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Looking back on Daejeon Hana Citizen's first win with Park In-hyeok, Bruno Baio, and Lee Kyu-ro

The Hana era began for Daejeon Citizen three years ago this week. The Purples began the 2020 campaign with a 2-1 away win over Suwon FC on Saturday 9th May that year and some players have revealed that they were very nervous, while others say it was business as usual. K League United looks back on the occasion with Park In-hyeok, Bruno Baio, and Lee Kyu-ro who recount what it was like to play in that match.

Football behind closed doors during the pandemic seems like a lifetime ago. The 2020 season began late and for Daejeon fans, it began away to Suwon FC who will have been watching from home, nervously as their new-look club began life as Daejeon Hana Citizen. I was probably the only Daejeon fan in the stadium that day and so consider myself very fortunate to be part of a historic day for the club.

In the history books will be the players who took to the field that afternoon, all 14 of them including the three substitutes. K League United spoke to three who started, namely Park In-hyeok, Bruno Baio, and Lee Kyu-ro, to find out what it was like and what they remember the most.

Park In-hyeok

Park In-hyeok (far right) celebrates after assisting Andre Luis (second left)
Forward Park In-hyeok, currently with Goyang Happiness in K4 for military service, arrived at Daejeon in the spring of 2018 and so was one of the few Citizen-era players to start the match against Suwon FC. Castle Park was also a happy hunting ground for Park as it was the very stadium where he scored his first K League goals, a brace in a 2-1 win over Suwon in April 2018. 

Park teed up André Luis to make it 1-1 10 minutes before the interval:

"Yes, I got the assist for André's goal. It rained a lot that day and it was the first game after the club was refounded so I remember that I was very nervous.

"First of all, it was an honour to start and play in Daejeon's first match after the club was refounded. I don't think I performed that well but it was good that I got the assist for Andre's goal.

"Because we had prepared very well during pre-season, all the players felt confident more than any pressure.

"Any team who goes a goal down looks to make up for it as soon as possible. Luckily, the equaliser came early and I think making good use of that feeling was a factor in us getting the win.

"I don't remember exactly when the coach announced the team but I remember being really determined to do well in the game. It's always important to perform well but as this was the first game, I really wanted to be of help to the team. I was hoping for a transfer away from the club at the time, but when I heard that Hwang Sun-hong was going to be appointed, I decided to stay at Daejeon Hana Citizen so I could learn from him.

"As always, with every game you want to score and contribute to a win [so] it was a huge honour [to get an assist]. I'm not a Daejeon player anymore but whichever team I play for, I just want to win and be contributing."

Bruno Baio

Baio (centre) tussles with current Daejeon centre back Cho Yu-min

Up top as Hwang Sun-hong's number nine was Brazilian striker Bruno Baio who was making his Daejeon debut. 

"I remember that it was a very special day, the players were very excited with the beginning of the season and with the beginning of a new Daejeon Hana era. There is always pressure to win the games and it wasn’t different that day, we really wanted to start the championship with a win and we also wanted to start well this new phase of the club. 

"I felt very happy, it was my first game at the club and I was really nervous because I wanted to play really well to help the team achieve their first win with the new name. I was very anxious to score in that game, it was my debut, it was Daejeon’s restart with the new name, therefore, I was really nervous in the game to be able to score and cement myself even more in Daejeon’s history.

"I knew I would start in that game, we trained all week with the team who would start the game. Our team was already in tune and that’s why we won the game."

Lee Kyu-ro

Lee Kyu-ro (third right) is all smiles following the win over Suwon FC

Left back Lee Kyu-ro was another debutant on that rainy day in early May 2020, one of seven plus centre back Lee Woong-hee who was making his first start since re-signing for the Purples. His arrival was announced on the day of Daejeon's official re-foundation along with a whole host of others. 

At the time it felt like a must-win game for Daejeon and the club had to get off to a good start given the media and fan attention due to the Hana takeover. But Lee says that he didn't feel any more pressure than usual:

"More than the pressure to win, I think professional players definitely want to win, and I don't think anyone goes into the stadium with the thought of losing. And I think we should do our best because there are fans who cheer us on. It was so nice to play in a team that had big expectations and so I had a sense of responsibility but I don't remember exactly when the manager told me as a senior play when I was going to be starting the game."

Lee says that there were a lot of expectations placed on Daejeon following the takeover and that it was meaningful for him to be involved in this first match against Suwon FC:

"What I remember the most is that I was a founding member of the team and so to be able to play in that game was meaningful."


Lee Kyu-ro spent 18 months at Daejeon before departing for Seoul E-Land. He has since retired but says he sometimes keeps in touch with some of the players at Daejeon:

 "I do from time to time speak to some of the younger players and I am friendly with (Cho) Jae-cheol, (Kim) Keun-bae, (Koo) Bon-sang, and (Kim) Jin-young. I see them quite often."

Special thanks to Park In-hyeok, Bruno Baio, and Lee Kyu-ro for their time as well as KLU's Diogo Valente for the Portuguese translation.


Post-match Analysis

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