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Recap: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 3-1 Suwon FC

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors right winger Han Kyo-won carried on his rich vein of form by scoring his fifth goal across all competitions against Suwon FC. (Photo Credit: Hyundai-MotorsFC.com)
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors right winger Han Kyo-won carried on his rich vein of form by scoring his fourth goal across all competitions against Suwon FC. (Photo Credit: Hyundai-MotorsFC.com)
With most K-League supporter's attention understandably focused on the other Suwon team's exploits againss FC Seoul, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors played host to a highly entertaining game against Suwon FC at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium, winning by three goals to one.

As overwhelming favourites coming into this match, there should have been little to no doubt about the final scoreline. However, the champions have failed to light up the league this year, failing to win by more than one goal across domestic competition. Facing a Suwon FC side who have fought valiantly at time this season, this fixture had the potential to be yet another banana skin for the men in green.

With the prospect of FC Seoul slipping up at Suwon Bluewings in the 3pm kick-off, Choi Kang-hee started with a strong midfield and attack. Han Kyo-won, having bagged himself an ACL goal as well as two in the previous K-League match against Sangju Sangmu, was rightly given a starting berth whilst Lopes took up residency on the left wing. Lee Dong-gook spearheaded the attack with Lee Jae-sung sitting behind. Central midfield saw Ki Bo-kyung and Jang Yun-ho continued their promising partnership from the Seongnam and FC Tokyo games.

The defence saw the biggest changes. Usual defensive stalwarts Lim Jong-eun and Choi Chul-soon took up their positions in the centre and right-wing respectively, whereas Choi Jae-soo was opted to start down the left and a first start of the year being handed to central defender Kim Young-chan against his former club.

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors Starting Eleven vs Suwon FC (Image generated using Line-Up 11 app)
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors Starting Eleven vs Suwon FC (Image generated using Line-Up 11 app)
Suwon made four changes to the team that drew against Incheon the previous week. They lined up with Jung Min-woo returning to the squad to lead the attack, ex-Jeonbuk man Lee Seung-hyun on the right and Kim Boo-kwan given his first start of the year on the left. Spanish midfielder Jaime Gavilan occupied the centre with Kim Jae-woong returning to the team to partner him. The defence consisted of Hwang Jae-hun, Vladan Adzic, Adrian Leijer and Kim Han-won. Goalkeeper Lee In-soo was handed also his second start of the season after keeping a clean sheet last week.

Suwon FC Starting Eleven vs. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (Image generated using Line-up 11 app)
Suwon FC Starting Eleven vs. Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (Image generated using Line-up 11 app)
It took approximately eleven minutes to see the first signs of life from the champions. A bouncing ball into the box saw seasoned striker Lee Dong-gook hit his half volley against the Suwon crossbar. He was not to be denied for long though, and when Kim Bo-kyung fell theatrically in the box (even though there was contact), the man who celebrated his 37th birthday on Friday, ensured he put his team ahead from the spot.

Lee Dong-gook was recently voted 15th in Four Four Two's Top 50 Asian players in the world, and subsequently the best in the K-League. Whether the decision is controversial or not, without their talisman, Jeonbuk would nowhere near be as good as they are. It's a dilemma for the near future, but for now the fans are just happy to have his name still on the team and score sheets.

Two minutes later, Brazilian striker linked up with Lee Jae-sung to pull of a delightful one-two before firing home a powerful drive from the edge of the box into the bottom right corner. The ex-Jeju man has been improving a lot in recent weeks and will be expecting to start when Jeonbuk host Jiangsu in next week's crucial ACL match. Choi Kang-hee will be hoping his scoring run continues.

Four minutes later and Jeonbuk scored again. Neat passing play toward the right-hand channel played through Han Kyo-won on goal. The midfielder proceeded to blast the ball past the keeper from a very difficult angle. The 25 year-old seemed as if he would get overlooked with all of Jeonbuk's recent transfer influx. However, with now his 3rd goal in 2 consecutive games and an assist in Tokyo, in addition to scoring a delightful goal and being a silver lining during an otherwise torrid trip to Vietnam, it seems the ex-Incheon man is taking advantage of the line-up uncertainties and the struggle for some new players to bed in. He continues to show his manager that he can still be a reliable and threatening present on the pitch. If his competition for Wednesday was not Leonardo, he would be a shoe-in for yet another start. The Jeonbuk coach will have a difficult decision to make midweek.

Suwon quickly proceeded to try and reduce the deficit, firing wide with shots from both Gavilan and Kim Boo-kwan. When an indirect free kick was awarded just before the 45 minute mark however, Gavilan's ball into the box was met by the unmarked head of Vladan Adzic who converted his opportunity. Replays show he was originally being marked by Jeonbuk defender Lim Jong-eun who proceeded to run ahead of him into what he deemed the ball's flight path, offering the man from Montenegro plenty of space when the ball swung towards him. 

The second half saw the manager proceed to remove players in order to rest them for Wednesday. Lee Jae-sung was removed at half time for Lee Jong-ho. Usual striker replacement Kim Shin-wook was not available having still not fully recovered from the injury that kept him out against Sangju.

Jeonbuk came out sharply after the break, having two notable chances within the first five minutes. Lopes attempted a bicycle kick that went clear over the bar and Lee Dong-gook hit a fierce scissor kick from close range, but unfortunately his acrobatic effort when straight to the Suwon keeper. The two attacking players both continued to cause problems later having two long range efforts denied by the Suwon keeper.

Despite these encouraging opportunities though, it was clear Jeonbuk were wanting to see the game with no injuries ahead of the Jiangsu match. The game was marred though by an incident in the 83rd minute when Lee Ju-yong (who had replaced Choi Jae-soo twenty minutes earlier) was given a second yellow card for apparent time-wasting. The defender looked bemused as he lined up to take the free-kick before the whistle rang out and the referee ran over to produce the yellow. Despite the protests of other players and coaching staff the young defender was asked to leave the field and will now be unavailable for selection in the game against Suwon Bluewings.

Suwon were given the chance to reduce the deficit in the 92nd minute when substitute Kim Hyuk-jin capitalised on the empty space he found himself in and proceeded to strike a half-volley with force direct at the keeper, which Kwoun Sun-tae saved with ease but unknowingly played it back out to the midfielder for another point blank. Again, the Jeonbuk keepers quick reactions ensured the the shot was parried wide.

Overall, an exciting and entertaining game for Jeonbuk, marred by a controversial sending off in the final ten minutes. A promising warm-up with a first half performance they will look to replicate against Ramires and co when Jiangsu Suning fly over for the final ACL group game. Jeonbuk will need a point to progress and stand a good chance if they can continue as they have done today.

Final Score: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 3-1 Suwon FC

Highlights can be viewed from SPOTV here.

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