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Preview: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Gwangju FC

Saturday evening sees top of the table Jeonbuk once again take on cellar dwellers Gwangju FC as the title chasers look to correct a recent wobble of bad results. However, with fear that survival may escape them in recent weeks, Gwangju are in desperate need of points to keep up with those around them. With their manager Nam Ki-il having resigned this week, and replaced by former Seongnam FC manager Kim Hak-bum, will their be an improvement in results?
(Photo Credit: Hyundai-MotorsFC.com)

Last Time Out

Last weekend saw Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors fail to overcome their inconsistent local rivals Jeonnam Dragons in the Jeolla Derby. Despite hitting the post early on through Brazilian Lopes, and later the crossbar via a Lee Jae-sung header, Jeonbuk did not break their opponent's resolve until just before half time, when striker Edu picked up on some poor defending and delicately placed his shot into the far corner.

The visitors' lead only lasted thirteen minutes into the second half, when young centre back Kim Min-jae scuffed his clearance into the path of Jeonnam's Hyun Young-min who crossed in for Jair to head home unmarked at the far post. Both teams went on to have numerous chances to claim all three points, with the North Jeolla side bringing on additional strike power in the form of Lee Dong-gook and Kim Shin-wook. However, victory was not to be and perhaps a shared point was a deserved result for both teams.

Highlights of Jeonnam 1-1 Jeonbuk can be viewed here.

Gwangju played host to fellow relegation battlers Daegu FC in what was one of mulitple "six-pointer" clashes last weekend. Despite early pressure from the home side, it was the visitors who had looked to have taken the lead when Cesinha broke the offside trap and chipped the keeper, for the referee to rightly chalk it off due to controlling the ball with his hand. Gwangju would also manage to hit the inside of the post in their search of a goal, but had to make do with 0-0 at half time, despite signs of encouragement.

The second half however saw a much improved Daegu side come out, with Gwangju keeper Yoon Bo-sang seemingly being the only player stopping them from taking the lead. In the 89th minute however, after yet another decent Yoon save, a rebound shot ricocheted off a Gwangju defender and a penalty was given. Daegu's recently signed Junior Negao would take the spot kick only for it to be saved again by the Gwangju keeper. This time though, there was no getting to the rebound, handing all three points to the visitors despite a resilient display.

Highlights of Gwangju 0-1 Daegu FC can be viewed here.

Team News

Having picked up his sixth yellow card of the season, Jeonbuk central midfielder Jeong Hyuk will be unavailable for selection. There is only one injury of note, Lee Yong is still struggling with a long term injury and will continue to have Choi Chul-soon fill in for him at right back.

Gwangju will be unable to select central midfielder Olivier Bonnes due to suspension after he collected his third yellow card the campaign against Daegu. Having featured heavily for Gwangju, it will not be welcome news to their newly installed manager come Saturday.

The Adversary

As touched upon, the big news for Gwangju is their change in management. Nam Ki-il resigned on Monday, citing poor results and the need for a change in order for the club to navigate themselves away from the drop. The manager admitted the decision was reacher after a meeting with players and the club was held to find a solution.

In Nam's place steps Kim Hak-bum, former Seongnam FC man who was once lauded for his achievements with the magpies, coming in and steering them clear of relegation in 2014 and leading them to an FA Cup, before having a significant hand in their historic relegation last season, being sacked before the season was out. Kim was often derided last season for his negative tactics, especially for a team that had boasted the likes of Tiago early on. However, his conservatism could just be what Gwangju need in order to scrape points together. His arrival may bring about a much needed dose of pragmatism and experience in these difficult times.

Gwangju are on a horrendous run of form, collecting one win and six losses in their last seven league games, plus conceding a lead to crash out of the FA Cup. That said, they look like a team capable of creating opportunities, but are still yet to find a way of converting them into much needed goals. Gwangju have scored 21 times in 25 matches this season, the lowest in the league.

The team are still also yet to reap the benefits of recently acquired Niall McGinn, but the player has needed time having come straight into the club off the back of an Scottish Premier League season and had no pre-season with his Gwangju teammates. This, combined with the large changes in environment and climate, have probably had quite an affect on his bedding in process but his recent starts would suggest he is becoming ready when Gwangju will need him most.

Song Sung-min and Cho Ju-yong still remain the top scorers for the season, but summer signing Wanderson also looks to be settling in, scoring two since his arrival and having a wealth of other opportunities. The tallies may still not be much, but supporters will hope that if their team can continue to create chances, they still may just avoid slipping out of the division.


The upheaval in management may serve to help Gwangju as the rest of the campaign plays out, but most likely when the three week international break commences after this weekend. Jeonbuk are in need of three points to regain control in this title race and will likely see the visit of Gwangju as a much welcome pick-me-up after their last two disappointing outings.

Predicted Scoreline: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2-0 Gwangju FC

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