FC Anyang defender Yeon Jae-min and Busan I-Park striker Park Dong-jin caused quite a stir. While the collision itself ended without incident, it sparked a heated debate between the two teams over the officiating.
Yeon Jemin and Park Dong-jin were once teammates in the same uniform. However, they didn’t have time to play together on the field as Park entered the university as a freshman the same year Yeon turned pro. Yeon played for 토토사이트 Suwon Samsung and Park Dong-jin for FC Seoul, but even then, their careers didn’t overlap. They met again in the 2021 season, when Yeon played for the Ansan Greeners and Park for the Gimcheon Commerce. They will go head-to-head in the 2023 season, playing for Anyang and Busan, respectively.
Yeon came on as a substitute for Hwang Ki-wook, who suffered a hamstring injury in the first half of the Hana OneQ K League 2023 Round 30 home match against Busan on March 3. He was warming up in the 36th minute when he was abruptly substituted, and a few minutes later, he was cautioned for colliding with opposing striker Park Dong-jin during a battle for an aerial ball.
“Ki Wook came off with an injury unexpectedly. It was a tough game for me because I didn’t have a good body. I was only thinking about winning, but I’m very upset about the goal. We’ve been on a losing streak since the last game, so we’re going into the break in a bad situation. I just want to get a good rest and come back and turn it around in the next game,” he reflected.
It was a particularly tough match for Yeon Jae-min. He made his first appearance of the season in July and played his second game in almost a month and a half against Busan. “It’s not often that a defender comes on as a substitute in the first half. It’s almost the first time in my 11 years as a professional that I’ve had to come on as a substitute in the first half. It was hard to set the tempo, and it was really hard to breathe. It was a harder game than playing as a starter.”
On his collision with Park Dong-jin at the end of the first half, he said, “I hit him from behind, so I’m fine. It would have been worse for him. At the time, the referee didn’t do anything, so I thought it wasn’t a foul and we were just going to move on, but then the card came out because he was still lying there, and I think it was a messy situation. I didn’t hear the bench at all. I didn’t know what was going on,” she explained.
Recalling his relationship with Park Dong-jin, who is also a junior in college, Yeon said, “He’s a very passionate player on the field. He’s a younger brother who is very tough on seniors. It’s not like we had any other problems on the field. Even after we finished, we greeted each other and asked each other if we were okay. I didn’t do it on purpose either, so they said it was fine,” he said, adding, “It wasn’t a situation where the players did it on purpose in the middle of the game. I think it would be good for the fans to have fun and move on.”
While he hasn’t had many opportunities this season due to injuries, Yeon is determined to fulfill his duties with the team’s many injuries. “There are senior brothers and younger players, and there are a lot of injuries. If we get good results, the atmosphere will be good, but the results are not coming, so the coach is also worried about that. I think the only answer is for the players to stick together and win.”
After this weekend’s matches, the K League will enter the September A-Match break. Anyang will have about two weeks between the 4th and the next round on the 17th. During this time, Anyang plans to focus on rebuilding the team. “It’s already September. The matches are almost at the end. I think we need to rest as much as possible,” Yeon revealed his plans.
He added, “It’s not the time to improve our physical condition. You have to rest well, eat well, and prepare well. I think it’s going to come down to which team manages their fitness better at the end,” he said of the rest of the season.