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April 2023 K League Newsletter

league 2023.05.07   I   hits 779

The 100th Super Match

Saturday, April 22nd, saw FC Seoul take on Suwon Samsung Bluewings in what was to be a historic 100th K League Super Match between the pair in front of an attendance just over 30,000.

Entering the clash in underwhelming form, and having parted ways with their manager in the week leading up to the clash, Suwon Samsung Bluewings were in additional need of the three points to bounce back.

Unfortunately, despite the changes, things were not to go Suwon's way. It was FC Seoul’s Na Sang-ho who netted in the 37th minute of the first half from the inside of the penalty box. It then only took eight minutes in the second half for FC Seoul’s Hwang Ui-jo to double the lead by pouncing onto a loose ball in the box following a Ki Sung-yueng corner. Midfielder Paločević then scored the third FC Seoul goal after a parried shot from Suwon keeper Yang Hyun-mo. In the final minutes of the second half, Fejsal Mulić scored his first goal of the season to pull a goal back for Suwon but it proved merely a consolation.

Na Sang-ho made no secret of his desire to be the top scorer in K League 1 and his goal against bitter rivals Suwon contributed to reaching his personal goal. With seven goals in ten matches, Na Sang-ho is the leading top scorer after two months of K League 1.

An End-to-End East Coast Derby

Elsewhere on the same weekend of the Super Match, the first East Coast Derby of the year between Ulsan Hyundai and Pohang Steelers was taking place. At the time, both teams occupied first and second position in the League and were also looking for wins after Ulsan’s 2-1 loss against Daejeon and Pohang’s 1-1 draw against FC Seoul.

The difference between Ulsan (18 points) and Pohang (15 points) was only three. Therefore, the attention was focused on whether Ulsan would run away with a six points difference, or Pohang would open up the title race.

Pohang's first goal came early. In the 13th minute of the first half, youngster Go Young-jun opened the score for Ulsan with a left-footed shot after a great opening pass by Sim Sang-min. 10 minutes into the second half, it was again Go Young-jun who scored. This time with a long-range shot to make it a comfortable 0-2 lead for Pohang.

However, Pohang were only able to enjoy the comfortable lead for six minutes since Ulsan’s Joo Min-kyu scored the chasing goal following a corner kick. Ulsan’s Vako Qazaishvili then scored a dramatic equalizer in the closing minutes of the game to secure at a point in their title race and to maintain their three-point gap at the summit.

Lars Veldwijk Leading the Suwon FC Turnaround

After claiming the MVP award for Round 6 after Suwon FC’s 5-3 victory over Daejeon Hana Citizen and then being included in the league's Best 11 for Round 7 after a thrilling 1-0 win over Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, April was certainly quite a month for Lars Veldwijk.

It was Daejeon who went into the dressing room at halftime with a 0-2 lead. Little did they know that Veldwijk was going to put on a first-class performance in the second half. It only took nine minutes for Suwon FC to pull one back with an assist from the Bafana-bafana striker. However, five minutes later, Daejeon scored to restore their two-goal lead. 

With 30 minutes left, Suwon FC needed a hero to turn things around. It was Lars Veldwijk who scored a brace to bring proceedings level at 3-3. With only ten minutes left, Suwon would score two more goals to secure the win with a 5-3 result. In the post-match interview, Veldwijk gave credit to his teammates, saying: “I'm more pleased with Suwon FC being selected as best team of the round than me winning the MVP award.”

One week later, Suwon FC played Jeonbuk in what resulted in a 1-0 win for Suwon FC. The only goal of the game was scored by Veldwijk in the 27th minute which resulted in him featuring in K League’s best 11 of Round 7. The striker finished the month of April with four goals and three assists for the campaign so far.

April Interviews: Chungbuk Cheongju midfielder Peter Makrillos

[On Chungbuk Cheongju's direction]

"Well, from what I've seen, they got the right people working in there. And things were good when I came here, I was looked after really, really well. Not only me, but my family as well and they made things really comfortable. That for me was a really good sign from the beginning. And obviously when, when we were in negotiations and they were wanting to bring me in they were really, really keen on bringing me in. So, yeah, it just showed really good signs from the beginning. And being the first foreign player in the history of the club to sign is a real privilege so that's another thing that inspired me to come."

"...there's no pressure right now on the club to go fight for promotion. You know, it's more just to get their feet moving and making sure everything's set up for the long term. 'Cause I think this club, long term, is gonna be very, very successful here in Korea."

"I do know long term their plan is to be in K1 eventually and so I would love to be a part of that, you know? So like I said, I've come here not only for the short term, one season, I'm here thinking long term and I would like to be here maybe for the rest of my career. It's exciting."

Read the full interview on K League.com