October's EA Sports Player of the Month was awarded to Ulsan Hyundai rising star Lee Dong-gyeong after claiming both the fan vote and FIFA Online 4 vote to seal the prize ahead of other nominees Joo Min-kyu (Jeju United), Lee Chang-min (Jeju United) and Kim Bo-kyung (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors). Lee scored twice in the division during in three matches and putting in some strong showings that saw him feature in the best eleven twice and also earning the Man of the Match for his side's 3-2 win over Suwon FC in Round 34, a match in which he scored the winner.
October's Gatorade G Moment Award was handed to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors central midfielder Paik Seung-ho for his thunderous free-kick against Incheon United in Round 32. Positioned just outside of the area, the former Barcelona youth product rifled in a shot to provide his side with the lead. The effort also marked Paik's third match in a row of scoring the opener and his performance over the period was enough to see him return to National Team contention. Jeonbuk would go on to win the game 2-0.
K League Finals A and B Confirmed
The end of October saw K League 1's Final A and Final B rounds decided as the division divided into two after 33 rounds ahead of the final straight of five remaining matches. Most notably, having only been promoted from K League 2 last season, both Jeju United and Suwon FC found themselves in the top half come the decision day and remain in contention for potential AFC Champions League qualification through league position.
Final A sees Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Ulsan Hyundai continue their chase title, with Daegu FC, Jeju United, Suwon FC and Suwon Samsung Bluewings making up the rest of the top half. Final B, meanwhile, sees Pohang Steelers, Incheon United, Seongnam FC, FC Seoul, Gangwon FC and Gwangju FC in the bottom half looking to avoid being dragged into the relegation positions.
October Interviews on KLeague.com
Pohang's Alex Grant on Returning From injury for the AFC Champions League
"We weren't anticipating it to be a lengthy stay out on the sidelines but unfortunately that was the case and to get back to the Champions League was kind of my goal towards the end of my rehab. When I come back to play, I think I had my mind set on the Champions League and the club, the manager, everyone was good with me and wanted me to get back for the Champions League. We had a lot of games and a short schedule so the minutes I got were really good to be fair, and didn't just throw me in and play me 90 minutes every game, as I would have more than likely broke down again so it was good that they managed it well in that respect."
"Since I've been back, I feel like I've been playing well. The results haven't been the greatest over the last month or so but we have picked up some important wins. The team can play brilliant football and I think one thing that we have shown Pohang especially is the resilience and how we've been hard to beat over the course of the season. I think teams find it very hard to break us down and we've defended really well. Before the last few weeks, we probably had the best defence in the league so that's been definitely a positive. The one area that we need to look at is creating more chances and scoring more goals to push us up that table."
Jeonnam's Samuel Nnamani on Facing Top-Flight Teams in the Dragons Incredible FA Cup Run
"I felt very happy to score in that match [against K3 League side Busan Transport Corportation] after playing a lot of games. It was really tough mentally, you know, but I was really motivated after that goal. In sport, the most important thing is that we have to keep trying."
"The second division is always very intense, you don't get this freedom... sometimes you get two players on you and there's always someone behind you hitting you hard or something. It's totally different. Playing against K League 1 teams there is a lot of space. It's more free. When I get this freedom then I feel dangerous."
K League On The Global Stage
October saw a number of K League-based players called up for national team duty in the penultimate international break before the end of the year. No fewer than 17 Korean players from the K League were called up to Paulo Bento's Korea squad as the Road to Qatar 2022 continued with fixtures against Syria and Iran. Korea came away with four points, picking up 2-1 victory over Syria at home before travelling to Iran and earning a 1-1 draw. It sees Korea finish the month in second in their qualifying group, two points off leaders, Iran.
There were also a number of K League international players plying their trade for their countries. Suwon Samsung Bluewings' defender Doneil Henry was called up for his native Canada, picking up his 40th cap in the team's goalless draw with Jamaica while Incheon United's Stefan Mugoša was also called upon by Montenegro, featuring in their 3-0 win over Gibraltar.
FC Anyang striker Jonathan Moya was also in international action for Costa Rica, featuring in all three of their matches against United States, El Salvador and Honduras, starting two of them. Finally, Ansan Greeners' Asnawi Mangkualam started in Indonesia's Asian Cup Qualifiers against Chinese Tapei, winning both games 2-1 and 3-0.