Preview: Daejeon Citizen vs Chungju Hummel
|Park Dae-Hoon celebrates a dramatic late winner away to Gangwon. Credit: DCFC.co.kr|
With Ansan Mungunghwa ruled ineligible for promotion, Daejeon, and indeed a handful of other teams in the Challenge, were afforded a second bite of the cherry; a get out of jail free card, so to speak, and another chance of reaching the playoffs.
But, Daejeon's poor form in September, coupled with a resurgent Busan and indeed a perseverant Seoul E-Land meant that Daejeon have been condemned to another season in the second tier of Korean football.
Last weekend saw Daejeon dramatically come back from a goal down to win in stoppage time against automatic promotion chasing Gangwon.
The three points, however, merely gave the Purples a stay of execution as, thanks to Busan's midweek victory over Gangwon, Daejeon's fate was sealed.
Now mathematically out of the running, Citizen have little else other than pride to play for heading into the visit of Chungju Hummel this coming Sunday, for what will be Daejeon's last home fixture of 2016.
The Daejeon supporters will be watching on expectantly, eager to see their beloved team end the season on a positive note, although under-fire manager Choi Moon-Sik could well be fighting to save his job and so will need his players to put in a performance for him if no one else.
Chungju have struggled once again this season but surpassed everyone's expectations in last week by thrashing the league leaders Ansan 8(eight)-1.
The North Chungcheong Province-based outfit remain 10th, 18 points behind 9th placed Anyang.
The Purples have a near perfect record against Chungju, winning five of the seven games they have played, with the remaining two fixtures being stalemates.
The most recent of those meetings was in August when Citizen made the relatively short trip slightly north to Chungju.
That evening, full back Kim Hae-Sik netted his first career goal to open the scoring on 14 minutes before the league's top scorer Kim Dong-Chan doubled Citizen's advantage just shy of half time.
Kim Shin pulled one back for the home side with just over 10 minutes to go but it was too little too late.
Chungju's last visit to Purple Arena was somewhat similar, with Daejeon taking an early lead and conceding a late Kim Shin goal.
Opening the scoring this time though was Wanderson with the Brazilian utility man, now of Jeju United, putting Daejeon ahead on 15 minutes, before Gustavo doubled Daejeon's lead 15 minutes later.
Former loanee Seo Dong-Hyun, now of Suwon FC, made it three on 76 minutes before Kim Shin bagged a late consolation for Chungju
Daejeon will be without centre back Jang Jun-Young who is ruled out through suspension.
The number 20 picked up his third yellow card of the season during the 2-1 win over Gangwon last Saturday and so Choi Moon-Sik will be forced to shuffle the pack somewhat to find a defensive partner for Jean-Claude Bozga.
With Bozga only signing a one year deal with the Purples last winter, it could be the experienced centre back's last appearance at Purple Arena.
The same could be said for Kim Dong-Chan who is also out of contract this winter, whilst Jin Dae-Sung and Gustavo are merely on one-year loan deals.
For the visitors, Ivorian midfielder Kouakao is back into contention after serving his one match ban, but attacker Kim Do-Hyung will be ruled out through suspension after picking up a third booking of the season during the home defeat to E-Land on Wednesday.