The veteran player, who was supposed to calm the nerves of his teammates, instead took the initiative to collide with the other player, a behavior that did not help the team in any way.
Ki Sung-yong, why waste a minute and a second?
The 37th round of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 was held at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on March 25 between FC Seoul and Suwon Samsung. It was the last super match of the season, and it was a highly anticipated game that could decide Suwon Samsung’s de facto relegation. That’s why more than 36,000 people packed Sangambeol in the cold.
Seoul went down 0-1 in the 18th minute of the second half when Bassani conceded a mid-range shot. The Seoul home supporters fell silent, while the Suwon away supporters exploded. They had seen a glimmer of hope at the edge of a precipice. The contrast between Seoul and Suwon was stark.
Seoul was desperate. To make matters worse, in the 43rd minute, captain Osmar was sent off directly for a rough tackle. The will to equalize and take the lead was strong, but the body wasn’t cooperating. Still, there was plenty of time. There were nine minutes of extra time.
Three minutes into the extra time, it happened. Ki Sung-yueng tripped Suwon’s Jeon Jin-woo on the leg. It wasn’t even an in-play situation. In his eagerness to take the free kick, he perceived Jeon Jin-woo, who was in front of the ball, as an “interferer” and pushed him roughly. Jeon fell to the ground
Within moments, the players of both teams gathered on the field. Palosevic and Lee Sang-min (Suwon) clashed, and Ko Seung-beom (Suwon), who tried to stop them, was punched in the face while standing in the middle of the maelstrom. Seoul Physical Coach Jung Hoon-ki entered the fray and punched Ko Seung-bum in the face. After a VAR review, Chung was sent off. Coach Chung went into the locker room to protest the call.
Nervous breakdowns are common in rivalry games around the world. However, it is very rare for a losing home team to trigger a nervous breakdown in the second half. Usually, you put up with your opponent’s provocations in order to save time and pull off the upset, but Seoul’s top man Ki Sung-yueng became a catalyst himself. Nothing was gained.
Extra time continued to tick away. Seoul tried to equalize with a corner kick that forced goalkeeper Baek Jong-beom into action, but Seoul couldn’t get a single shot off and went down 0-1. The rival Suwon fans broke into a chant of “Nasanasu” (My Love, My Suwon) that seemed to swallow Sangam whole. The Seoul fans left Sangam in a huff with their heads down.
If Ki Sung-yueng had kept his composure and taken the free kick, the Seoul home fans might not have dropped their heads. The Sangam might not have been covered in Suwon chants. The super match might not have been labeled as an “unnecessary assault” on social media news pages instead of sports news. It was Seoul that suffered the most.
Kim Jin-soo gets another warning and won’t play against Ulsan
Kim Jin-soo Timo Neujeon/Jeonbuk Hyundai
Kim Jin-soo Timo Shinjeon/Jeonbuk Hyundai
On the same day, Jeonbuk Hyundai and Gwangju FC faced off at Jeonju World Cup Stadium. Fourth-ranked Jeonbuk and third-ranked Gwangju were battling for a spot in next season’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League Elite (ACLE). The home team needed a win as the top three teams in the K League can qualify for the ACLE.레모나토토
Jeonbuk took a 2-0 lead in the first half thanks to back-to-back goals from Ahn Hyun-beom and Song Min-gyu. Jeonbuk also took the lead in the second half. Barring any major upsets, Jeonbuk was expected to win. Given that their next game was against Ulsan Hyundai, the best-case scenario was to finish with no injuries.
In the 35th minute of the second half, Kim Jin-soo (Jeonbuk) collided with Timo (Gwangju). In the process of their contest, Kim Jin-soo fell and Timo grabbed his ankle. Kim Jin-soo pushed Timo’s chest and Timo responded in kind. For the record, the game was not stopped. As the Gwangju players moved up into the Jeonbuk zone and counterattacked, the two stared each other down near the halfway line.
When the ball went out of bounds, the referee called Timo and Kim Jin-soo together for a warning. Kim accumulated five cautions for the incident and missed the final against Ulsan Hyundai. It’s pretty devastating. Jeonbuk needs to beat Ulsan to advance to the ACLE, but their key defender, Kim Jin-soo, will have to watch the game on TV.
It doesn’t end there. When Kim Jin-soo realizes he’s been warned, he gets even more excited and pushes Timo’s chest again. As if on cue, Timo falls backwards and looks at the referee. The referee gave Kim no further warning. Kim could have been sent off in the home final.
Had Kim Jin-soo ignored Timo’s taunt and not received a warning, Hyundai would have been able to play in the ‘Hyundai Street Derby’ and boost their chances of finishing in the top three. Having already clinched the title, Ulsan is relatively unmotivated. If Jeonbuk beats Ulsan and Gwangju fails to beat Pohang, Jeonbuk will go to the ACLE in third place. At a time when every single starter is valuable, Kim Jin-soo voluntarily pulled out of the game against Ulsan.
Suwon’s Lee Jong-sung, Seoul’s Ko Yo-hando ‘two-match excitement’
Lee Jong-seong/Suwon Samsung
Another veteran, Lee Jong-sung, was also cautioned in the Super Match. Lee received a yellow card for a rough tackle on Ki Sung-yong in the 22nd minute of the first half. He accumulated five cautions and will not be able to play in the final match of Round 38 against Gangwon FC. The loser of the Suwon-Gangwon match will be directly relegated to the second division, and Suwon will have to face Gangwon without their captain.
Ko Yo-hando, who was sent off at halftime, is also at the center of the issue. Go made a surprise appearance during the aforementioned second-half scuffle. During the scuffle, it was alleged that he pulled Go Seung-bum’s hair. It was hard to tell exactly who was who on the broadcast screen as more than 20 players were jostling in black padding, but fan direct-cam footage showed Ko making contact with Ko Seung-bum.
A spokesperson for the KFA said, “We will investigate the clash that occurred during the Seoul-Suwon game in detail. We are likely to identify all players and coaches involved in the assault and impose punishment after the fact.” Go Seung-bum said, “It was the first time I was hit with a fist in my soccer career. I’m confused as to why I was hit and why my head was grabbed.” “There were a lot of people at the stadium, including young fans, and they didn’t need to see that,” said Kim Jin-gyu, Seoul’s acting head coach.
One of the reasons veterans are treated with respect is because of their ability to respond to crises. When the team is in a tough spot, they are expected to lead their younger teammates out of the crisis. However, this past weekend in the K League, veterans created crises that hurt their teams.