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Korean Football Round-up 3rd March

The latest news from the world of Korean football after a bumper three-day weekend of K League.

#KLUPod: The Weekend Preview S2E2

Five Star Ulsan

Ulsan Hyundai got off to an emphatic start to the new season, winning 5-0 at home to Gangwon FC on Monday. Making his league debut for the Horangi was Lee Dong-jun, or "Lee Dong-junior" as Seoul Shinmun described him, who scored Ulsan's third. In Júnior Negrão's absence, Lee said that his goal and overall performance was thanks to manager Hong Myung-bo who told him to play with confidence. 

Yoon Bit-garam staying at Ulsan 

One of many players linked with a move away from the Munsu over the winter was Yoon Bit-garam. The gifted midfielder scored Ulsan's first on Monday with a delightful free-kick and, as will come as good news for Ulsan fans, his manager says that the player is set to stay at Ulsan. Speaking at a pre-match press conference on Monday, Hong revealed that, despite links to the Chinese Super League, Yoon has decided to stay.

2002 World Cup star picks 2002-born player

A star of the 2002 World Cup in Korea for the Taeguk Warriors, Hong Myung-bo, took charge of a K League match for the first time on Monday and in his first teamsheet was 2002-born Kang Yun-gu. Kang played the first 45 minutes before being replaced by Lee Dong-gyeong in what was the 19-year-old's professional debut. More here (Korean only).

Complicated U22 rule has created "absurd" situation

Making headlines for the wrong reason is the new rules regarding U22 players and being able to make five substitutions. Sports Kyunghyang even called the situation "absurd". K League addressed the possibility of teams simply ignoring the U22 rule whereby one player aged 22 or under must start the match and another needs to be on the bench by implementing new guidelines: an U22 player must come off the bench for a team to be able to make five changes. However, over the weekend, teams were getting around the rule by starting U22 players before bringing them off as early as the 16th minute as was seen from Suwon FC in the 1-1 draw away to Daegu FC. Lee Ki-hyeok (20) and Cho Sang-jun (21) were replaced by Kim Seung-jun and Jeong Chung-geun with barely a quarter of the match played. On Saturday, Jeonbuk replaced 20-year-old Lee Sung-yoon with just 24 minutes on the clock and even changed their goalkeeper in the second half so that manager Kim Sang-sik could bring on Choi Chul-soon for the injured Han Kyo-won.

No foreigners, no problem

In the absence of overseas players, domestic attackers are showing their goal-scoring ability. Footballist noted on Tuesday that, because foreign players are having to play catch up on account of 14 days in self-quarantine, it is the domestic attackers who have come to the forefront. In K League 1, only two overseas players scored for their respective teams - Modou Barrow coming off the bench for Jeonbuk's second, and Elias Aguilar giving Incheon a 28th minute lead away to Pohang. In the second division, Daejeon's Edinho was the only foreign player to score on opening day.

Time needed for foreign players

MBC+ News also noted that foreign players need time. A lot of the league's foreign talent have arrived into Korea late and that a February 27th opening day came a bit too early for most. Suwon Bluewings boss Park Kun-ha said, speaking about two of his foreign stars Uroš Đerić and Nicolao Dumitru, that the pair only joined up with the team in February and that for them to be able to get through 90 minutes more time is needed. 

Mugoša out of quarantine

Incheon United striker is out of quarantine after recovering from COVID-19 but, according to the Kyeonggi Ilbo, his return date is still unknown. An unknown Incheon representative said that at present nothing has been decided about a return date but admitted that the club are finding it difficult to replace him.

Mediation required

Daegu FC are finding it difficult to negotiate with wing back Jeong Seung-won over a new deal. It was reported in Maeil Shinmun on Tuesday that the club have made a request to a special mediation committee.  Daegu and Jung Seung-won failed to reach a conclusion by February 24th, the K League registration deadline and so will have to wait for the mediation committee at K League headquarters on Thursday 4th March. Teams are not permitted to field players who have not been registered and so Jeong was left out of Daegu's 18-man squad for the visit of Suwon FC on Saturday.

Debt to Dragons 

FC Seoul winger Park Jung-bin is at the centre of a transfer controversy, one which is similar to that of Paik Seung-ho's. It has been reported that Park had an agreement with Jeonnam Dragons whereby he would pay a penalty if he did not return to K League with the Dragons. Park had until 3pm on March 2nd to pay but the club say he has not. According to a report in Sports Chosun, the first agreement was signed in 2010 when Park was about to start at Gwangyang Jecheol High School but without prior warning, flew to Wolfsburg in Germany for a trial. Park was then ordered to pay 100 million won and is said to have visited the club on a number of occasions to ask for leniency. 

At this point, Jeonnam Dragons said that Park can play abroad as he wishes but if he is to return to K League it must be with them, if not then he would need to pay 150 million won. However, it is alleged that Park signed for FC Seoul without speaking to Jeonnam first. Park is said to have apologised and has promised to pay the penalty. However, a club representative said that Park Jung-bin's father sent an email saying that self-isolation issues have caused a delay. The Jeonnam Dragons representative said, speaking to Sports Chosun, that they feel betrayed and that they just want to resolve the issue quietly and smoothly.

Park on Paik

Suwon Bluewings boss Park Kun-ha has had his say on Paik Seung-ho. Speaking to OSEN, Park says that Paik is a player who has the potential to be a top player. He also said that he wishes the matter can be resolved and that he will monitor what the club's plans are in terms of trying to sign the Darmstadt midfielder.

Yang Dong-hyun out for up to 10 weeks

Suwon FC striker Yang Dong-hyun marked his debut with a goal, giving Kim Do-kyun's side a 28th minute lead away to Daegu FC. However, the experienced forward was taken off at half time and replaced by Lars Veldwijk. According to Sports Chosun, Yang has been ruled out for up to 10 weeks with a thigh injury after trying to latch on to a Jeong Jae-yong pass.

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K League 2

"Loss is my responsibility": Peres

New Busan IPark boss Ricardo Peres says that the team's opening day defeat is his responsibility. Peres, who served as Paulo Bento's assistant for Cruzeiro in Brazil's Serie B and goalkeeper coach while with Sporting Lisbon, says that Busan have a lot of young players and he wanted them to trust him. He also said that he is responsible for the performance but that the players only need to focus on what they worked on during the winter. More here (Korean only).

Edinho taken off penalties, relieved to score after miss

Daejeon Hana Citizen got off to a winning start on opening weekend but they had to do so the hard way. With 60 minutes on the clock, Daejeon were awarded a penalty and, after a four-minute VAR review, up stepped Edinho to take. However, Citizen's number 7 saw his spot-kick saved. Purples boss Lee Min-sung was not amused and said in a post match interview that Edinho would be taken off penalties. Edinho, meanwhile, said that although he felt disappointed to miss his penalty, was happy to score the game's winner in the 89th minute. 

Baio return delayed

Edinho's fellow countryman Bruno Baio was left out of Daejeon's 18-man match day squad on Sunday. The number nine returned to Korea late due to visa issues and so has spent minimal time training with the rest of the team. Daejeon manager Lee Min-sung said that Baio is likely to be involved in a couple of weeks. 

Female assistant referee makes K League return

Assistant referee Kim Kyung-min made her K League return over the weekend, officiating in a K League game for the first time in six years. Kim was one of Kim Yong-woo's assistants for the K League 2 fixture between Busan IPark and Seoul E-Land which ended 3-0 to the Leopards. Kim had been officiating in K3 up until last year but has been promoted. Kim last ran the line in K League in 2015 after a two-year spell and was at the time only the second female official to be involved in the professional men's game in Korea after Lim Eun-joo. More here (Korean only)

Korean Overseas

Son shines in Spurs win

Son Heung-min has beaten his own personal record for combined goals and assists in a single season with 33 having scored 18 and assisted 15. In Tottenham Hotspurs 4-0 win over Burnley, Son Heung-min teed up Gareth Bale twice, first for Spurs' opener in the second minute and for Bale's second and Spurs' fourth in the 55th minute. The win puts Tottenham in eight place and six points off London rivals West Ham who sit fourth.

Kim Min-jae to PSV?

Former Beijing FC and current PSV manager Roger Schmidt has spoken about Kim Min-Jae saying that Kim can succeed in Europe: "We talked about him playing in Europe when I was managing Beijing. I don’t know where he will go next, but I want to manage him again in the future.”

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