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Column: Are Daejeon Beginning to Turn the Corner?

Are the Purples beginning to turn the corner? Purples midfielder Shrohuh Gadeov seems to think so. After three games without a win, and two straight defeats, Daejeon Citizen bounced back with a 2-1 away victory over Suwon FC on Sunday. It wasn't just the weather that was bright in Suwon on Sunday afternoon as Ko Jongsoo's Purples put on a sparkling display that hinted that his team are finally starting to gel. Goals came from Park Inhyeok and Shrohuh Gadeov (pictured above) early in the second half to get Daejeon on their way to their second away win of the season, third over all. 
(Image via K League)
Daejeon Citizen recorded their lowest ever finish in 2017, finishing bottom of the second tier after winning just six games. As a result, from top to bottom there was a complete overhaul during the winter. Former manager Kim Ho became the new CEO, who then appointed his protege Ko Jongsoo as first team manager along with a new backroom staff, as did new reserve team manager Lee Kibeom, not to mention a substantial amount of new recruits amongst the playing staff.

Eyebrows were raised, not just due to the volume of transfers that Daejeon completed, but at some of the names who have come through the door at Purple Arena. Filip Hlohovsky had had a decent half season with Seongnam having joined from the Slovakian Champions in the summer for whom he bagged 20 goals, former Bluewing and Korean internatinal Oh Jangeun, returning former captain Ahn Sanghyeon. Korea U23 striker Park Inhyeok joined from from Hoffenheim, Romanian forward Aurelian Chițu and Uzbek midfielder Shrohuh Gadeov also arriving later in the transfer window - players with good pedigree and players with international caps to their name.

The amount of upheaval won't have helped Citizen's languid start, nor will the tension and protests from the stands have helped their progression. However, slowly but surely, there are signs that this Daejeon squad is now becoming a team; Sunday's 2-1 over Suwon FC being a prime example of how they can play.

Gadeov looks like a superb acquisition, as does Park Inhyeok who has excellent technique and is dominant in the air. Special mentions must be given also for Korea U23 international Ko Myeongseok who has been ever-present for Daejeon this season and Park Suchang who, after a shaky start, is proving to be a classy player in Daejeon's midfield as well as full back Park Jaewoo, who was already with the club.

Last Sunday, away to Suwon FC, Daejeon were up for it. The possession stats were in Suwon's favour but in terms of shots and chances created, Daejeon were on top. The teams went in at the break with the score locked a 0-0 but the visitors, ironically through the two eventual goalscorers, squandered two glorious opportunities to put their noses in front.

On 33 minutes a misplaced back-pass to the goalkeeper was sniffed out by Gadeov whose interception made its way to Park Inhyeok. With the goalkeeper scrambling to get back, the 22-year-old seemingly had an empty net to roll the ball into but Korea U23 international striker somehow managed to send the ball high and wide, much to the bemusement of his teammates and the relief of Suwon's Ma Sanghoon who had had his pocked picked by Gadeov.

Two two combined again three minutes before half time when Park Inhyeok flicked on Park Jaewoo's cross into the path of Gadeov but the Uzbek international midfielder couldn't get his footing right and hit the side netting.

But, just two minutes into the second half, Citizen had their lead. Park Jaewoo on the overlap sent in a perfectly weighted cross in the direction of Park Inhyeok whose glancing header found the far corner - 1-0.

Citizen's second goal came just five minutes later and in similar fashion to the first; Park Jaewoo showing why he has been in the Korea U23 squad with some great wing back work down the right, dangerous ball in towards the six-yard box where Gadeov latched on and finished with what looked like his knee. Two goals for Daejeon, two assists for Park Jaewoo.

Suwon did get a late, late, scant consolation goal in the 94th minute.

Speaking after the game, the score of Daejeon's second goal, Shrohruh Gadeov, gave us his thoughts:

Daejeon Citizen Midfielder Shohruh Gadeov Interview

Suwon FC 1-2 Daejeon Citizen Post Match Reaction

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