Lee Dong-kyung left, Lee Sang-heon stopped, and Jung Jae-hee exploded..

Point of entry. It is an idiom that represents the race for the top scorer in K League 1 this season. As the rankings continue to be overturned, a competition that cannot be easily predicted is unfolding.

With 10 games played excluding Ulsan HD and Gwangju FC, the leading scorer is Jeong Jae-hee (Pohang Steelers).

Jae-hee Jeong scored his first hat trick in his career in the away game between Gangwon FC and Hana Bank K League 1 2024 10th round held on the 1st, leading the team to a 4-2 victory. Thanks to his three goals, Pohang (21 points) rose to the sole lead, beating its rival Ulsan (20 points).

Jeong Jae-hee, who was called the ‘man of extra time,’ quickly rose to the leading score. Jeong Jae-hee, who only found the net in extra time in the second half of the season four times this season, scored one goal in the first half and two goals in the second half against Gangwon, increasing his season score to seven goals, tying with Lee Sang-heon (Gangwon) and Lee Dong-kyung (Gimcheon Sangmu) for the most. .

However, the K League 1 scoring ranking is calculated by considering goals, games played, and playing time in that order. Jae-Hee Jeong, like Lee Dong-Gyeong, has played eight games this season, but is in the lead due to her limited playing time. Lee Sang-heon, who played 10 games, is in third place. After that, the ‘little giants’ Kim Hyun-wook (Gimcheon), Ilyuchenko (FC Seoul), and Mugosa (Incheon United, 5 goals) are ranked at the top of the leaderboard one by one.

Jeong Jae-hee, who had previously only scored one goal per game, scored three goals and stood out as a strong candidate for the top scorer award. Lee Dong-kyung, who scored 7 goals and 5 assists in Ulsan, entered the training center on the 29th of last month due to his enlistment in Gimcheon, so it is inevitable that he will be sidelined for the time being. Lee Sang-heon has been silent in four games since scoring multiple goals against Jeonbuk Hyundai on the 7th of last month. Kim Hyun-wook is also unable to maintain his fierce momentum from the beginning.

With Jae-hee Jeong and Lee Dong-kyung showing consistent performance, the competition for top scorer this season is somewhat unusual. The four players leading the race for top scorer are all domestic players and are second-line resources, not strikers. Lee Sang-heon, who is deployed to the front line of Gangwon, also plays an attacking midfielder or winger position. He is currently playing as a second striker, assisting the front line striker in a somewhat sagging position.

While the early season progress of domestic playmakers and wingers stands out, the slow start of the two attackers, who competed fiercely for the top scorer last season, is also noticeable. Joo Min-gyu (Ulsan), who won the K-League 1 top scorer award last year, scored 3 goals in 8 games this season and ranks 9th in scoring. Thiago (Jeonbuk), who scored 17 goals in the 2023 season and tied with Joo Min-gyu, has scored only 1 goal in 10 games and is not even in the top 20 of the rankings.

Since Santos, who won the K-League 1 highest scorer award (14 goals) as a member of Suwon Samsung in the 2014 season, all top scorers have been strikers. It is unclear whether the current strange scoring race led by second-line resources will continue until the end of the season. Moreover, as 10 rounds have now been played out of 38 games, there is a good chance that a new face will join the race for the top scorer.

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