Jeonbuk Hyundai is in a bad way.
Jeonbuk suffered a 2-1 reverse in the 30th round of the Hana OneQ K League 1 2023 against Gangwon FC at Jeonju World Cup Stadium on Saturday. Jeonbuk, who looked to be on their way to an easy victory when Gustavo converted a penalty kick earned by Han Kyo-won five minutes into the match, conceded back-to-back goals to Gangwon’s Gabriel and Gallego in first-half stoppage time. In the 30th minute of the second half, they were beaten by Kim Dae-won.
Of course, there was the variable of having five key players – Baek Seung-ho, Song Min-gyu, Park Jin-seop, Kim Jung-hoon, and Park Jae-yong – sent to the Asian Games team, but even taking that into account, the performance was too poor. Despite taking an early lead at home, Jeonbuk was dominated by their opponent’s offense. They were out-shot 3-13 in the first half. This led to consecutive goals in extra time. To make matters worse, heavy rain poured down in the second half, making it impossible to play a normal game. Jeonbuk floundered in the downpour, and were once again brought to their knees at home.
This wasn’t the only game. Jeonbuk’s recent form has been problematic. They are winless in their last five games, with three draws and two losses. Even if you expand the scope to the last seven games, there is only one win (3 draws and 3 losses). The Petrescu style of soccer, which centers around Boateng sending quick balls down the flanks and then finishing, is not working. While the departure of Cho Kyu-sung and the lack of foreign strikers like Gustavo and Hapasilva have noticeably reduced their frontline destructiveness, Petrescu’s monotonous attack is being read by opposing defenses. Jeonbuk has scored just three goals in its last five matches. The defense has also struggled, conceding six goals in five games.
Once ranked as high as third, Jeonbuk’s recent slump has dropped them to fifth. Having dominated the league for the past decade, Jeonbuk has always been a contender for the title. Even after the team suffered through the measles, which led to the resignation of head coach Kim Sang-sik after a poor start to the season, there were many who believed that they would be able to qualify for the Asian Champions League (ACL). But now, they are no longer guaranteed a spot in the ACL, let alone the Final A. The Final A is Jeonbuk’s last pride. Jeonbuk has never been lower than Final B since the introduction of the promotion system. Even when the likes of Ulsan Hyundai, FC Seoul, Pohang Steelers, Suwon Samsung, and other big names have 카지노 all experienced Final B and fallen on hard times, Jeonbuk has always played in the top tier.
The problem is that they don’t have the points to rebound. Petrescu is not a tactician. He’s good at building a solid Plan A and then sticking with it. For now, he’s sticking with the traditional 4-4-2. It’s hard to imagine him making any major changes to an underperforming offense. Add to that the fact that the Asian Champions League group stage kicks off on the 20th, and you have a tight schedule. If the Asian Games go all the way to the final, Jeonbuk will have to play the league and the Asian Champions League without their core five for over two weeks. This will make it even harder to make changes. The players who have been struggling will have to step up.
I said, ‘I’m not worried about Jeonbuk,’ but the situation is different now. At worst, we could see Jeonbuk fighting a relegation battle in the Final B.