All teams go through big and small crises during a season. K-League 1 (Part 1) Gwangju FC has not been able to accumulate a number of wins recently, and has stood at a crossroads of ‘the limit of a promoted team’ and ‘overcoming adversity’.
Gwangju lost 1-3 to FC Seoul in the 12th round away match on the 9th, and has drawn 5 games in a row (2 draws and 3 losses). Before the Seoul game, the performance was not too bad against Gangwon FC (0-0 draw) – Jeju United (0-1 loss) – Ulsan Hyundai (1-2 loss) – Daejeon Hana Citizen (0-0 draw). However, the match against Seoul was not able to bring both performance and results, so a sense of crisis lingers. Gwangju coach Lee Jung-hyo said, “(Our team) faced a crisis. I am worried that the players will die,” he said.
The midterm report card of 8th place in the first season of promotion (14 points, 4 wins, 2 draws, 6 losses) is in compliance, but considering the momentum at the beginning of the season, it is regrettable. The recent intensifying competition for mid-ranking in the K-League 1 is bad news for Gwangju. Jeonbuk Hyundai, which once fell to 10th place, rose to 7th place (14 points), and Suwon FC, which survived the K-League 1 for the third season, is in 6th place (15 points). Five teams, including 10th place Incheon United (12 points) and 6th place Suwon FC, which are at the bottom of the relegation zone, are competing within 3 points. 안전놀이터
Gwangju struggles with scoring problems. During the 5 match winless streak, only 2 goals were scored. It is largely because Asani (Albania, 4 goals), the team’s top scorer, has been silent for about two months since his hat-trick against Incheon on March 18 (5-0 win). Recently, colorful players such as Asani, Heo Yul, and Sandro are mainly used in the second half to arrange physical strength, but on days when replacement cards do not play their role, the game plan is twisted.
Considering that promoted teams in the past collapsed due to defensive anxiety, Gwangju’s defensive power is a hope factor. It ranked 7th in the league with the least goals allowed (15 goals) and ranked 4th among the 8 teams that have been promoted in the past 5 seasons based on the 12th round. Among the 1st to 3rd places, Jeju United (8 runs) in the 2021 season, Gimcheon Sangmu (13 runs) in the 2022 season, and Seongnam FC (14 runs) in the 2019 season, Jeju and Seongnam succeeded in remaining in the first division. If the firepower is revived, you can look beyond the residual and beyond.