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Writers' Chat: Jeonnam Dragons v Daegu FC

The Jeonnam Dragons entertain Daegu FC this Saturday at 7 pm in Gwangyang. Unbeaten in their last six matches, the Dragons will be confident of extending that run and securing all three points against a free-falling Daegu side. However, Daegu, desperate  for the three points themselves, will be hopeful their Samba players can provide the necessary inspiration. Jeonnam Dragons columnist Aodan Halligan sits down with his Daegu FC counterpart Muyeol Jung to discuss this weekend's relegation six-pointer in week 21 of the K-League Classic.

Aodan Asks, Muyeol Answers

Aodan Halligan: Daegu FC lost again on Wednesday 3-1 at home to Ulsan, and are on an awful run at the moment with no wins in eight games. What's wrong?

Muyeol Jung: I think we're in big trouble. One of our strengths this season has been teamwork, but it was completely destroyed after we were beaten by Suwon Bluewings 3-0. Two of our Brazilians, Cesinha and Leo Mineiro, lost their tempers during that game and were eventually sent off. Plus our Captain Park Tae-hong was out of the squad until the last round, so there were no pivots on the pitch to take control of our players and the games we were involved in.

AH: Now that the transfer window has opened, most teams – including the Dragons – have signed players. What about Daegu - any signings so far? Which areas of the team do you think require the most attention?

MJ: Unfortunately, there's been no talk of signings in the transfer window so far. I think what we need is an experienced Korean player who can control the game on the pitch, so other players stay awake till the final whistle is blown. In addition, we need an ace who can turn a game on its head with a piece of magic. Plus, we don't have enough depth in the squad and our sharpness up top fades towards the end of a game so a couple of youngsters up front wouldn't go astray. But I don't think we can afford to buy decent players, to be honest

AH: Daegu are in danger of being relegated this season, so how much pressure do you think your coach is under right now? And can you survive the drop?

MJ: Our Brazilian coach Andre Gaspar's definitely feeling the heat now because only goal difference separates us and Gwangju FC in last place. But unless we make a couple of signings, he has to make do with this squad and I don't think there's much possibility of us stopping the rot without help from the outside. So, if there are no new signings, then we will most likely be relegated I am afraid to say.

AH: Who has been your player of the season so far and which player is likely to cause the Dragons the most problems this Saturday?

MJ: The best player has been Jeong Woo-jae, a diligent wing back. Unluckily, he injured his waist and will be sidelined for 3 weeks. As you know, we are one of the teams whose attacking is very dependent on foreign players. So I assume that our three Brazilian players will start and are going to cause problems as they play better in the hot weather. If I have to make a choice, I would say Cesinha will be very threatening to your side.

AH: What’s your prediction for this weekend?

MJ: Jeonnam 2 - 1 Daegu

Muyeol Asks, Aodan Answers

Muyeol JungSince the Dragons were trashed by Jeonbuk 3-0, you have been unbeaten; in fact, you've earned five draws and one victory in your last six games. However, a few of those draws must have been disappointing because you should have taken all three points. Why have you struggled for wins recently?

Aodan Halligan: Haha, good question. Our fans, players and coach are no doubt asking the same thing! And amazingly for a team who didn't register their first tie of the season till week 15, we've now drawn five of our last six games, and the last four games in a row. We should have won one or two of those, though. The game against Pohang last weekend immediately springs to mind. Croatian midfielder Vedran Jugović put us ahead in the 30th minute and we held onto that lead for over an hour. Then deep in injury time, about the same time we conceded in the defeat to Jeonbuk in week one (we still haven't learned our lesson),  we conceded the equalizer to Yang Dong-hyun. He won't be receiving any kimchi from my mother-in-law this year, I can tell you!

Jeju United and FC Seoul also scored late equalizers against us in Gwanyang over the last few weeks, so we really need to learn how to close games out. However, we were pretty lucky in a couple of those ties. For instance, we were playing catch-up against Gangwon on Wednesday night as we fell behind twice. So Dragons' supporters were mighty relieved when Tomislav Mrčela, making his first appearance since the Jeonbuk trashing last month, scored a late equalizer. It was his first ever goal for the club and it gave us a share of the spoils. Way to go Tommy!

MJ: Jair has been on fire with 12 goals this season, while Róbert Feczesin has somewhat flattered to deceive. What's the problem? He seems pretty well settled down in the squad, judging by his appearances records.

AH: Yes, without Jair we'd be in big trouble now. Possibly bottom of the table, so I'm hoping the rumors Alex Meyer and I have been hearing about some Chinese teams being interested in him are false. As for Feczesin, it's been a couple of things really. For a start, coach Noh Sang-rae hasn't helped by chopping and changing the front line most weeks. At 31, Fec needs to get a run of games, but he's been in and out all the time. Plus, when Noh does play Feczesin, he doesn't use him properly. Clearly, Fec's legs are going, so why's he expected to lead a front three and to get on the end of a through ball over the top? He's much more effective as a target man in a front two these days, with Jair in front. Fec has provided a couple of assists for the likes of Jair and Lee Ji-nam lately, so I think he still has plenty to offer. We just need to use him properly.

MJ: Why has Kim Jae-sung joined your side? From our perspective, you are stacked with good midfielders. Who do you think Kim Jae-sung is going to replace?

AH: Going forward the midfield has been sensational this year, having scored 12 and been directly involved in most of our 33 goals. Our problem has been defense as we've only had two clean sheets all season and conceded 33 goals. So, the ex Pohang and Adelaide United star Kim Jae-sung has been brought in to try to help us stop conceding so many goals and indeed so many late goals. He's a cool experienced head for a young team, really. Kim will slot into central midfield from time to time as he did against Gangwon on Wednesday night, when he deputized for our suspended midfielder Jugović and will sometimes be used to shore things up on the wing, too. I think some of the younger guys such as Han Chan-hee and Lee Seul-chan will have to make way for him now and again.   

MJ: Prediction? 

AH: Jair, Jugović, and Choi Jae-hyun were suspended the other night and our coach decided to rest Feczesin, so I think we'll be well rested and raring to go. Plus, Daegu's away form (five draws and five defeats in ten games) has been terrible. Thus, I can see nothing other than a comfortable home win. 

Jeonnam Dragons 4-1 Daegu FC 


  1. I don't know... I'd definitely take a road win half the time. Five wins and five losses seems a pretty damn decent record to me.

    1. I think they meant to say five draws and five defeats, as Daegu fought bravely only recently at Sangam and Jeonju to earn vital points. It's one thing to take the whole season as an example, but considering that they employed a new manager who oversaw these recent draws and also a difficult point away to a resurgent Incheon, I think they are severely underestimating Daegu's fighting spirit away from home. Their last three home defeats have all came against title challengers as well in the top half of the table. A 4-1 prediction is a tad daft and could come back to haunt Aodan/Alex here, especially given Jeonnam's leaky defence (10 league games since your last clean sheet isn't it? Conceding 20 over that period. Ouch)

    2. Suppose I could've looked up Daegu's form... I will now hide my head in shame.

    3. Yeh, so I think only one person came out of this looking "a tad daft" and it certainly wasn't Aodan.

      Apologies for going a bit overboard with my above comment. Was a hell of match it seems!


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