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Playoff Final Interview: "We're very confident" - Bruno Baio

league 2021.12.06   I   조회수 529

Daejeon Hana Citizen booked their place in the 2021 K League Promotion/Relegation Final in part thanks to the two goals scored by Bruno Baio against FC Anyang in the previous round. The Brazilian says that he and the team are using the disappointment from 2020 to make sure they go one better this time around and that the players are full of confidence. Daejeon's number nine speaks exclusively to KLeague.com to look ahead to the two-leg contest with Gangwon FC.

Things didn't quite go to plan for Daejeon, though, in the match against FC Anyang, going a goal down following a defensive mix-up and allowing Jonathan Moya to open the scoring with the game barely 15 minutes old. But, for striker Bruno Baio, everything seemed to go his way. Although he had a feeling that it was going to be a good day, Baio admits he couldn't have predicted that it was going to be a "perfect day" for him.

"I visualised that we're going to win the game. But I didn't imagine that everything I was going to do would work out. Of course, inside the game, I tried to think positively. But sometimes I miss a pass, I miss an action and get frustrated. I'm glad everything went well in the game against Anyang. And I managed to score the goals needed by the team, I predicted that we're going to score three goals, we scored three goals, and you had a great victory."

Baio's first, and Daejeon's second having equalised in the first half through skipper Park Jin-seop, was a wonderful passing move that saw Baio play his part in the build-up too. 

Baio admits that this goal came straight from the training ground.

"Yes, we work a lot on these combinations in training, these types of passes and these types of movements. When you have really technical players, like our team, it's easier there on the field, you only need to make a small move, and you can get the ball in the box to score or to assist a teammate. 

For those at the game that afternoon, it was clear that Baio's first few touches helped lay the foundations for what went on to be a scintillating performance. Likewise, once the first goal was scored, a huge boost in confidence meant that a second was going to follow.

"As a player, when you score a goal, you'll be you'll build your confidence. After my first goal, I really felt more confident. And I felt that I could play calm and without pressure."

Baio has been tasked with being Daejeon's impact sub, for the most part, this season. From 14 appearances off the bench before the Anyang game, Baio was introduced, on average, in and around the 83rd minute. But with so much at stake, manager Lee Min-sung gave Baio the call with just over an hour played.

"Of course, I want to be in the lineup every player wants to, but I have to understand my spot on the team. And I have to understand what each game asks for, how the game dynamic is and the different characteristics of the opponents. With this context, the final decision is up to the head coach, and I have to be prepared to come in and help the team when I'm called. I always try to pay close attention to the game and try to look for where there is space to play. I also pay attention to what defenders are doing and how I can take advantage of the space that they leave to play my football. 

"I was not surprised [because] we needed to win the game. And as we were tying, the coach had to put players on to help more in the attack. So he chose to bring me at 18 minutes [into the second half] and I was ready to go. It wasn't a surprise to me."

Daejeon's players were backed by a near-full away end. The support did not go unnoticed by Daejeon's players, Baio included.

"As a player, it's much better to have fans in the stadium. You hear the fans, the game atmosphere changes with the fans supporting you and supporting the team. So every player likes that and I am no different. I feel the motivation playing for the fans. Our supporters spend money on tickets travelling and watch us in cold weather, hot weather, rainy weather, they're always there supporting us. So I am a player that likes to play in that atmosphere."

The win over FC Anyang was back on November 7th, the first leg of the match with Gangwon FC will be on December 8th meaning that over a month will have passed since. Baio, though, can see the positives in having to wait all that time. 

"We are very confident, we are working hard, to be ready to go and to do a good job and be able to show our football. I would rather play right after the game against Anyang, it would be better for us to keep our momentum and our confidence. On the other hand, this long break was good for us to be able to rest players and to go to the final two games with our full squad healthy and ready."

Daejeon, of course, were involved in the playoffs last year but fell short in the semifinal stage. Baio had a goal disallowed on that cold evening in Changwon but believes that last year's heartbreak will be used as motivation to go one better this time around.

"I think that last year has helped us players mentally to see that we can be in the playoffs final, that we can get there and we can be fighting amongst top finishers. This season, we trained hard all year, worked hard all year, and played really good football. Even sometimes, when we did not play well, we kept our focus and for most of the season, we kept a high level of play and we won games. And now thanks to this good work, we are in the finals. The plan is the same, training hard working hard. If you continue with this hard work, and if our focus mentally will be prepared for the last few games, regardless of the opponent that we'll be facing."

Daejeon Hana Citizen face Gangwon FC at home in the first leg on Wednesday 7th December at 19:00 KST. The second leg will be played in Gangneung on Sunday 12th December at 14:00 KST.

Paul Neat
Managing Editor