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Flashback: Daejeon's Hana era began with victory three years ago this week

The Hana era at Daejeon truly began three years ago this week. On Saturday 9th May 2020, the new-look Daejeon began the pandemic-forced delayed season with a win 2-1 away to Suwon FC. 

Daejeon had originally been scheduled to face Gyeongnam FC at home on the opening day of the 2020 season but when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the league to start two months later and with fewer games, the Purples were then given an away trip to Suwon FC instead.

Recapping the Match Recap

An injury-time Park Yong-ji strike got Daejeon's Hana era off to a winning start, clinching the three points in a 2-1 victory. Led by decorated manager Hwang Sun-hong, Daejeon had to come from behind to pick up their opening day victory after André Luis had cancelled out An Byong-jun's free-kick before Park Yong-ji turned home a late, late winner. 

The hosts took the lead via a free-kick, once again taken by An Byong-jun but this time opting to keep his shot low and use the ample surface water to help guide the ball past Kim Dong-jun and into the Daejeon net with 17 minutes on the clock from way out.

With 35 minutes played, Daejeon would find their equaliser; Park In-hyeok and André combined to draw the Purples level thanks to a nice one-two just inside the box which played in André and, with the help of some fortuitous bobbles, the 23-year-old Brazilian calmly slipped the ball past Yoo Hyun in the Suwon goal. 

Four minutes of added time were announced by the fourth official but neither side could find a goal and the game ended as a stalemate. Or that was how it seemed until Park Yong-ji, with a huge helping hand from VAR, got the Hana era off to a winning start. The former Incheon and Sangju man turned home the winner after Lee Seul-chan had sent the ball across the penalty area. 


Earning that first win felt massive at the time as the pressure was already on for Daejeon to produce. But the 2020 season didn't end with Daejeon winning promotion - instead, it was runaway champions Jeju United and the Purples' opening-day opponents Suwon FC.

There was also a change of manager midway through the campaign with Hwang Sun-hong sacked with his team sitting in third in the table and after a 1-0 win over Bucheon. The season ended with Cho Min-gook in charge who oversaw the team being knocked out of the playoffs away to Gyeongnam FC.

The 2020 season seems like a lifetime ago now, lost in the haze of the pandemic when matches were played behind closed doors and much of the world was in lockdown or advised not to go outside. Daejeon's scattergun approach to the transfer market that year meant there were some hits but a lot of misses. In fact, for one reason or another, none of the players who featured in that game against Suwon FC, including the entire starting XI, are still with the club. However, Cho Yu-min, who captained Daejeon to promotion in 2022, started the match at the heart of Suwon FC's defense.

Cho Yu-min (centre) played the first Hana era game but for Suwon FC

Where are they now?

23. Kim Dong-jun

Kim Dong-jun is currently at Jeju United having made the switch from Citizen to Seogwipo in 2022. Injury hampered his time at Purple Arena and so he was limited to 35 appearances for Daejeon over two seasons and kept just five cleansheets. His last match was the 2021 playoff final loss to Gangwon.

16. Lee Kyu-ro

Full back Lee Kyu-ro has since retired from professional football but played for a few different clubs after leaving Daejeon in July 2021. The 2016 K League title winner turned out for Seoul E-Land, Pocheon Citizen, and Gimpo FC before hanging up his boots prior to the 2023 campaign. Despite arriving from FC Seoul, Lee played just 18 times for Daejeon and made one assist.

4. Lee Ji-sol

Lee Ji-sol is currently at Jeju United and was part of the two-for-three swap deal that saw himself and Kim Dong-jun move to the island with Lee Chang-geun, Kwon Han-jin, and Kim Young-wook heading the other way. Lee has struggled with injuries since leaving Daejeon and was limited to just 17 appearances last term and just one start. He played 78 times for Daejeon, scoring once.

33. Lee Woong-hee

Lee Ji-sol's centre back partner for much of the 2020 and 2021 campaigns was Lee Woong-hee. He has also since left Daejeon and was part of the post-Gangwon playoff clearout two winters ago. Lee actually then joined Gangwon FC to link up with Choi Yong-soo who he had worked with at FC Seoul. Lee has played just 11 times for Gangwon and six times for their B team.

13. Lee Seul-chan (A)

Right back Lee Seul-chan, who was credited with the assist for the match-winning goal, is currently on the books of K4 side Goeje Citizen. It isn't so much a fall from grace, rather that the former Jeonnam man is fulfilling his military service and to do that as a civil servant, players have to play for a K4 team. Lee was with Goyang KH last term but the team's K4 title win and subsequent promotion meant he had to leave. He left Daejeon in 2021 for Gimpo Citizen (now Gimpi FC) when they were in K3 before then embarking on military service.

14. Cho Jae-cheol (c)

Captaining Daejeon for the first win over the Hana era was midfielder Cho Jae-cheol. Cho spent just one season with Daejeon before leaving for then-K3 side Cheonan City in January 2021. He spent two years with the Chungcheong Province side before hanging up his boots at the age of 36. There had been some suggestion that Cho had got into scouting after retirement.

15. Park Jin-seop

Midfielder Park Jin-seop is currently with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and won the FA Cup with the Green Warriors last season. Injuries to some of Jeonbuk's senior centre backs have meant that Park has been asked to slot into a back three by Kim Sang-sik, a role that he fulfilled with aplomb while with Daejeon in 2021. He spent two seasons with Daejeon and was captain when the Purples made it to the playoff final in his last season.

11. Kim Seung-seop

Kim Seung-seop is currently with Jeju United having made the move from Daejeon after the 2022 season. His last act as a Daejeon player was to come off the bench and score Daejeon's fourth in the 4-0 promotion playoff final second leg away to Gimcheon Sangmu. Overall, Kim Seung-seop made 125 appearances for Daejeon, scoring 16, and assisting 15.

10. André Luis 

André Luis spent the 2020 season on loan at Daejeon before returning to parent club Corinthians. He remained in Brazil right up until the winter of 2023 when he signed for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. In 28 appearances for Daejeon, André Luis scored 14 goals and assisted three.

17. Park In-hyeok (A)

Park In-hyeok is currently in K4 with Goyang Happiness as part of his military service. He left Daejeon just before the start of the 2022 season to join Jeonnam Dragons and even scored in the AFC Champions League group stage that year, bagging the second in a 2-0 Dragons win over United City. His last appearance for Daejeon was off the bench in the 2021 playoff final against Gangwon. That was his 101st outing for the Purples overall, throughout which he scored 17 and assisted six.

9. Bruno Baio

After a red-hot half a season with Jeonnam Dragons in 2019, Daejeon Hana Citizen plumped for Bruno Baio has their number nine. He stayed with the club until the end of the 2021 season but has since returned to his native Brazil, signing for Ypiranga-RS in the third tier. Baio didn't score many for Daejeon but he scored some important goals, including a brace in the playoff semifinal away to FC Anyang in October 2021.


29. Jeong Hee-woong

Attacking midfielder Jeong Hee-woong came off the bench for Park In-hyeok in the 69th minute. Jeong is currently in K4 with Seoul Jungnang as part of his military service. He was with Goyang KH last year, along with Lee Seul-chan, but due to their promotion to K3 meant he had to find another team.

19. Park Yong-ji ⚽

The match-winner Park Yong-ji came off the bench in the 69th minute to replace Kim Seung-seop. He only stayed with Daejeon for one season before rejoining Seongnam FC in 2022. Park has since been released and is currently without a club.

28. Kim Se-yun

Attacking midfielder Kim Se-yun came on for an eight-minute cameo, replacing Bruno Baio with 82 minutes on the clock. Tipped to be a real star of the future, Kim Se-yun is currently with Cheonan City where he joined from Gyeongnam FC prior to the start of the 2022 season.

Unused substitutes: 1. Park Ju-won, 3 Hwang Jae-hun, 42 Lee Jung-moon, 41 Gong Yong-hun

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