Jeonbuk Hyundai, who seemed to be on the rise after the arrival of their new coach, have begun to stumble again. Their plans to go into the A-Match break on a high note have come to an end. Given that the Asian Champions League (ACL) schedule begins in earnest after the break, the team will need to bounce back with solid preparation.
Jeonbuk played Jeju United to a goalless 0-0 draw in the 29th round of the Hana OneQ K League 2023 at Jeju World Cup Stadium on March 3. With 43 points, Jeonbuk failed to move up from fifth place.
Jeonbuk lost at Gwangju FC in June, their first game since Dan Petrescu took over as head coach. However, the team seemed to finally get back on track with five wins (and one draw) in seven official matches, starting with a sweep of Gwangju in the Korean Football Association (FA) Cup.
But the momentum has since faded like a lie. Starting with a 1-1 draw against Samsung Electronics in Suwon on August 12, the team fell into a severe slump with three draws in their last four matches. At one point, they were in a position to challenge for second place, but now it’s virtually impossible.
Petrescu has said since his arrival that he wants to play attacking soccer. But when you take away the points he’s earned and focus on the game, you have to wonder if it’s working. Jeonbuk hasn’t scored more than two goals in a game in any of their 11 league games since Petrescu’s arrival. The only time they scored four goals was against Gwangju FC in the FA Cup quarterfinals, and that was largely due to Gwangju coach Lee Jung-hyo rotating his lineup ahead of the weekend’s match against Ulsan Hyundai.
Despite their recent slump, Jeonbuk’s defense remains strong, boasting the fewest goals conceded in the league (25). Ultimately, Jeonbuk needs its offense to come alive. Their 34 team goals are seventh in the league. This is an uncharacteristic ranking for Jeonbuk.
With Cho Kyu-sung (Meatwillan) moving on to Europe, Jeonbuk is relying on the likes of Hapa Silva, Gustavo, 카지노 and Park Jae-yong to fill the void. But let’s be honest, they’re not doing their job. The only Jeonbuk players who have scored in their last four games are flankers like Song Min-kyu and Han Kyowon. The fact that the team’s top scorers are Moon Sun-min and Song Min-gyu, who have six goals apiece, shows how weak Jeonbuk’s front line has been this season. Given that Cho Kyu-sung was likely to leave within the year, Jeonbuk should have had a solid plan in place for him, but all they did was bring in Park Jae-yong from the K League 2.
You can’t put all the blame on Petrescu, who took over in the middle of the season. However, Jeonbuk is also running out of time. Jeonbuk will start their ACL schedule on September 20 against Kitchee FC (Hong Kong). The tight schedule of juggling both the league and ACL will be the real test for Jeonbuk. While winning the league has become virtually impossible, the FA Cup and ACL are competitions that Jeonbuk cannot afford to take lightly. Jeonbuk’s troubles are getting deeper.