Preview: Daegu FC Vs Daejeon Citizen
|Gustavo watches on as Kim Sun-Min has the ball in his sight versus Gangwon. Credit: DCFC.co.kr|
The same cannot be said for their opponents Daegu FC, however, who are one of the five teams that are still in with a chance of automatic promotion should they secure victory over the Purples.
For Citizen, this season was one of anticipation with many expecting the Purples to be "there or there abouts" come October but, ultimately, it became a season of little substance with few positives for the Daejeon supporters to take solace in.
The lethal goal scoring touch of Kim Dong-Chan being one, not to mention the ingenuity and brilliance of Brazilian forward Gustavo, the energy and intensity of Kim Sun-Min and some moments of magic from his prodigal sidekick Hwang In-Beom, for instance.
Likewise, with the commanding and assertive Jean-Claude Bozga, a solid a foundation as you're likely to find in the Challenge, would suggest that Daejeon had the tools to mount a serious promotion push.
Unfortunately, however, Citizen have fallen short, with their away form being a huge factor has to why they have underachieved.
Ultimately, it's Daejeon's away form that has cost them with the dramatic last minute win against Gangwon a fortnight ago being only the Purples' fifth away victory in 2016 which, compared to Sunday's opponents Daegu who have lost a mere three games on the road this year, paints a picture in itself.
In terms of the final standings, Daejeon are guaranteed to finish seventh regardless of Sunday's result but they could still have a say in where other teams do.
Accordingly, Gangwon, Bucheon and Busan will all be hoping that Citizen can cause an upset and path the way for the chasing pack of Gangwon, Busan and Bucheon.
K League Challenge Final Day Preview click: here
Through sheer coincidence, Daejeon and Daegu actually faced each other on the opening day of the season.
But, the travelling Daejeon fans will be hopeful that they don't witness a repeat of what occurred on that sunny spring afternoon in Daejeon when the two sides meet this Sunday.
At the end of March, Daejeon suffered a 2-0 reverse to their Gyeongsangbuk Province counterparts, in a game which saw no fewer than 12 Citizen players make their debuts.
An early goal from Eder unsettled Daejeon who, with so many players making their K League bow, found it hard to develop a rhythm.
Seemingly taking advantage of such was Brazilian forward Paulo Serginho made it two just shy of the half hour mark to seal the points for the visitors.
The last time Citizen made the trip to Daegu was in July when Daejeon again suffered another defeat whilst conceding two goals in the process.
This time, however, it was Daejeon who took the lead when Brazilian utility man Wanderson struck early after the restart.
His fellow countryman Cesinha leveled a mere two minutes later before yet Jung Woo-Jae broke Daejeon hearts with a 90th minute winner.
The most recent meeting was a a 1-1 stalemate with a penalty kick a piece from Kim Dong-Chan and Paulo Serginho in each half ensuring the points where shared.
In total, Daejeon and Daegu have faced off 42 times with Daejeon having the edge slightly with 14 wins compared to Daegu's 12 and 17 draws.
Daejeon will have Jang Joon-Young available for selection after the young defender served a one match ban for accumulating three cautions and could slot back in to partner Jean Claude-Bozga.
As for Daegu, Kim Dong-Jin is back in contention after the defender sat out the away victory over Gyeongnam through a suspension of his own.