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K League Headlines: September 7th - 13th

While it may have been an international break, there has been plenty of stories in the world of Korean football. Columnist Chris Park once again summarises the key stories of the week.

[National League] Gangneung City FC Win the Regular League Title

Gangneung City FC are the National League champions! Gangneung City, which earned 54 points (17 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses), were crowned the regular league winners after beating Gimhae 2-1 in the Round 22 at Gangneung Sports Complex. Now, Gangneung will go straight to the final championship decision match. Even though there are six more games to play until the regular league ends, 2nd placed Gyeongju KHNP cannot overtake the lead since the points between Gangneung City and Gyeongju KHNP is more than 18 points.

Gangneung City won the regular league in 2016, but they lost against Ulsan Hyundai Mipo Dockyard FC in the final champion decision match. It took three years for Gangneung City to take the chance again. Gangneung will play the final match against the winner of the regular league play-off. Gangneung City FC will try to win their first final title since 2009.

Date: September 7th
Source: Kangwon Ilbo (Kwon Taemyung)

[Women's National Team] South Korea Women’s National Football Team manager Choi Incheol resigns from the national team. Apologise to the victims

South Korea Women's National Team manager Choi Inchoel has to resigned from his post with the KFA accepting his resignation.

In a statement, Choi said. “I feel responsible for what was reported in the media, and I will resign from my position. I'm deeply sorry about the things that I did that cannot be justified just because it's been a long time. I would like to offer a deep apology to the players who were hurt by my wrong words and actions. My apology may not be enough to heal their scars, but since I'm deeply remorseful, I hope my sincere apology will be delivered to the affected athletes." He also added, "I will be reborn as a mature leader once again, sincerely reflecting on my mistakes."

Chairman Kim Pangon will hold a briefing at the Football Hall on the resignation of the Women's National Football Team manager Choi Incheol and the future selection of managers.

Date: September 9th
Source: SportsTimes (Kang Jonghoon)

[National Team] Team Bento Needs More Effort Despite Beating Turkmenistan

South Korea has won a valuable victory in the first match for their 10th consecutive World Cup. However, the team’s unsatisfactory performance caused fans to feel frustrated.

The South Korean national football team, led by head coach Paulo Bento, scored a 2-0 win over Turkmenistan in their away match in Group H of the second Asian regional qualifier for the 2022 Qatar World Cup in Turkmenistan. Na Sangho of FC Tokyo scored in the 13th minute and Jung Wooyoung of Al Sadd SC scored a free kick in the 82nd minute.

Despite the team’s victory, manager Paulo Bento was left to regret the showing. He said, “We had no difficulty in creating chances, yet we need to focus more on scoring goals from those chances. Playing efficiently is what we need to focus on.”

South Korea are ranked second in Group H following North Korea, which defeated Sri Lanka 1-0. South Korea will play the second match against Sri Lanka on October 10th in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, and third match against North Korea in Pyongyang on October 15th.

Date: September 11th
Source: Busan Ilbo (Lim Wonchul)

[K League] Lee Myungjoo and Ju Sejong are back at FC Seoul!

FC Seoul spent the summer transfer market quietly. However, due to key players’ injuries, the team have fallen into a slump recently. Therefore, Lee and Ju’s return will be a huge backup. Former national team midfielder Lee Myungjoo and Ju Sejong returned to FC Seoul from Asan Mugunghwa after serving as mandatory police officers.

Lee Myungjoo and Ju Sejong might make their return in the upcoming home game against Incheon United on Sunday. FC Seoul have no wins in four consecutive games (two draws and two losses). Can the 2018 K League 2 Best XI members, Lee Myungjoo and 2018 FIFA World Cup national team member Ju Sejong make a difference?

Date: September 12th
Source: MK Sports (Kang Donghyung)

[National Team] Cho Kwangrae: "Lee Kangin needs to be consistently selected for the national team."

It was his national team debut match, but Lee's performance was brilliant. Born in 2001, Lee’s ability will be a vital part of the national team’s offence in the near future.

How did Daegu FC President Cho Kwangrae look at Lee Kangin's selection for the national team? Former national football team manager, Cho Kwangrae, drew attention in December 2010 when he selected Son Heungmin (Tottenham Hotspur) as a national team member. With Cho’s decision, Son, a hot prospect for Hamburg in the German Bundesliga, was able to play for the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar at the age of 18.

"Lee was born in 2001, but I think he's a necessary player for the national team," said Cho Kwangrae. Lee Kangin, who has just joined the national team, needs more time. Even if he is consistently selected for the national team, Lee will have a limited chance and time to play. Fans and media might criticize, “Why don’t you let him play?”, but this is inevitable and cannot be avoided. Yet, Cho claimed that it is better to keep being selected even if he does not have much chance to play because the selection of players for the national team will soon lead to confidence.” He also noted, "The Taegeuk mark itself creates confidence. Then, Europe will recognize Lee more. It also plays an important role in future transfers. Having a national team title increases the value of a player."

In the past, Son was selected as the national team player even though he did not play as a starting XI. Yet, he is the best player and the captain of the national team and beyond Asia, Son is considered one of the best forwards in Europe. Lee is following Son’s path. Daegu FC’s president Cho Kwangrae, who selected Son himself, also saw Lee as a future leader of South Korean soccer.

Date: September 13th
Source: SportalKorea (Kwak Himchan)

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