Gustavo's Scoring Streaks Seals Player of the Month Award
August saw Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors maintain their chase of K League 1 leaders Ulsan Hyundai as the reigning Champions played seven games to make up for matches previously postponed. Throughout this period, it was Brazilian striker Gustavo who came to the fore, scoring an impressive six goals to ensure the Green Warriors continued their pursuit and seeing the player awarded with the EA Sports Player of the Month trophy in the process.
At present, Gustavo currently sits third in the race for the Golden Boot with 12 goals, level with his Jeonbuk teammate Stanislav Iljutcenko. In addition, the Brazilian forward is also turning heads on the continent with his impressive displays in the AFC Champions League, having found the net eight times in seven matches to put him second in that competition's top scorers table at present. With the campaign entering its final throws, Gustavo may well prove pivotal in helping his side defend their division title.
The Blue Dragon Shines against the Bluewings to claim the Gatorade G Moment Award
Ulsan Hyundai winger Lee Chung-yong picked up the Gatorade G Moment award for August after a sublime performance against Suwon Samsung Bluewings that saw him score twice and collect the Man of the Match trophy. The Horangi found themselves a goal down before the winger, known as the 'Blue Dragon', wrestled back control of proceedings. Scoring just before half-time before finding a second to turn the tides in Ulsan's favour in the 83rd minute, Lee would then also add an assist in injury time to cap off a commanding performance, providing for Lee Dong-jun. Ulsan will be hoping for more stellar showings from Lee as they enter the final run of fixtures as they pursue a first league title in 16 years.
K League Sides Continue to Impress on the Continent
September saw all four K League entrants in this year's AFC Champions League partake in the Round of 16 with the majority proceeding to the next stage. While Daegu FC, making their first ever knockout round appearance in the competition, were unable to fight off J.League's Nagoya Grampus despite an impressive showing, other Korean representatives in Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, Ulsan Hyundai and Pohang Steelers were all able to progress.
Pohang Steelers saw off Japanese outfit Cerezo Osaka 1-0 thanks to a Lee Sung-mo strike, while Ulsan put the J.League Champions Kawasaki Frontale to the sword although did require penalties to do so after going goalless for 120 minutes. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors were also made to fight for their progression being held to a 1-1 draw by current Thai League 1 Champions BG Pathum United and requiring penalties to proceed.
The quarterfinals will see Pohang Steelers take on Nagoya Grampus while Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Ulsan Hyundai are set to take their title rivalry to the continental stage as they face each other. The quarterfinals are set to be played on August 17th with the semifinals following shortly after on August 20th. All matches are set to be hosted at Jeonju World Cup Stadium.
September Interviews - FC Anyang Striker Jonathan Moya
"I’m very glad how things are going for me here overall and my goals too. I'm the top scorer of my team and second in the league. Of course I want to score many goals, but the most important thing right now is to help my team win promotion. We are so close to getting promoted, and it would be a great thing in my career to play first division with Anyang and be the top scorer."
"We can go straight to the first division. My team is extremely ready to get this promotion and my mentality is not (just) on making the playoffs, it’s on the title."
September Interviews - Gimcheon Sangmu Manager Kim Tae-wan
"The season has almost finished and not many games are left now. At the beginning of the season, we were a bit unsettled but now I think we are settled. We are not thinking about anything else other than finishing in first place so that we can win automatic promotion."
"Many players got injured during winter training so before the season started we had to change our tactics. At first, we had worked on a 4-4-2 formation because we had many good strikers. But some players got injured and so we changed to 4-3-3. The season started and we conceded a few too many goals so to solve the problem, we decided to change the back four to a back three. We spent a lot of time finding the right formation but I think we found the best formation to suit each player’s characteristics."
K League Talent Take to the International Stage for World Cup Qualifiers
The Korean National Team continued in its qualification progress for the 2022 World Cup in September with matches at home against Iraq and Lebanon. As usual, Paulo Bento's side consisted of a number of K League talents in addition to those who have moved abroad after having made a name for themselves on these shores. Korea drew their first match 0-0 but did find victory against Lebanon thanks to a strike from Suwon Samsung Bluewings midfielder Kwon Chang-hoon.
Elsewhere, K League continued to be represented internationally in Costa Rica where FC Anyang's Jonathan Moya managed to find the assist in a 1-1 draw with Jamaica. Meanwhile, Incheon United striker Stefan Mugoša played against Netherlands and Latvia for Montenegro, while Suwon Samsung Bluewings defender Doneil Henry featured for Canada in their 3-0 win over El Salvador.