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Preview: Seoul E-Land Vs Daejeon Citizen

Monday night sees Daejeon Citizen take on Seoul E-Land at Jamsil in a game where the bottom two go head-to-head. With the K League Challenge reaching its half way point, and Daejeon Citizen propping up the table the pressure is beginning to mount on the Purples' manager Lee Youngik. A defeat would see Citizen well and truly cut adrift with five points already separating these two sides. If Citizen are to claw their way up the table, beating the team immediately above them ought to be considered a must.

image from Interfootball via KLeague.com

Last Time Out

Last Saturday Daejeon Citizen failed to build on their win over Suwon FC the following week by falling to a 2-1 defeat at home to fellow strugglers Ansan Greeners. Before Saturday's game Ansan had been without a win in their last five but thanks to a lacklustre second half display, the Green Wolves dispatched the Purples all too easily.

Greeners' top scorer Raul opened the scoring just after the hour mark with a close-range effort before Park Hansu doubled the visitors advantage 11 minutes later.

Georgian winger Levan did pull one back for Citizen but, in the 91st minute, it proved to be scant consolation for Lee Youngik's side.

Seoul E-Land played out a 2-2 draw away to Suwon FC, twice surrendering their lead and conceding in added on time.

Cho Hyangki had E-Land 1-0 up just after the restart before Hwang Jaehoon levelled for Suwon with 61 minutes on the clock.

Gam Hansol restored E-Land's advantage but in the 92nd minute Baek Sungdong levelled with his second league goal of the season to see the spoils shared.

Opinion - Over and Out

With Citizen currently propping up the Challenge table, five points behind Monday's opponents E-Land and 17 points off the playoffs, it is perhaps wise to admit that the 2017 season is a complete and total write-off for the Purples. Barring some sort of miracle, Daejeon aren't returning to the Classic this year and with Lee Youngik at the helm, perhaps not any time soon either.

Why are Daejeon doing so badly, then? Quite simply, the manager Lee Youngik is not up to the task of guiding the team up the table and spear-heading a promotion push. Lee, who was appointed in the winter following the departure of Choi Moonsik, was Gyeongnam FC's number two and is making his managerial bow with Daejeon.

His time is up at Purple Arena, his scatter-gun selection policy is hurting the team and his inability to find positions/roles for key players like Hwang Inbeom, Lee Hoseok and Kim Taebong, as well as his failure to utilise Cristian Danalache effectively his seriously hindering the team and indeed the football club.
Kim Eunjung 2001 FA Cup Final

But, as 26th president of the United States Theodore Roosevelt once said "complaining about a problem without posing a solution is called whining" and so, a proposed solution would be to replace Lee Youngik with Kim Eunjung. One doesn't want to whine, one merely wants to see Daejeon win.

Kim is a Daejeon legend and, although it could be perhaps considered damaging for someone who is held in such high regard by the Purple Arena faithful to make their management bow in such circumstances, the notion of appointing him as manager bears little risk.

Daejeon cannot be relegated this season so there really isn't an awful lot to lose in giving him a short-term deal until the end of the year. If "Sharp", as he is referred to by the Citizen fans, succeeds then a more long-term deal could be discussed.

Image from Naver Sports 

In the mean time, Daejeon quite simply need fresh ideas and with Kim having gained coaching experience in Belgium with AFC Tubize, he could be the ideal man to give the place a much-needed lift and lead the Purples out of this dark spell.

Previous Meetings

Daejeon Citizen picked up their first of two wins this season when the two sides met at Purple Arena back in March. In round 3 of the 2017 K League Challenge campaign, Cristian Danalache gave the Purples an early lead from the penalty spot with just five minutes on the clock. Choi Chiwon levelled on 27 minutes before Lee Hoseok netted Daejeon's winner just shy of the hour mark.

Daejeon's last trip to Jamsil, almost a year ago, resulted in a 1-1 draw with Hwang Inbeom on the scoresheet for what was then Choi Moonsik's side. Carlisle Mitchell levelled in time added on at the end of the first half to ensure of a draw.

In total, there have been five previous meetings between Seoul E-Land and Daejeon Citizen with two wins each and one draw.

Team News

Lee Hoseok is back in contention for Daejeon Citizen following his one-match suspension which saw the former Gyeongnam man sit out the defeat to Ansan last week. Promising youngster Kang Yunsung could also be back in contention with the Korea U20 international back in training following an unspecified injury.

Kim Taeeun could face his old club, having made the switch from Jamsil to Purple Arena over the winter. The defender is one yellow card away from a suspension having picked up five cautions already this term.

New defensive recruits Park Jusung and Jeon Sanghoon, who both signed from Gyeongnam on Wednesday, won't be available until the transfer window officially opens on June 28th.

E-Land have no suspensions for the visit of Daejeon but have no fewer than five players currently on two yellows for the campaign.

The Adversary - Seoul E-Land

Much like Daejeon, E-Land have found wins hard to come by in 2017 having only picked up maximum points in three games. Lead by Kim Byungsoo, E-Land have lined up in a number of formations, at the beginning of the campaign E-Land lined up in a 4-2-3-1 with either Lovinho, Kim Minkyu (on loan from Ulsan), or Shim Youngsung spear-heading the attack. Kim Juntae and Japanese midfielder Atskui relative main-stays in midfield. Geum Kyojin at right back and Kim Jaehyeon at centre back in front of Kim Youngkwang in goal are all regulars in Coach Kim's back line.

More recently Seoul E-Land have gone for either a  a 4-3-3 or a 3-4-3 formation but having been away from home for their last six matches, Coach Kim may opt for a similar system to that he used in E-Land's last home game - a 4-2-1-3 in a 2-2 draw against FC Anyang.

The former Yeungnam University manager, Kim Byungsoo has tinkered with the formations somewhat in his first season as a K League manager having used a 3-5-2 (Vs Gyeongnam at home and Anyang at home in May) or a 3-4-1-2 (vs Seongnam in early May) or a 4-2-1-3 vs Asan at the end of April) or a 4-2-3-1 (vs Suwon FC and FC Anyang in April), or a 4-2-3-1 (vs Busan IPark away).

Who To Watch

Atsuki Wada, a Japanese midfielder signed from J-2 side Kyoto Sanga over the winter, has featured heavily for Seoul E-Land this term. The 24-year-old from Kobe has largely played behind the front three, when Coach Kim has set his side up in an attacking manner, or he has helped to anchor the midfield alongside Kim Juntae and has managed to score twice, ensuring him as E-Land's joint top scorer.


Although there is not relegation from the K League Challenge, this game is a must-not lose affair for Daejeon Citizen. If the Purples do suffer defeat in Jamsil, the gap at the bottom will be too much to claw back and, surely, it would mean it is time for manager Lee Youngik to consider his position.

E-Land will know that the game against a team devoid of confidence is very much a winnable one and so I would expect the Olympic Stadium inhabitants to take the came to their Daejeon counterparts. A narrow home win for E-Land looks the most likely outcome.

Seoul E-Land 1-0 Daejeon Citizen

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