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Preview: Seoul E-Land VS Gwangju FC


Consistency is key in football, and no truer words could have been said for Seoul-Eland on Sunday. After an entertaining 2-2 draw against Busan, Seoul’s second club traveled down to Daejeon, in the search for their first win of the season. They came back with no points and two suspensions. This week, they face last season’s K League 1 dropouts Gwangju. On paper, this doesn’t stir so well for Seoul E-Land, but Gwangju have been far from clinical, with only two points in the first three games of 2018. .
(image via facebook.com/SeoulEland)

Last Time Out

Seoul E-Land faced fellow struggling side Daejeon Citizen on Sunday afternoon. The team played exceptionally well against Busan I’Park, so fans were expecting, at least a draw from the encounter. After a lackluster first half, the game became interesting as VAR reared its head once again. After a long pause, the footage convinced the referee to send off E-Land number six, Ahn Ji-ho for a reckless challenge. The game went from bad to worse for the leopards, as Choi Han-sol gave away a penalty in the 72nd minute, resulting in a second yellow card, and bringing E-Land down to nine men. Pedro stepped up for Daejeon and slotted home the only goal of the game. Seoul, never looked confident in the game, failing to string any real attack and passes together. We saw the debut of Daniel Febles, coming on as a substitute in the second half. Febles looked good on holding the ball and trying to create chances, maybe a glimmer of hope in a poor, poor performance.

Gwangju’s fortunes have not fared much better either; their first two games resulted in 0-0 stalemates against Anyang and Seongnam respectively. Last week’s game saw a 2-1 defeat against the in-form side, Bucheon 1995. Bucheon’s man of the moment, William Popp converted from the penalty spot in the 61st minute, then Gong Min-hyun made it 2-0 only a minute later. Gwangju pulled one back in the dying minutes of the game, an 87th-minute goal from Serbian, Srđan Vujaklija. Vujaklija’s goal was the first for Gwangju this season, maybe a sign that they are lacking creativity up front.

Previous Meetings

As a quick side note, due to Seoul E-Land playing their first season in the second division in 2015, the same year Gwangju was promoted, the two teams have actually never played one another competitively. Hopefully, for this occasion, we can see a lot better performance from both sides, and a memorable game for both fans.

Team News

Seoul E-Land, as of Wednesday successfully appealed against Choi Han-sol's dismissal last week. After video analysis concluded that his second foul which caused the penalty, did not warrant a second booking in the game. They will, however, still need to make a change in Ahn Ji-ho, as his suspension still stands. Ji-ho’s absence will probably result in the back two of Kim Jae-hyeon and Jeon Ming-wang, who have both played in that position this season.

A positive for the team is that Daniel Febles looks fit and ready to join in the action for the side. Febles came on in the second half last week. Han-sol’s suspension could lead to Febles getting the nod to make his first start for the club. A certainty for the leopards will be Choi Oh-back and Diego Bielkiewicz, who have both been in good form, despite the results. With the possibility of Bielkiewicz and Febles both starting for E-Land, we could possibly see the start of In Chang-soo’s vision for the season.

The Adversary

Gwangju, drop back to the second division of Korean football, after three years in the top flight. Gwangju managed to only muster six wins in their last season of the K league classic and a total of 30 points. The team have continued their poor form this year, failing to pick up a win in the first three games, and looking for any type of revival back to the top seems scarce.

For the casual, unaware of Gwangju FC, their major talking point of last season was the signing of Northern Ireland international Niall McGinn. McGinn arrived in Korea the same time I did in June 2017. With only 7 starts and no goals for the side, McGinn that is, not myself, he decided to pack his bags and return back to Aberdeen. Gwangju and Niall mutually canceled their contract in November. McGinn only managed 5 months at the Korean side, which doesn’t leave the best impression on how Gangju are run as a club for further foreign exports. .


Prediction

The two sides were both in poor form last season. Seoul E-Land have already failed to pick up points where they should have last week, and Gwangju have still yet to show a bounce back from relegation. I was optimistic before the game last week after E-Land’s draw against Busan, but their loss to Daejeon proves their unpredictability.

Gwangju however, still are yet to start this season, and they may continue that trait when they travel up to Jamsil on Saturday. The two teams have never played one another before, there is no past record, so this makes predicting this very difficult this week, but I will predict this week on performances of the two teams as a whole so far.

Seoul E-Land 0-0 Gwangju FC



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