Kang Sang-woo (Korea Professional Football League-Yonhap)
Riding a two-match winning streak, military football club Sangju Sangmu will receive some welcome reinforcement this week in the form of their youngsters.
After dropping the opening match, Sangju have won their past two matches in the K League 1 with a depleted roster. For all three matches, they were without their three under-22 players, forwards Oh Se-hun, Jeon Se-jin and Kim Bo-sub, who sustained injuries in a car accident while riding a team van to a coronavirus testing site on April 29. It happened 10 days before the start of the new season.
Sangju announced Wednesday that some of the injured players will be available for Friday's match against Daegu FC.
Though the club did not name anybody, Kim and Jeon, who were discharged from hospital last week, are likely the ones who will suit up for Friday.
The three players were initially ruled out for at least six weeks. But Kim and Jeon returned to their base just three weeks after the accident and began working out on their own. They rejoined the club earlier this week.
Starting in 2020, every K League club must start at least one U-22 player and put one other U-22 player on the substitution list.
If teams do not include U-22 players, then they can only carry 16 players for each match, instead of the usual 18. Those undermanned teams are only allowed two substitutions per match, rather than the typical three.
Without his U-22 players available, Sangju head coach Kim Tae-wan had to bite the bullet and take 16 players to each of the first three matches. Sangju, perhaps predictably, lost the season opener against Ulsan Hyundai FC by 4-0, but they bounced back to beat Gangwon FC and then Gwangju FC in back-to-back weeks, both by the score of 2-0.
Midfielder Kang Sang-woo has scored in each of the past two matches to carry Sangju, while former national team midfielder Moon Seon-min, a runner-up in league MVP voting last year, has contributed a goal in his two appearances.
Daegu will be looking for their first win of 2020 after posting two draws and a loss through last week. (Yonhap)