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Preview: FC Seoul Vs Gangwon FC

FC Seoul's home opener of the 2018 campaign sees those clad in red and black welcome Gangwon FC to Sangam on Sunday. Whereas Sunday's visitors got off to a winning start last time out, Seoul will looking to get their season up and running following last week's stalemate with Jeju United. With an expectant home crowd watching on, FC Seoul manager Hwang Sunhong will hoping that his new look strike force can help get Seoul off the mark in 2018 come Sunday.
(image via Yonhap/Naver)


from soccerway,com

Last Time Out

Jeju United 0-0 FC Seoul

Last time out a much-changed FC Seoul side drew a blank in a 0-0 stalemate with last year's K League 1 runners up Jeju United. Given the upheaval that Seoul had endured during the off-season, all eyes were on whom would be replacing the likes of Dejan, Yun Illok and Osmar, to name but a few. In came new signing Anderson Lopes on the right flank, Park Chuyoung was deployed as the lone striker with Go Yohan on the left wing.

Seoul struggled for ideas for the majority of the afternoon and with Plan A not working, Hwang moved Anderson down the centre and Park Chuyoung back to the wing where he spent most of last season. Hwang then resorted to Plan C in the form of Park Heeseong, the towering centre forward making his return from a spell with Sangju, who came on to replace Park Chuyoung but, despite going close with a glancing header late on, the deadlock remained unbroken.

Full match report: here

Gangwon FC 2-1 Incheon United

Sunday's visitors to Sangam Gangwon FC began their season with a 2-1 win along with a convincing performance against Incheon United. Recent acquisition Uroš Đerić had a debut to remember for the Chuncheon-based outfit, laying on an assist for Kim Seungyong for Gangwon's opener before getting on the scoresheet himself just after the hour mark. The Bosnia and Herzegovina-born striker chased down the error prone Incheon goalkeeper Lee Jinhyung to block the custodian's clearance. With the ball sitting up nicely for Đerić, Gangwon's number 55 swiftly lifted the ball into the six yard box on the half volley for Kim Seungyong to convert from close range.

Gangwon's second goal was extremely well-worked with the powerful and influential Diego playing a key role. Gangwon's top scorer in 2017 picked up the ball and drove it into the path Lee Keunho who expertly found Đerić in the penalty area. The 25-year-old Serbian duly slotted the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-0. Gangwon conceded seven minutes later, though, with Incheon's new hitman Stefan Mugoša finishing emphatically after some defensive errors on Gangwon's part.

Newly appointed K League Coach delved into how and why the goal was conceded in this first instalment where zonal vs man marking is discussed: here

Previous Meetings

FC Seoul fans will not need, nor want, to be reminded of the last time these two sides faced each other. At the tail end of the 2017 season FC Seoul suffered a heavy and extremely damaging 4-0 loss away to Gangwon, effectively killing off any hopes of ACL qualification for 2018. Kim Seungyong got Gangwon up and running with a goal just before the interval before Kim Chaneui doubled Gangwon's advantage on 77. A lacklustre FC Seoul side shipped two more goals late on; the first to Han Kookyoung on 85 minutes before Lee Keunho made it 4-0 in time added on.

The last time Gangwon visited Sangam Seoul ran out 3-1 winners, however. A Dejan strike just shy of the hour mark put Seoul ahead before Diego levelled just three minutes thereafter. Then, with a draw seeming to be the most likely outcome, central defender Hwang Hyunsoo restored Seoul's lead on 85 minutes before former Bluewing Lee Sangho made it 3-1 in the first minute of stoppage time.

Overall, FC Seoul have faced Gangwon FC on 14 occasions but, rather interestingly, the two sides have never drawn. Seoul have 11 wins compared to Gangwon's three with two of those victories taking place just last year. On 20th May 2017 Gangwon sealed a 3-2 at win at Sangam thanks to goals from Lee Keunho, former Seoul striker Jung Jogook, and Diego, with Dejan and Park Chuyoung on target for Seoul.

Team News

Brazilian forward Evandro was somewhat conspicuous by his absence from FC Seoul's squad that travelled to Jeju last Thursday. It is believed that the former Daegu man is currently injured and so FC Seoul fans will have to wait a few weeks before they see their new signing don the red and black jersey.

According to sources Hwang Sunhong was pleased with the draw against Jeju and so may be reluctant to consider a re-shuffle, despite how flat his side looked in the final third at Seogwipo. Should the former Pohang Steelers gaffer feel the need to rotate he has the likes of Yoon Seungwon as well as Kovacec waiting in the wings. Likewise, promising youngster Cho Youngwook will also be hoping for more minutes having made a cameo appearance from the bench against Jeju.

For Gangwon, Australian defender Dylan McGowan will be looking for his first start since joining on loan from Portuguese outfit Paços de Ferreira. The Socceroo had to settle for a place on the bench for Gangwon's win over Incheon, eventually replacing Hwang Jinsung midway through the second half. Meanwhile, former FC Seoul striker Jung Jogook may miss out on a return to his former club. The veteran striker, who signed for Gangwon before the 2017 season, has fallen down the pecking order somewhat at Songam Stadium and so watched on from the sidelines against Incheon.

The Adversary

Despite Gangwon FC manager Song Kyungseop setting his side up with a 4-4-2 formation for their season opener against Incheon United last time out, last season Gangwon predominantly set up in a 4-3-3 formation. This 4-3-3 enabled Gangwon to beat FC Seoul not once but twice last term, including once at Seoul World Cup Stadium.

Coach Song will have somewhat of a welcomed selection headache ahead of Sunday's game with Brazilian forward Diego's performance at the weekend doing no harm in his case to start more games. Diego's direct style and power could cause Seoul problems if the Brazilian's movement isn't tracked. With Lee Keunho and Diego, it may seem as more of a fluid front three with Uroš Đerić.

Given Seoul's lack of firepower throughout pre-season and indeed against Jeju last week, Gangwon 'keeper Kim Hojun may prove to be a tough test for the likes of Park Chuyoung and co. The former Jeju United stopper had a very solid debut, making some sterling saves to keep a determined Incheon at bay throughout.

Who To Watch

Diego - whilst Gangwon do have one or two others who Seoul ought to be concerned with, Lee Keunho and recent signing Uroš Đerić for instance, but with his pace, power and movement, Diego is a player that could cause Hwang Sunhong's men some problems. Despite only starting seven times last year, Diego managed to get on the scoresheet on 13 occasions. The 26-year-old was in from the start during Gangwon's 2-1 win over Incheon at the weekend, operating from the left wing despite being predominantly right footed. Diego likes to cut in and and make runs into central positions from wide areas with pace. There's a certain unpredictability to his game and if Seoul aren't careful, it could be do their detriment should the Rio de Janiero born forward be allowed to drift in.


Gangwon looked impressive and assured against Incheon, playing football with a certain swagger and confidence that FC Seoul just didn't seem to have in their own season opener. Also, in front of an expectant home crowd FC Seoul will be under pressure to get off the mark and pick up their first three points of the season. If Seoul can take advantage of any set pieces they have then this could be an area to exploit as the KLU Coach pointed out point out recently. Seoul drew a blank last time out but with their home crowd behind them it could be the difference between one point and three.

FC Seoul 2-1 Gangwon FC

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