The top scorers in the K League 1 (11 goals), Lee In-gyu-Bako (Ulsan Hyundai) and Na Sang-ho (FC Seoul), have been without a goal in a month. The ‘scoring machines’ that should be leading their teams to victory have shut down in the sweltering heat.
After 26 rounds, the top scorers in the K League are still three players. All of them have been key players for their teams all season long, finding the back of the net in virtually every game. The three players in the race for the top scoring spot have also stood out for their different strengths. Up front, Lee In-gyu scored with both feet and found the back of the net with headers. Winger Bako showed off his precise dribbling, while Na Sang-ho stood out for his powerful shooting.
However, they have been on their toes in recent months.
Lee In-gyu has been silent for five games since his last goal against the Pohang Steelers on March 8. In the last two games, he hasn’t taken a shot at all. Bako hasn’t had an offensive point in three games since scoring against Suwon Samsung last time out. With the frontline silent, the overwhelmingly ‘first place’ Ulsan has lost momentum with one win, one draw and three losses in their last five matches. At one point, their 16-point gap to second-place Pohang was as high as 11 points, and they’ve allowed themselves to be caught.
Seoul’s situation is even more precarious, as they have been consistently in third or fourth place. It has already been overtaken by Jeonbuk Hyundai and dropped to fourth place (10 wins, 8 draws, 8 losses, 38 points). Since their record-breaking 7-2 victory over Suwon FC at home on March 12, they have drawn two and lost two. They have scored six goals in four games, but have conceded eight, making their defense unbalanced. Na Sang-ho added an assist in the period, but it wasn’t enough to get the win. The difference in points between third-place Jeonbuk and ninth-place Daegu FC is now just three. This means they could drop into the bottom half of the table at any moment.
Both teams are in dire straits and need to revive their scoring machines. “I’d like to see a scenario where domestic players compete for the 메이저놀이터 top scorer until the end, like (Joo) Min-kyu,” Na Sang-ho said at the press conference after his multi-goal performance against Suwon FC last month. This has been the case for a month now, but the gap between second and third place is still around three goals. All eyes are on who will be the first to start scoring again and bring their team to victory.