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One Out Of Nine, Lee Ki-hyung Out After Three

 


With one point after three games into the 2024 K League 2 season, Seongnam´s board has decided to part ways with head coach Lee Ki-hyung. Some questions can be made, one of them being: "Was this the best decision?" Time will tell.

START OF THE 2024 K LEAGUE 2 SEASON

Seongnam started the 2024 season away from home against Anyang and Lee Ki-hyung surprised everyone by opting for a 4-2-3-1 (4-4-2 double pivots) with a clear gameplan of dominate the ball possession and using a high block as well as a high-pressure to get the ball back as soon as they lost it. A lot of new players made their debut in a Seongnam shirt but, unfortunately, the final result was decided after a goal inside the 2nd-minute mark and by a notable mistake by the goalkeeper Yu Sng-hun right before half-time. 

In the second match, this one at home against Ansan Greeners, Seongnam also played in the 4-2-3-1, and the gameplan was pretty much the same, a high defensive line and aggressive pressure. Still, the team lacked quality in the transition defense and ended up conceding three goals in a 1-3 loss.



After two games without picking any points, Lee Ki-hyung decided to go back to the tactic he used all year long in the 2023 season, the 3-4-3. Against Cheonan, The Magpies played a less aggressive type of football and shared, more or less, the possession with Cheonan. Leonardo Ruiz made his debut for Seongnam.


THE REASONS BEHIND THE DECISION TO SACK LEE KI-HYUNG

Seongnam's board made it very clear, and public, before the start of the season that the main objective was to get promoted and they would try to increase the quality of foreign signings.

After those statements, Seongnam had a good transfer window with a lot of K League players coming in, especially from Gangwon, one of those being Alibaev who has yet to feature in a game for Seongnam. Denilson and Patrick left the club and the only foreigners in the squad were Manzinga, Gabriel, and Alibaev but, once again, the board backed their own words with actions and Seongnam went to sign a marquee player on Leonardo Ruiz from a Portuguese first division team, Rio Ave. 

Transfers between Portuguese clubs and Korean clubs have been increasing as of late but Leonardo Ruiz to Seongnam is an enormous statement signing because it's not every day people see a K League 2 team signing a player from the top division of the Portuguese football pyramid. 


Looking at the statements made by the board, it is not surprising to see them making the decision to part ways with Lee Ki-hyung, after all, one point out of nine possible and dead last on the table isn't good enough.

WHAT IS AHEAD FOR SEONGNAM FC?

The position on the table is precarious and the lack of options to become Seongnam's next manager are two difficult situations to resolve but it's way too early in the season to quit on anything, The Magpies have a strong squad with an interesting core of foreigner players alongside K League experience from some veteran players. Promotion is still an achievable objective but a big turnaround is needed to take "the sleeping giants" back to the K League.

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