‘Best friends’ Lee Jung-hyo (47) and Park Chung-gyun (49) fought a fierce ‘slugfest’.
Gwangju won the Hana OneQ FA Cup 2023 Round of 16 against Seoul Eland 1-0 in Mokdong Sports Complex on April 24, thanks to a theatrical goal from Heo Yul in second-half stoppage time. Gwangju advanced to the quarterfinals of the tournament. They will face Jeonbuk Hyundai, who beat Paju Min Football Club, for a spot in the quarterfinals.
Park Chung-gyun and Lee Jung-hyo, who are two years apart in age, are known as close friends in the soccer world. They spent four years together at Busan I-Park as players and have remained close in their coaching careers.
Before the game, the two coaches had a pleasant exchange of words. Park Chung-gyun was the first to start the argument. “I should raise Lee Jung-hyo a lot, but it’s a pity that I can’t because Gwangju is playing poorly these days,” said Park Chung-gyun.
Behind the joke, there was also a heart for the junior. “It’s true that Gwangju is a level higher than us,” Park Chung-gyun said, “Lee Jung-hyo plays a similar style of soccer to me, but he’s a much more capable coach than me. They will press hard from the front, but if our players don’t panic and stick to their game plan, I think we will have a good result.”
Recently, Lee has been wearing yellow-lensed glasses due to his vision problems. He is known as the dapper guy on the field, thanks to his stylish suits. “I have to ask him how long he’s going to wear those glasses, but I think he’s going to keep them on for a while. We should also ask him where he bought his nice suit,” he said, drawing laughter. He then asked the reporters, “Have you interviewed director Lee Jung-hyo?” and provoked them by saying, “Please ask him how long he will wear his yellow glasses and where he bought his suit”.
He then met with director Lee Jung-hyo. When I told him about Park Chung-gyun’s story, he said, “I wore the glasses because the hospital told me to,” and added, “Tell him to pay less attention to me. I want you to pay more attention to soccer than me.” He laughed.
When Park Chung-gyun said that he practiced shooting in case the game went to penalty kicks, Lee Jung-hyo said, “We’ll see who wins in 90 minutes. I didn’t even bother practicing for the penalty shootout,” he said confidently, adding, “I told the players that if we don’t score, I’ll go in and score.”
On his relationship with Park Chung-gyun, Lee said, “We played together for a long time and stayed in touch when I was a coach. Nowadays, he asks me, ‘Why are you copying my style,’” he said. “He’s a good senior and gives me a lot of advice and support. Even if things are not going well in Guangzhou these days, he advises me, ‘You shouldn’t abandon your style.’ In such cases, I say, ‘I don’t intend to abandon it, just follow your style,’” he said, eliciting a laugh. When asked if they seemed to have a good rapport and chemistry, he said, “Yes, but neither of us is normal,” causing more laughter.
When the game started, the two managers’ expressions changed. Unlike Park Chung-gyun, who said before the game that “Gwangju is one step ahead of us,” Seoul Eland looked sharper. While Seoul E-Land had two shots on target in the first half, Gwangju was stopped by Seoul’s tight defense and didn’t have a single shot on target. It wasn’t until midway through the second half that Thomas recorded his first shot on target. However, Gwangju pushed forward in the closing stages and substitute Heo Yul scored a dramatic winner in stoppage time to seal the victory. 메이저놀이터
When Park Chung-gyun entered the post-match press conference, his face was full of disappointment, but he congratulated his junior. “Coach Lee Jung-hyo, who I am personally close to, was struggling (with his performance) in the K League 1. It seems like I gave him a supplement. Congratulations,” Park said. He continued, “I’ve been able to focus solely on the league. We had a lot of young players, and they all fought well. We will quickly forget about it and prepare for the return match against Ansan.”
Coach Lee Jung-hyo said, “It was a tough away game. We hadn’t won recently, but the players tried hard and won. I want to praise them.” “We made a lot of mistakes in our offense and gave the ball away to the opponent, but I’m happy that the players are trying to finish. They’re growing and I think they’ll get better as their form improves.”