They’re on a roll.

Professional soccer team Gwangju FC is in third place with 13 wins, 9 draws, and 8 losses (48 points) through 30 rounds of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023. The team is unbeaten in 10 matches (5 wins and 5 draws), including a recent three-game winning streak.

This is the effect of head coach Lee Jung-hyo (48). A one-club man for the Daegu Royals, the predecessor of Busan IPark, Lee retired in 2008 after 222 games. He then began coaching at his alma mater, Ajou University, where he was named head coach in 2013. He then moved to the professional ranks and coached at Gwangju FC, Seongnam FC, and Jeju United before taking over at Gwangju last year. In his first year in charge, the team won 25 games, drew 11 and lost 4, setting a record for the fastest time to win the title in K League 2 history and earning promotion.

Despite bombing up the K League 2 ladder, Gwangju didn’t have high expectations. As a civic club, it is difficult to invest a lot of money at once. They were labeled as relegation favorites. Nevertheless, Lee declared, “We will play attacking soccer even if it is reckless.” After a strong start to the season, it looked like the fears were coming true when the team went seven games without a win in April and May.

But Lee found a solution by analyzing his opponents more thoroughly. During their upswing, they caught leaders Ulsan Hyundai and even managed a win over their nemesis FC Seoul, who had drawn two and lost seven of their previous nine meetings. The team hasn’t backed down from any of its opponents, but it hasn’t neglected its defense either. Gwangju is tied with Jeonbuk Hyundai for the fewest goals conceded in the league with 28 in 30 games. They are fifth in goals scored with 42. They have one of the best offensive and defensive balances in the league.

The team has also produced a number of national team players. Lee Soon-min earned his first cap for the national team in the September A match. Jung Ho-yeon made the team for the Hangzhou Asian Games, while Uhm Ji-sung and Heo Yul are preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympics. “My goal is to get players to the Asian Games, the Olympics and the national team,” Lee said before the season, and it’s paying off.안전놀이터

The club is looking to qualify for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) for the first time in its history. They’ve already surpassed their previous club record of 47 points set in 2016. Now it’s time to set our sights on the top spot. Gwangju’s previous best finish was sixth in 2020. That was the club’s first Final A (1-6) appearance. If they maintain their current position, they’ll book their first ever ACL ticket. It’s not out of the question if they keep up the good work at the end of the season.

“It’s still too early to talk about season goals. We have a lot of work to do with the players to fill in the gaps,” he vowed.

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