Preview: Gyeongnam FC Vs Daejeon Citizen
|Towering defender Jean-Claude Bozga is just one yellow away from another suspension. Credit: DCFC.co.kr|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2016|
|Game Week:||Round 38|
|Venue:||Changwon Football Stadium|
Wednesday's defeat away to Ansan has certainly made a top four finish seem extremely unlikely for Daejeon, with the gap between the Purples and fourth -Gangwon now eight points.
But, due to the complications that surround this year's promotion and playoff spots, Citizen still have a realistic chance of finishing fifth and therefore could still be in with a chance of playing top flight football next year.
Up next for the Purples is a trip to Gyeongsangnam Province to take on Gyeongnam, a side that based on form alone, would be talking about promotion possibilities themselves.
Match fixing allegations lead to a 10 points deduction and, as a result, almost defintely another season in the K League Challenge.
However, had it not have been for said points deduction, Gyeongnam would be on 50 points and in fifth.
With that in mind, coupled with Daejeon's away form, Saturday's encounter is likely to be a tricky one for the Purples.
Daejeon's home form has been one of the best in the Challenge, with just three home reverses all season.
However, the same cannot be said for their fortunes on the road as Citizen have only only been able to muster a mere three away league victories in 2016 and a paltry five away wins in nearly two seasons.
Daejeon's three away wins this term have been at the expense of struggling Goyang and Chungju, two sides that have found victories hard to come by.
In their relegation season of 2015 Citizen pulled off somewhat of an upset by beating K League Classic runners up Suwon Bluewings at Big Bird before seeing off the challenge of Gwangju later that year, both games finished 2-1.
It would perhaps go without saying that Gyeongnam are the bookies favourites for this one.
Citizen's last trip to Gyeongnam produced one of the season's most dramatic matches, with both sides sharing eight goals and the points.
In June Daejeon made the long trip to Gyeongsangnam Province hoping to end their run of four games without a win.
Unfortunately for Citizen it wasn't to be, and after being 3-0 down after just 27 minutes, it appeared as thought it was going to be a long trip back to Daejeon afterwards.
Goals from Lee Ho-Seok, Ahn Sung-Nam and Cristian Danalache had the home side in complete control inside half an hour but their strong lead didn't last an awful lot longer.
On 32 minutes Kim Sun-Min pulled one back for Daejeon before Jean-Claude Bozga added Daejeon's second just seven minutes later.
A three minute Wanderson brace turned the game on its head to put Citizen in front only for Danalache to equalise for Gyeongnam to spare Gyeongnam's blushes.
Daejeon, however, were able to celebrate victory when the sides last faced each other, back in August at Purple Arena.
Jin Dae-Sung, Gustavo, and Kim Dong-Chan had Daejeon three goals to the good with strikes on 38, 50, and 60 minutes respectively in what was a complete performance from Choi Moon-Sik's side.
Daejeon, despite being in total control, conceded a late consolation with Cristian Danalache on hand to reduce the deficit for the visitors.
Miraculously, Daejeon were successfully able to avoid picking up any more yellow cards on Wednesday night against Ansan meaning that the Purples will have their leading scorer Kim Dong-Chan and indeed towering defender Jean-Claude Bozga available for selection.
The pair are just one booking away from a suspension with the latter on a league leading 11 cautions for the season thus far.
Defender Woo-Hyun is likely to miss out through injury, however.
Gyeongnam will welcome back Cristian Danalache, who missed the away win over Bucheon last weekend through suspension.
The Romanian has proven to be as thorn in Daejeon's side having found the net against Citizen four times already this term.
Defender Ivan Hercig will miss out, however with the Croatian ruled out due to suspension having picked up his third yellow card of the campaign in the aforementioned win over Bucheon.