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Chungju Hummel FC v Jeonnam Dragons FA Cup Preview


A red hot Jeonnam side looks to keep rolling against K-League Challenge's Chungju Hummel FC in the FA Cup Round of 16.

The month of June is one the Dragons are hoping somehow won't end. Winners of four of their last five league matches, Jeonnam are now in 4th place and are undoubtedly brimming with confidence. A 2-0 home win to end FC Seoul's 5-game unbeaten run finally gave the Dragons the high profile victory they've been needing to ensure the streak is no fluke.

With what is easily the match of the season looming this Sunday against Jeonbuk, it's hard not to start playing the "what if" game. What if the Dragons do the unthinkable and win against the league leaders on the road? What if the Dragons win and Suwon loses to a now angry FC Seoul looking for revenge from the first Super Match? Then Jeonnam would be in second place and Jeonbuk's lead would be a scant seven points. That's single digits! That's human! The green monster can and will be slayed!

However, not playing the "what if" game shows the green representatives of Jeollanam-do with a 10 point lead over the Dragons and two of the K-League's top three scorers that don't seem to be slowing down. The Dragons are also facing a pretty brutal stretch of the schedule with 1st place Jeonbuk, 3rd place Pohang, and 2nd place Suwon all coming up in the next two weeks. The only real reprieve in there is that Pohang's a home game... but's it's just days after the showdown with Jeonbuk and will be the second of three games in seven days for the team. So, while it is possible the Dragons could close that gap and make the League interesting, they would do well not to look past the supposedly weaker opponent Chungju. Because without even delving into hypotheticals, the FA Cup is the Dragons best shot at some silverware this year.

After their shock defeat of Suwon to earn their spot in the Round of 16, Jeonnam find themselves in a uniquely favorable position to advance to the semi finals should they get by Chungju this Wednesday. The Dragons would then face the winner of Gangwon FC vs Ulsan Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Dolphins FC, the 10th place K-League Challenge team or a National league side boasting a sweet name. While Jeonnam is proof of how much a season can turn around in just a month, they have to like looking at the bracket to see the potential future matchups. But again, let's not look past Chungju so easily.

The Mighty Hummel (people call them that, right?) come into the match sitting on 16 points in 9th place in the Challenge. They earned their way into the Round of 16 with a 4-3 penalty kick victory over fellow Challenge members Ansan Police. The 86th minute goal that drew Chungju level and sent the match to extra time was scored by the man that is easily their MVP, Cho Suk-jae. Currently tied with Suwon FC's Japa for second in the Challenge Golden Boot with 9 goals, Cho is all of 22 years old and is definitely one to watch now and for the future. Though Chungju isn't exactly scoring goals in bunches, Cho's name is usually on the scoreboard when they do. The Dragons backline has been better of late and finally nabbed a clean sheet this past weekend, but they'll have their hands full with Cho Suk-jae should they allow him any space.

Combine this offensive threat with the likely resting of Oršić, Ristić, and Lee Jong-ho, and the Dragons could be in for an upsetting night. That said, a mid-week match against a lower division opponent should be the perfect opportunity for players like Leandro Lima and Jeon Hyeon-chul to step in and fill the offensive void. Both players have shown flashes of inspiration this season with a goal a piece in only 8 appearances for Jeon, and 10 for Lima. It's earned them each three starts on the year, and I'd expect to see them go the full 90 against Chungju.

The Dragons don't travel well, but they should still be able to pull off the win against a struggling lower division team. Look for them to press early and try to get a goal to establish themselves and potentially sit back a bit to rest players. Unfortunately, that can run the risk of allowing too much possession and space on the field for Chungju to play with and getting burned. So here's hoping they score early, but not too early.

Prediction: 2-0 Dragons

2 comments

  1. Hi mate, You've got the wrong Ulsan:) It's the N-League team Ulsan Mipo who you would play. Also by my count Joo-mes has 15 goals in the Challenge. 11 in the last 9 games. Cho Homework is a decent player though :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the fact check. I originally thought it was the Dolphins, but got some bad info here: http://us.soccerway.com/national/korea-republic/fa-cup/2015/s11256/final-stages/. Should've trusted the KFA website didn't have a typo. Don't know how I overlooked Joo Min-kyu's 5 additional goals... I'll contribute it to being tired and trolling for some Seoul E-Land comments.

      Anyway, both are fixed now. Cheers!

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