The June A-Match break is over. K League 1 is back in action with Round 19.
Two of the 12 managers have been replaced since Round 18. Jeonbuk Hyundai parted ways with Kim Sang-sik and Gangwon FC parted ways with Choi Yong-soo. Both Jeonbuk and Gangwon are looking to turn things around with new managers. Jeonbuk, which climbed up the standings under acting coach Kim Doo-hyun, will look to rebound under Dan Petrescu, while Gangwon, which is in the relegation zone, will look to rebound under Yoon Jung-hwan.
Jeonbuk is in fifth place with 27 points after 18 rounds with eight wins, three draws and seven losses. They are 17 points behind leaders Ulsan Hyundai (44 points). Before Kim Doo-hyun’s departure, the team posted five wins, two draws, and one loss. While the gap to Ulsan is large, they are only four points behind the second-place Pohang Steelers (31 points).
Jeonbuk began searching for a new coach after parting ways with Kim Sang-sik and hired Romanian coach Petrescu. Director Park Ji-sung and technical advisor Roberto Di Matteo were among those who made the move. Petrescu has extensive experience in the Asian stage, including Qatar (Al Arabi), China (Jiangsu Suning), and the UAE (Al Nasr).
He was a good fit for Jeonbuk’s Dakgong program. Jeonbuk has scored 22 goals in 18 games this year. That’s tied for seventh out of 12 clubs.
Petrescu’s debut opponent is Gwangju FC. They were promoted this year, but they are no pushovers. They have 7 wins, 4 draws, 7 losses, 25 points, and are in 8th place, but they are unbeaten in their last five games (3 wins, 2 draws). In their first meeting, in the third round, Jeonbuk won 2-0.
Gangwon is in 11th place with 2 W, 6 D, 10 L, 12 points. They are three points behind last-place Suwon Samsung (9 points) and six points behind 10th-place Suwon FC (18 points). The decision is made. The club parted ways with Choi Yong-soo, who led Gangwon to a dramatic stay in 2021 and a sixth-place finish last year. 메이저놀이터
Gangwon’s choice was Yoon Jeong-hwan. Yoon has proven himself as a coach in Japan, but not in the K League. At the helm of Ulsan, he finished seventh in 2015 and fourth in 2016.
Yoon prioritized ‘finding confidence’. He said, “If you say that the defense has been going backwards, we need to fight back without dropping down. Confidence is also down. We need to improve our psychology first.”
Yoon’s debut for Gangwon will be against Suwon FC. It is a matchup of the lowest scoring team (11 goals) and the highest conceded team (36 goals). It will also be interesting to see if Yoon uses U-20 World Cup Bronze Ball winner Lee Seung-won to unlock the attack.