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Daejeon Hana Citizen secure first three points of 2022 with 2-1 win over Gimpo FC

Daejeon Hana Citizen pick up their first win of 2022 by easing past Gimpo FC thanks to two first-half penalties from Leandro. The Purples had to dig in and grind the result out in a game that saw Gimpo have their goalkeeper Lee Sang-wook sent off. 

Two first-half spot-kicks from Leandro were enough for Daejeon Hana Citizen to officially get up and running for the season. 

Daejeon Hana Citizen captain Cho Yu-min returned to the squad as did creative midfielder Lee Hyun-sik and experienced centre back Kwon Han-jin. It was also a switch back to a back three for manager Lee Min-sung, opting to go for the formation which served him well in the earlier part of last season.

There was just one senior player named on the bench in winger Kim Seung-seop. The rest had no more than a handful of first-team appearances between due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the squad which forced the club's B team to forfeit their K4 match the day before. 

Hosts Gimpo opted not to field former Daejeon midfielder Koo Bon-sang and were without the suspended Son Seok-yong who was dismissed in the 4-0 home loss to Chungnam Asan in midweek and so started with Jeong Ui-chan up top in his absence.

First Half

After some overnight snowfall in the capital area on Friday, it was a bright and relatively warm day on Sunday in Gimpo. Daejeon started the brightest of the two sides and were a goal up inside the first five minutes. 

Daejeon midfielder Lim Eun-soo went down in the box clutching his midriff and appeared to be in some pain after colliding with Gimpo's Park Kyung-rok. Initially, the referee was having none of it but was then persuaded to check VAR. It didn't take him long and the spot-kick was awarded.

6' GOAL! Up stepped Leandro and, after a steady run-up, he sent the goalkeeper the wrong way and gave the Purples a 6th-minute lead with what was his first goal for the club.

7' GOAL! But Daejeon's lead didn't last long as Choi Jae-hoon fired in from close range to level things up with seven minutes on the clock. Daejeon failed to clear their lines and Choi pounced on a loose ball in the box before firing in emphatically. The referee again consulted with the VAR official but the goal stood.

During the first 20 minutes, neither team were able to get themselves settled. Composure and concentration were issues for Daejeon while incision and was a bit lacking for Gimpo. 

Leandro staying furthest up the pitch and some 30 yards away from the nearest Daejeon player for Gimpo set pieces meant that the Purples always had an outlet should a turnover present itself. On another day the Brazilian might have had a goal from open play.

Daejeon, did, however, begin to find a bit of a rhythm and some nice one-touch passing between Min Jin-young, Lee Hyun-sik, Won Ki-jong and Leandro to move play over from left to right showed some signs of promise but no one wanted to take on the responsibility of shooting.

But then on 27 minutes, Daejeon were awarded another penalty. Han Jeong-woo was deemed to have pushed Won Ki-jong in the back, causing the Daejeon number 16 to go down.

GOAL! Leandro stepped up once more to once again send the goalkeeper Lee Sang-wook the wrong way. 

Manager Lee Min-sung's keyword from the first 30 minutes in terms of what instructions he was giving was simply "concentrate!" as he bellowed instructions from the touchline.

For the last 15 minutes of the first half, Daejeon did concentrate and saw it out to half time.

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Second Half

Gimpo flew out of the traps and came close to levelling almost straight after kick-off but Daejeon were able to clear and were in control for the most part.

And, much as the first half ended, the majority of the second half was a bit of a scrap with little quality from either team.

Cho Yu-min and his centre back colleagues had to be alert, particularly with high balls coming into the box. It was a more assured display for veteran centre back Kwon Han-jin too.

The best chance of the second period came via a Daejeon counter-attack in the 81st minute. Leandro broke free down the right and did well to play a teasing ball across to Kim Seung-seop who tried to steer the ball in at the back post but was thwarted by the right boot of Gimpo goalkeeper Lee Sang-wook.

That seemed to spark some life into the game as Gimpo came very close to equalising and had it not have been for Lim Deok-gun they almost certainly would have, the young centre back made a match-saving goal-line clearance kept the score at 2-1.

Just a minute later and Daejeon's 'keeper Lee Chang-geun was forced into action to deny from close range. Gimpo were encouraged and thought they should have had a penalty for handball too.

Shortly after, Lee Sang-wook's clearance made it to the edge of the box where it hit a Daejeon hand but instead, the flag went up for offside.

The last real bit of drama came in the 90th minute with Leandro bearing down on goal. The Brazilian was up-ended by the goalkeeper and required treatment.

Initially, it didn't appear as though the referee was going to award Daejeon anything but following a VAR review, the goalkeeper was sent off and the visitors were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box.

Outfield player Yang Jun-ah, who had only been on the pitch for a matter of minutes, put the gloves on to finish the game off as a makeshift goalkeeper. Or so it seemed because as soon as Yang had got himself into position, sub goalkeeper Song Min-hyuk came on and swapped places.

But the confusion didn't end there. Song had to run back to the halfway line to have the sub made properly before he could set up his wall for the freekick.

The resulting freekick lead to nothing except the full-time whistle being blown shortly after for Daejeon to pick up their first win of 2022. Gimpo, meanwhile, are still waiting for a first K League win at their new stadium.

Daejeon will, no doubt, be pleased with the win but they will know that performances will have to improve. Gimpo showed some good passages of play and caused Daejeon problems, especially towards the end of the second half when it was back to the walls stuff for the Purples.

Another positive was the two goals from Leandro. Both came from the spot but both were finished well and it took confidence to step up and take a second penalty in the same game. Up next for Daejeon is Gyeongnam at home on Saturday while Gimpo have Busan IPark away.

Post-match Comments 

Lee Min-sung: "Today, in what was a difficult situation, the players were determined to get the win. I am grateful to them for fighting so hard. Because we have that first win, what happens from now on is important.

"Leandro keeps getting better. All the players who came in today too put on a good display and I thought we'd get a goal from open play.

"But more than the performance, the focus today was to get the result. We got the result and so I am satisfied. 

"The teams we have faced this season have all put in physical displays against us. It's up to the referee to make the decisions. I am not saying it's ungentlemanly conduct but, first and foremost, in 50-50s, you have to fight for those together in football and that's what I told the players to do.

"We addressed some of the first half issues at halftime and the players did better in the second half. Today's game was all about the result rather than the performance. I think my players did well."


Cho Yu-min: "First of all, we are very pleased to get this first win. It's been a difficult start to the season and it has been a difficult situation off the pitch too. The players showed great motivation and worked hard to get our first win of the season in what was a difficult away game. I think this can be the turning point for us.

"I haven't been able to play for two games but I watched them both at home. The boys worked hard and so (as captain) was sorry I couldn't play, I was especially sorry to the manager. But I made sure I was ready to give 100% when I could return and I think the things we worked on came across well today. 

"Before the game, I said to my teammates that there's nothing else that needs to be said, we just have to show what we can do out on the pitch, and everyone did well. I thought we communicated well I prayed more than I had done in any other game for us to get that win. It was a win we simply had to get.

"We went ahead through the penalty fairly easily and we wanted to concentrate a bit more (afterwards) but it wasn't as easy as I thought and we conceded straight away. It was a fight and after we conceded I said that we just have to start again. We weren't losing and when a good opportunity comes we would be able to score. After this, we got through it and were able to get the win.

"The aim now is to keep a cleansheet. The atmosphere is good and to get wins like this is a good thing. Today's win and how we got it will be a big help to us."

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