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He’s already a positional success story. Center back Lee Ki-hyuk is the discovery of the year.

Gangwon FC defeated Daegu FC 3-0 in the fifth round of the Hana Bank K League 1 2024 at Chuncheon Songam Sports Town Main Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on March 3. The victory was Gangwon’s first win of the season. Daegu’s head was down as they failed to continue their winning ways against Gwangju FC.

Lee Ki-hyeok started at center back, a midfielder who played at Hyundai High School and Ulsan University and is a highly touted prospect who has been selected for the South Korean national team. He came to Gangwon this season after playing for Suwon FC and Jeju United. It was expected that he would play in the midfield, but he played as a center back. Starting at center back in the first round, Lee surprised everyone with his unexpected defensive prowess and ability to compete for aerial balls.

Against Daegu, Lee Ki-hyuk’s task was to stop Edgar. Despite his age, Edgar is still the best foreigner in K League 1 and is physically dominant. Despite the height difference, coach Yoon Jung-hwan was not worried. “You saw him play, didn’t you? He’s really good at aerial balls. I don’t have any anxiety,” he said.

Lee lived up to Yoon’s expectations. He won every battle with Edgar and kept the clean sheet even after Kim Jin-hyuk came on to form a two-man defense. He was influential with his left-footed passes to build up the back line and his one-timed passes forward. With a strong fighting spirit and good communication, Kangwon won 3-0.

In an interview with Mixzone, Lee said, “It’s my first win. We played well, but we didn’t win. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s meaningful to win and turn the tide. It’s a very happy day,” he concluded.

Lee Ki-hyuk, who kept his first clean sheet as a defender, said, “The attackers scored well, but we conceded a goal, so it was a tie. I felt responsible and we talked well among the defenders. I said, ‘Let’s finish with a clean sheet,’ but I also imprinted myself and tried not to concede,” he said.

On his competition with Edgar: “He’s very physical and has a lot of ability to play in the post with headers. He’s also a good scorer, so I tried not to lose him on crosses. I prepared a lot and I felt he was a 카지노 good player when I met him. We were more prepared in the second half and that’s why we defended better than in the first.”

It’s not often that an attacking midfielder switches to center back and does well. “I’m not used to it and I rarely play there, so there was a lot of pressure on me,” said Lee. As a defender, one mistake can lead to a goal. I was confident in the buildup, so I was confident in that part, and I was strong in defense with the mindset that I would learn unconditionally, so I practiced well,” he said.

There are many people around him who praise the center back, and some say it’s strange. “Even if everything around me is good, today is the first time I’ve kept a clean sheet. As the clean sheet continued, I could hear more praise. I’m not satisfied and I’m trying to do better,” and when asked about his aerial ability, he said, “I was confident in my jump. I was a midfielder, so I had less to contend with than a defender, but I feel like I’m getting better. I’m doing it more boldly and confidently,” he laughs.

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