Friday, 1 March 2013

2013 Season Set to Start

by Liam Birch

Daejeon Citizen will kick off their 2013 K-League Classic season tomorrow afternoon at Daejeon World Cup Stadium.

What's Changed?

It's been all change at the Purple Arena over winter, with a number of high profile comings and goings leaving Daejeon fans little clue as to what to expect from the team this campaign. Most notably, head coach and Korean football legend Yoo Sang-Chul has been replaced with the little known Kim In-Wan. Kim acted as assistant coach at the Busan I'Park team that had a very successful 2012 campaign. This is however, his first job as head coach.



Daejeon fans have also seen a wholesale change in playing staff too. Last season's top scorer Kevin Oris has left to join Jeonbuk Hyundai, whilst his attacking partner in crime Kim Hyung-Bum has joined Gyeongnam. Daejeon are understood to have received around $500,000 for Oris, whilst Kim was only on a one year loan deal. 

Daejeon have however reacted quickly to replace Oris by signing 24 year old Brazilian forward Joao Paulo from Gwangju FC. The striker impressed last season, scoring 8 goals, but ultimately failed to stop Gwangju from slipping down to the second tier. 

Fans will hope to see more of this from Joao Paulo

Former club favorite Jeong Sung-Hoon has also returned to the Purple Arena, after originally leaving at the end of the 2007 season. Jeong has played 8 times for the South Korea national team and will offer a significant attacking threat from set pieces given that he stands an intimidating 6 foot 3 inches tall. 

Jeong playing for Citizen in 2007

Daejeon's final key signing is probably the most important. Taking the advice of the departing Kevin Oris, Citizen have snapped up Antwerp captain Karel de Smet. The defender has been dubbed one of the best in Belgium and brings considerable strength and experience to a relatively weak Daejeon defence. 

'The Beast' Karel de Smet

Daejeon have also managed to keep hold of several key players including Kim Byeong-Seok, Baba Yuta and Kim Tae-Yeon. 

Daejeon Citizen vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (Sunday March 3rd 2013 - 4PM)

Citizen face an incredibly tough opening fixture against perennial title challengers Jeonbuk this Sunday. Having strengthened considerably over the winter, Jeonbuk are many pundits' favorites to win the league this season. 

Attention will also be given to the fact that Kevin Oris will make his K-League debut for Jeonbuk against the team for who he scored 16 goals last season. The battle between Oris and de Smet will be fascinating, considering that the two are good friends.

Oris scores for Jeonbuk in their midweek ACL match.

Choi Eun Sung, Daejeon goalkeeping legend is also likely to feature in the Jeonbuk line up that surely looks too strong for Citizen to contend with. Most Citizen fans will surely be delighted to gain a point out of this fixture. 

The game kicks off at 4PM, Sunday at Daejeon World Cup Stadium. 

Foreign supporters are encouraged to meet outside the GS25 near the South Stand or at TGI Friday in Dunsan for pre-game drinks. 

Friday, 1 February 2013

2013 Fixtures Announced

by Liam Birch

Daejeon Citizen have announced their pre-split fixtures for the 2013 K-League Classic campaign.

The first fixture throws up an intriguing contest between Daejeon and Jeonbuk Hyundai. The game will be notable for being ex-Daejeon striker Kevin Oris's first game for his new club, ironically against the team that he left at the end of last season. Jeonbuk also boast Citizen legend Choi Eun-Song as part of their squad, in what will also be the veteran goalkeeper's first return to the Purple Arena as an opposing player.

The full fixtures are below.


3rd (Sun. 4PM) Daejeon Citizen vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
9th (Sat. 2PM) Pohang Steelers vs Daejeon Citizen
16th (Sat. 2PM) Daejeon Citizen vs Jeju Utd
31st (Sun. 4PM) Incheon Utd vs Daejeon Citizen


7th (Sun. 2PM) Daejeon Citizen vs Gyeongnam
13th (Sat. 3PM) Chunnam Dragons vs Daejeon Citizen
17th (Wed. 7.30PM) Daejeon Citizen vs Ulsan Hyundai Tigers
20th (Sat. 2PM) Daejeon Citizen vs Suwon Samsung Bluewings
28th (Sun. 2PM) Busan I'Park vs Daejeon Citizen


5th (Sun. 2PM) Gangwon vs Daejeon Citizen
11th (Sat. 4PM) Daejeon Citizen vs FC Seoul
19th (Sun. 3PM) Daegu vs Daejeon Citizen
25th (Sat. 4PM) Daejeon Citizen vs Seongnam Ilhwa


26th (Wed. 8PM) Gyeongnam vs Daejeon Citizen
30th (Sun. 5PM) Daejeon Citizen vs Chunnam Dragons


6th (Sat. 5PM) Daejeon Citizen vs Busan I'Park
13th (Sat. 5PM) Ulsan Hyundai Tigers vs Daejeon Citizen
31st (Wed. 7.30PM) Daejeon Citizen vs Incheon Utd


4th (Sun. 7PM) Seongnam Ilhwa vs Daejeon Citizen
11th (Sun. 6PM) Daejeon Citizen vs Pohang Steelers
17th (Sat. 7PM) FC Seoul vs Daejeon Citizen
24th (Sat. 7PM) Daejeon Citizen vs Gangwon
28th (Wed. 7.30PM) Daejeon Citizen vs Daegu


1st (Sun. 3PM) Jeju Utd vs Daejeon Citizen

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Incheon Utd Fans Exposed

I've been thinking about whether or not to write about the goings on at last week's game all week. For a start, the events that unfolded certainly do not show Daejeon Citizen fans in a particularly positive light. That said, the mainstream media coverage of the event has been so biased and in some cases downright untrue, that I feel that someone has to set the record straight.

As most of you will know, after the conclusion of the Incheon Utd vs Daejeon Citizen game last Saturday (which Incheon won 2-1), there was a considerable amount of violence. The media would have you believe that this was entirely down to Daejeon fans being sore losers and taking out their frustrations on anything which stood in their way. As I will hope to document, this is not entirely correct.

The mainstream media narrative of events is something like this:

1. Daejeon fans were vandalising the stadium.

2. The Incheon mascot came over to calm the situation down and urge fans to go home.

3. 2 Daejeon fans ran onto the field of play and attacked the mascot.

4. Daejeon fans started fighting with Incheon fans.

I cannot stress enough just how much of a blatant misrepresentation of events that this is.

Let's start with the issue of the mascot. Prior to the arrival of the mascot in front of the Daejeon fans there was no violence. This is a fact. Rather than coming over to the Daejeon fans in a purely benevolent way, the mascot was clearly and demonstrably goading them. Rather than going to celebrate their victory with the home fans, the mascot made an obvious attempt to start celebrating in front of the away fans. This picture below, taken from a mainstream media source, shows the mascot waving his flag and gesturing to the Citizen fans.

Does this excuse the actions of the two Daejeon supporters? Obviously not. However, the truth of the matter is that the trouble was started by the idiotic actions of the man dressed in a bird suit.

Now, it has also been reported that Daejeon fans were fighting with security guards. This is also a lie. The security team were, quite rightly I might add, dealing with the two Daejeon fans on the pitch. They indeed did put up a small level of resistance, but in no way can this be construed as 'Daejeon fans attacking security guards', as most media are reporting.

Whilst the attack on the mascot seems to be generating most of the attention, the ambush attack from behind by Incheon fans that took place afterwards has been entirely ignored. Why would this be so? Whatever the reason, the actions of the Incheon Utd supporters have been fully documented on video and in photographs.

Notice that almost all of the people in this photo are wearing blue, the colour of Incheon Utd. Video of the event is obtainable easily on Naver.

In this photo, I have pointed out an Incheon fan who is amongst the sizeable number who are causing trouble. This gentleman is important. He is a member of an Incheon Ultras group called 'Alcoholic Ultras'.

This next photo shows what the 'Alcoholic Ultras' were doing before the game.

Notice that there is not just beer, but also wine, Jaegermeister and what looks like another hard liquor being poured into one of the orange cups.

And surprise, surprise, who should be at the head of this little party?

Yes, our good friend Mr. Alcoholic Ultra.

It is my hope that this has presented a more accurate view of what transpired this last Saturday. If the media were being honest and doing their jobs correctly, they would present the facts something like this:

1. The mascot of Incheon Utd goaded the away fans with offensive gestures

2. Two Daejeon fans attacked the mascot.

3. Drunk Incheon fans known as 'The Alcoholic Ultras' ambushed the Daejeon fans by coming into the away section and causing trouble.

Monday, 19 March 2012

FC Seoul 2 - 0 Daejeon Citizen

by Liam Birch at Seoul World Cup Stadium

A poor second half performance coupled with lacklustre defending condemned Daejeon to a third straight defeat in the 2012 K-League.

Daejeon Citizen travelled to the capital as firm underdogs. The hosts had not lost at home in the league for over a year. Even more depressing was the fact that Daejeon had not beaten Seoul in the last seventeen encounters, a run stretching way back to 2004.

This was then a daunting task for Citizen, but as the first half progressed, it seemed that Daejeon were holding their own. Indeed, neither side created anything of note in a dreadful spectacle of a first half which was played almost entirely in the midfield, with both sides unable to string more than two passes together. Of the two sides, Seoul certainly looked the most threatening, but goalkeeper Choi Hyeon was rarely troubled. If the Daejeon keeper was having an easy time, his Seoul counterpart could have been absent, such was the lack of a goal threat provided by a Daejeon side who seemed happy to frustrate Seoul and try to grind out a goalless draw.

Both Daejeon and Seoul were lucky to still have 11 players on the pitch at half time following an incident between Citizen captain Lee Ho and Seoul forward Dejan. From an FC Seoul corner, Seoul's Montenegrin international was clearly tugging at Lee's shirt. Lee reacted by swinging a fist at the Seoul player, who in turn kicked out at the Citizen captain. The referee showed both players yellow cards, much to the frustration of the clearly upset Lee.

One feature of Daejeon this season has been a poorer second half showing, and this trait reared it's ugly head once again here.

On 52 minutes, Seoul won a free kick at least 40 yards out by the right-hand touchline. Colombian international Molina floated a dangerous looking cross into the area which the Daejeon defenders conspired to completely miss, taking goalkeeper Choi by surprise, and ending up in Choi's top right hand corner. It was a shambolic goal to concede after some good defensive work in the first period. Both defenders and goalkeeper should take a share of the blame for completely switching off and for the obvious lack of communication within the defence.

Molina scores his, and Seoul's first goal.

With Seoul ahead, the task now seemed even more impossible for a Citizen team which has failed to score a single goal this year. With the need to get back on level terms, Daejeon desperately needed to push forward and put Seoul under some pressure, but unfortunately it never happened. Daejeon struggled with their passing the entire afternoon and could not supply Kevin Oris, again playing as a lone striker, with any sort of ammunition whatsoever. The Belgian forward had rare sights of goal, but was so isolated with no support arriving from the wings or midfield, that invariably potential chances came to nothing.

FC Seoul thought they had made it 2-0 midway through the second half, only for the linesman to rule the effort out for offside, although the person in charge of the fireworks obviously wasn't aware of the decision, and comically set them off just as Daejeon were restarting play.

The comic relief for Daejeon fans was short lived however, when on 79 minutes, Molina put the result beyond doubt, grabbing his, and Seoul's second of the game.

Molina ran on to a through ball from the midfield, and whilst Daejeon defenders stood still and claimed offside, Molina cooly rounded Choi Hyeon and side-footed the ball into the empty net. Why the Daejeon defenders just stopped is anyone's guess, but they were severely punished by a player who has been in a thorn in the side of Citizen since his arrival to Korea with Seongnam.

FC Seoul did not look like a side that is expected to win the K-League this season, but in truth, they didn't have to. The boys from the capital will not have an easier game all season. For Daejeon, it is so bitterly disappointing that in coming up against an out-of-sorts Seoul side, they did not have a real go for it in the second half. If this trend continues, Yoo Sang-Chul's negative tactics of trying not to lose rather than attempting to win, are going to backfire spectacularly.

With the threat of relegation looming, it is not too early to suggest that next week's game against Incheon Utd is a must win match for Citizen. A loss, and Daejeon would be rooted to the foot of the K-League table.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Brave Daejeon Undone at the Last

Daejeon Citizen 0 - 1 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
by Liam Birch at the Purple Arena

Daejeon Citizen battled proudly against the K-League champions Jeonbuk, but their endeavour ultimately counted for nothing as they lost a narrowly contested contest by a single, late goal.

This was a marked improvement on Citizen's first outing where they meekly rolled over against Gyeongnam. Coach Yoo selected a more adventurous line-up and was rewarded with a display that showed that Citizen will not go down without a fight this season. Jeonbuk could not have expected that they would be given such a test by a team they had not tasted defeat against since 2008. Likewise, Daejeon fans who expected a drubbing can leave satisfied that they took the champions all the way in this incredibly close encounter.

Of the notable personnel changes, Choi Hyeon was the real surprise inclusion. At 34 years of age, he now has the chance to cement his place as a first team regular in the Daejeon goal, something that was denied him last season by the form of Choi Eun-Sung. With Choi gone, it was expected that Kim Sun-Kyu, who played in the 3-0 loss to Gyeongnam, would continue to be nurtured into first team action. Yoo decided to go with experience, however he will not have learned much considering the lack of action Choi saw during the game.

A more exciting addition to the side was attacking midfielder Ji Kyeong-Deuk who, making his Citizen debut, ran the Jeonbuk defence ragged and was a constant source of attacking creativity for Daejeon. His display should ensure that he remains in the squad for next week's game against FC Seoul.

The atmosphere was once again tense, as Citizen fans remained silent for 21 minutes in honour of former goalkeeper Choi Eun-Sung who was so unceremoniously shown the door in pre-season. Indeed, before the game, a high-ranking Daejeon official came onto the pitch to apologise to the fans and encourage them to get behind the team.

In a first half of very few chances, it was Kim Jae-Hoon who came closest to opening the deadlock, with a thunderous drive from outside the area that the Jeonbuk keeper did incredibly well to turn around the post. It was the closest that either side came to opening the scoring, in a cagey first half that neither side seemed able to fully get a grip on. Daejeon were defending well, in particularly captain Lee Ho, who was an absolute rock at the back. If Lee can stop being so inconsistent and show this kind of form on a regular basis, Daejeon will be a much stronger defensive unit this season.

Frustrated at their lack of opportunities, Jeonbuk introduced Lee Dong-Guk at the start of the second half. His introduction almost had an immediate effect. A long ball played over the top caught the Daejeon defence asleep and from outside of the area, Lee lifted a gorgeous lob over Choi Hyeon, only to see his effort strike the bar and go out for a goal kick.

Citizen were not shy in front of goal either, and almost went ahead themselves via the head of Kevin Oris. The Belgian forward rose highest in the box, but saw his looping header brilliantly turned over the bar by the Jeonbuk keeper. Oris almost put Citizen ahead fifteen minutes later, but after being teed up on the break, he curled his effort a little too high and it sailed over the crossbar.

As the clock counted down, it seemed sure that Daejeon would earn a well-earned point, until, with just 5 minutes remaining, Jeonbuk struck the killer blow. Chilean international Hugo Droguett pounced on a loose ball in the Daejeon area to fire home with pinpoint accuracy into Choi's bottom right corner to send the sizeable Jeonbuk contingent home happy with all three points.

It was an unjust end to a game in which Citizen had shown such a huge improvement in both performance and desire. However, playing like this, Daejeon will cause some of the lesser teams in this league some problems this year. Unfortunately, Citizen's fixture list has been unkind to them to say the least.

Next up is an away trip to K-League powerhouse FC Seoul followed by a trip to Incheon Utd. Daejeon's next home game is on April 1st against Jeju Utd.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Champions are Coming to Town

Preview: Daejeon Citizen vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
Sunday 11th March 2012
Daejeon World Cup Stadium

Daejeon Citizen will be looking to put last weekend's horror show behind them as they welcome K-League Champions Jeonbuk to the Purple Arena this Sunday.

Whilst round one provided contrasting fortunes for the two sides, Daejeon will be hoping that a large home crowd will act as the extra man to push them to an unlikely victory against a Jeonbuk team who started this season as they finished the last. The statistics are very much against Citizen, who haven't beaten Jeonbuk in the last eight attempts. Indeed, you have to go back to 2008 for the last Daejeon victory against the boys from Jeolla-do.

Daejeon will be buoyed by the heavy 1-5 defeat Jeonbuk suffered at home at the hands of Chinese side Guangzhou this past Wednesday in the Champions League. With a new coach and an ageing squad, the jury is still out on whether Jeonbuk remain the same force that dominated Korean football in 2011. That said, on paper their squad oozes quality. With the likes of Eninho, Luis and Lee Dong-Guk, Jeonbuk have a strike force that rivals any in the league.

Lee is in the midst of one of the best spells of his career.

After scoring three goals in his last two internationals, as well as two for Jeonbuk last weekend, the former Middlesboro flop Lee is experiencing somewhat of an 'Indian Summer' period. Daejeon's young and inexperienced defence will certainly have their work cut out.

Off the pitch, it has been another interesting week for Citizen, with CEO Kim tendering his resignation over the handling of the Choi Eun-Sung affair. The silent protest at Gyeongnam and constant calls for Kim to quit have finally paid dividend for Daejeon supporters as Kim announced his intent to step down this past Thursday. Still, there could be an uneasy tension at the game, with fans still angry that legend Choi has felt alienated enough to state that even with Kim gone, he has no desire to come back.

Daejeon will be looking to improve their midfield drastically after they were overrun at will by Gyeongnam, a team with far less talent than Jeonbuk will bring on Sunday. Coach Yoo Sang-Chul must find a way to contain Jeonbuk's two Brazilian playmakers, otherwise we could witness a rugby-esque scoreline. It will be interesting to see whether he continues with the 4-5-1 formation deployed last weekend, which in hindsight proved to be a huge mistake, leaving striker Kevin Oris isolated and clearly frustrated by the lack of any support.

How to get there 
Daejeon has 2 train stations, both with regular KTX services. If coming from Seoul, the KTX will set you back around 23,000 won or the slower Mugunghwa around 10,000.

Any Jeonbuk fans travelling to the game would be recommended to take a bus, as it is generally much quicker than taking the train. Bus tickets should cost less than 10,000 won.

Upon arrival in Daejeon, take the subway to World Cup Stadium station, and exit gate 7.

Extra Information
A large crowd is expected so arrive early to avoid long queues at the ticket booths. The 'Ultra' fans congregate in the South stand, with away supporters housed in the North.

Liam Birch

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Gyeongnam 3 - 0 Daejeon Citizen

by Liam Birch at Changwon Soccer Center

The atrocious weather provided an apt backdrop for a dismal start to the 2012 K-League for Daejeon Citizen, who were easily swept aside by a Gyeongnam team barely reaching second gear.

If the pre-season transfer activity had raised hopes of a successful season, the Choi Eun-Sung saga has created a huge chasm between the management and fans that this performance will have done little to overcome. Citizen fans, around 50 in number, erected banners calling for the resignation of the board and stood in silence for the entire 90 minutes, creating an eerie atmosphere befitting of the conditions that the game was taking place under.

The starting line-up was virtually unrecognisable from the one that started last season, and the lack of unity and understanding was clearly on display. Yoo Sang-Chul elected to play a 4-5-1 formation, with Kevin Oris operating as the lone man up front. If the plan was to contain the Gyeongnam midfield, it didn't work. The warning signs appeared from the very beginning, as Gyeongnam's midfield dictated the play. They seemed hungrier and more determined, in contrast to their pedestrian-like, lethargic Daejeon counterparts.

New goalkeeper Kim Sun-Kyu, playing his first game against the club from which he was signed, showed good early promise with a couple of excellent saves from Gyeongnam danger man Jordan. Kevin Oris meanwhile was showing decent strength in attack, consistently winning headers and flick-ons. Unfortunately the Daejeon midfield did not seem eager to venture forward and the aerial threat was all but nullified.

Despite Gyeongnam's early domination, it was Daejeon who actually had the ball in the net first, only for the referee to disallow Oris' strike for a previous infringement on the Gyeongnam goalkeeper. If supporters thought that this was a positive sign of things to come, they were wrong. Barely 20 seconds after the re-start, Gyeongnam went ahead. With Daejeon still reeling from the disallowed goal, Gyeongnam went straight up the other end and scored. In fairness to the Citizen defenders, it was a classy build up and cool finish from Yoon Il-Rok, but had the defenders not been sleeping, it would have been almost certainly preventable.

Daejeon held on for the rest of the first half and even came close to an equaliser, when Kevin Oris struck a free kick from all of 25 yards, only to see his effort saved by veteran keeper Kim Byung-Ji. Much has been expected of Oris this season after his incredible goalscoring record in Belgium, and he certainly looked dangerous in the opening period, despite receiving nothing from the referee.

Half time was met with a decent amount of optimism. Whilst being thoroughly outplayed, Citizen found themselves only a single goal behind. With a change of tactics and someone to support Oris in attack, the game still had the potential to be won. Unfortunately, the changes that seemed obvious were not implemented by Yoo, and Daejeon began the second half in much the same way that they ended the first. Kim Sun-Kyu was a busy man in the Citizen goal but his handling looked assured and he was playing with a confidence that belied the huge pressure that he must have been under.

With little in the way of tactical or personnel changes, the inevitable second Gyeongnam goal was scored on 69 minutes, and a what a beauty it was. Gyeongnam's new Brazilian signing Caique, who had been threatening throughout, was allowed too much time and space to run in the Daejeon half. As the defenders backed off, the Brazilian unleashed a perfectly placed long-range grass cutter which nestled in the bottom left hand corner of Kim's goal.

At that point the game was effectively over as a contest, but Gyeongnam added another just two minutes later to make sure of the points. Daejeon's much maligned defender Lee Ho (of 55 and 77 infamy, and now captain of the side), unbelievably gave the ball away deep in Daejeon territory, allowing Kim In-Han the simplest finish to completely kill the game.

Daejeon responded by introducing new Brazilian recruit Leo, but he looked completely off the pace and added nothing to a Daejeon midfield now being overrun at will.

In truth, had Gyeongnam really gone for it, this could have been a similar outcome to the 7-1 drubbing handed out last year. Fortunately for Citizen, they were spared that humiliation, but still left Changwon with little credit after a depressingly poor performance, failing to register a single effort on goal in the second half.

Daejeon fans must expect a long, tough season if this performance was any indicator. With relegation rivals Daegu and Gangwon both making positive starts to their campaigns, analysts are already picking Daejeon as the team most likely to get relegated. After a display like this, it's hard to argue against them.