has came and the players are still pretty tired even after giving them two days of rest from training. Five of the 'Gwangju Killers' don't make the clash against Busan due to fitness, looking to see if Ho-Suk or Dae-Hoon can impress today and the return of Sung-Su from a slight training injury might alleviate our issues.

Kick Off


The team look lethargic not really able to create much going forwards and seem slow on the defense. This is highlighted when in the 37th minute a Busan player runs down the wing and we haven't got the legs to catch up with him, and he's allowed space to control the ball before curling home into the corner. 1-0 Busan. Luckily due to the weather being so hot the players are allowed a water break, might give us some breathing room here.

Half time rolls around and we have looked more like a team of old men than a young energetic team On come the slightly more fit players. The half time substitute of bringing on the wonder kid In-Beon helps create something as his pass leads to Gwan-Pyo to slip into the path of Dae-Hoon to finish delightfully into the corner on his weak foot. 1-1.  It doesn't end there as Busan strike back with a vicious shot that is thankfully saved by Su-Hyun with a wonderful fingertip save, really keeping us in this game here.

The crowd seem to be waking up too as the chants begin when Chan-Hee is subbed on late into the game. He is a real menace to the Busan back line his pace is leading to chances to grab a late winner.  Might be last chance of the game as Chan-Hee is running past them all, his run is spotted by a great ball over the top and his first time shot is so powerful. It gets parried to the left into Dae-Hoon for his second and our comeback goal 2-1.

Our first half may have looked poor, but as the game went on we really grew into it especially with our first team subs coming on. I was looking at Dae-Hoon to show up and he really did, he is fighting for contention here. 2-1 final score to Daejeon wonderful result especially coming from the big game three days previous.

FA Cup Draw


The Fifth round draw is ongoing, seeing names like Seoul and Suwon bring wonderful thoughts of TV money to mind. As the balls are drew out we are one of the last three to be drew. We get a home draw against Bucheon 1995 who ironically are the only team to beat us in the last eight games.

The Korean cup system draws the Quarter finals at the same time, if we were to beat Bucheon we would play. Gyeongnam or Pohang out of that leg. If Pohang can win then it could be a repeat of the 2001 final. The dream moves on.

The last game of the part is against Suwon FC, who are the surprise package of the season so far with being league leaders. They come into this game with 6 straight wins two in the cup scoring a average of 3 goals a game.

Yoon Sin-Young comes into the side after complaining to the squad about his lack of game time, even though he's played 3 games out of 10. Dae-Hoon keeps his place after his brace in the last game.

Kick Off Suwon FC


Suwon start the game on the front foot, with three shots from distance one causing the ball to spill out of the goalkeepers hands for a corner. He then redeems himself with a wonderful diving catch denying Suwon an early lead.

A free kick from Gwan-Pyo hits the bar, interestingly before the match statistically he has been the best player this season so his 160k price tag might of been value. 0-0 20 minutes in still. Just talked about him and he's only gone and scored, 24 minutes in the ball goes to the wing after 10 successful passes, the ball glides into Gwan-Pyo to tuck home for 1-0. He has been completely essential so far in the season.

The early injury to Suwons FC striker has led to them being quite stale going forwards, all their shots came with him on the pitch. 1-0 Daejeon we look good value for the victory with a good overall display. Half time change is Dae-Hoon off going to give Chang-Hyun another chance to impress me for that striker role.

Another shot hits the woodwork as In-Beon takes a long shot that drives into the post to deflect wide getting closer, still all Daejeon here.

Shouldn't have spoke as the defense loses focus for a few seconds as a looping ball again is missed in the air, jumped onto by the Suwon striker to easily dispatch into the goal. Didn't look like scoring but that's football 1-1. 20 minutes left to salvage points.

Changing to attacking and bringing in 2 subs for fresh legs, we looked like we just lost too much faith after that goal and our final ball is always too far. Shouting passionate support from the side lines seems to fail as the game finishes 1-1. We look hard to beat but we don't look like the free scoring team we might need to be for automatic promotion.

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TL:DR

We went undefeated against 3 very strong teams, a stand out extra time FA Cup win and created a legacy with the Gwangju Killers. Slightly disappointed to not win all three but still a great start for Daejeon Citizens FC. 

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