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Preview: FC Seoul Vs Sangju Sangmu

Preview: FC Seoul Vs Sangju Sangmu K League 1 Round 10
FC Seoul entertain Sangju Sangmu this Saturday in K League 1 Round 10, looking to make ammends for their collapse away to Jeonnam Dragons in midweek. Sangju, meanwhile, make the trip to Sangam on the back of an away win over Daegu FC and will be confident of securing a result. For FC Seoul and Hwang Sunhong this is a must win game but, given the two teams' league standings, the home team may not be seen as the favourites.
(image via K League)

Overview

From Soccerway


 Last Time Out

On Wednesday night FC Seoul threw away a half time lead to lose to then-bottom placed Jeonnam Dragons. Despite a bright start and a solid first half showing, Hwang Sunhong's men lacked concentration in the second and as soon as Jeonnam drew level, only one team looked like they were going to go on and win the game.

Young forward Cho Youngwook put Seoul ahead, finishing with his right foot into the bottom left-hand corner after being teed up by Go Yohan in the seventh minute. The early goal gave Seoul great encouragement to perform well and dominate the first half.

However, away from home it is imperative that teams concentrate and keep things tight for the first 10-15 minutes of each half - get the basics right. Seoul failed to do that after the restart and conceded from a corner within just eight minutes of the interval. Lee Yoohyeon strike's from distance forced the corner after the midfielder had picked the ball up from Macedo who, like Lee Yoohyeon was allowed time and space. The shot from distance was well-scouted by Yang Hanbin who turned the ball behind but was left helpless when the resulting corner came in. A seemingly miss-hit corner trickled to the front post, both Evandro and Shin Kwanghoon went for the same ball, both missed it and neither Hwang Kiwook nor Cho Youngwook were alert enough to prevent the ball from rolling to the back post where Lee Jinam was waiting to send the ball home - 1-1 and a catalogue of defensive errors from FC Seoul.

After the equaliser Jeonnam grew in confidence with Wanderson and Macedo in particular who began to run riot. Seoul's defenders were terrified of both, as was evident in the eventual winner just after the hour mark. Shin Kwanghoon fell over himself trying to challenge Wanderson who danced passed Seoul's right back as well as a back-tracking Yoon Seungwon. The former Daejeon, Jeju, and Pohang man laid the ball into Macedo who turned Shin Kwanghoon inside out, made a beeline for the penalty area where Shin was left on the floor once again before cutting the ball back to an unmarked Vedran Jugović who coolly slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

Sangju Sangju meanwhile continued on their path of destruction over fellow Gyeongsang sides, this time coming back from a goal down to beat Daegu FC 2-1 away from home. The military side already have Pohang Steelers and Ulsan Hyundai on their their list of scalps thus far and, following Wednesday's win over nearby Daegu, now find themselves in sixth place.

After 50 minutes Park Byeongheon put Daegu in front only for Yoon Bitgaram to level 13 minutes later. Then, with the game looking as though it was going to end in a stalemate, Lim Chaemin found an 86th minute winner to seal a vital three points for Kim Taehwan's men.


Previous Meetings

The last time these two sides met was in October last year when FC Seoul eased past Sangju with a narrow 1-0 win, Hwang Hyunsoo with the goal that afternoon. However, the last time Sangju made the trip north to the capital it was the army side who were the sharp shooters, sealing a 2-1 win despite falling behind. Lee Seokhyeon put Seoul in front on 36 minutes but Hwang Soonmin levelled six minutes into the second half before Kim Honam fired in a 91st minute winner. Seoul's last home win over Sangju was in 2016 when goals from Osmar, Adriano, Dejan, and Lee Seokhyeon secured a 4-0 drubbing.

In total there have been 37 meetings between FC Seoul and a Sangmu team, FC Seoul have 22 wins over the army team's eight and seven draws. However, since the army team moved from Gwangju to Sangju, there have been fifteen meetings and Sangju have only won four of those, two of those at Sangam.

Team News

Central midfielder Kim Seongjun isn't expected to be ready for a few weeks with the former Seongnam man still recovering from the hamstring strain picked up during FC Seoul's win over Daegu last weekend. Hwang Sunhong will also have to do without the services of his vice captain and leading goal scorer Go Yohan after the Korean international midfielder picked up his third booking of the campaign during the defeat to Jeonnam on Wednesday. Given how overrun his midfield was in the second period on Wednesday, Hwang may look to shake things up somewhat which could see a return for Jung Hyeoncheol.

Sangju Sangmu have suspension problems of their own, with manager Kim Taehwan having to do without star striker Joo Minkyu. The on-loan Seoul E-Land forward has been absent from the team for the last three games due to injury and is a doubt ahead of Saturday's trip to Sangam. Kim Byeongho remains absent due to his off the field issues.

The Adversary

Due to a regional sports festival that has been taking place at Sangju Civic Stadium, it has forced Sangju Sangmu to play their first ten matches away from home. Whilst it appeared as though this would be a major hindrance, given recent form it seems as though the army side have no qualms with having to go to battle on other teams' turf. Four wins and a very credible draw at Jeju has propelled Sangju into sixth.

Tactically, Kim Taehwan likes to set his side up in a 4-5-1 formation with the two wide midfielders joining the attack when in possession. Joo Minkyu began the season leading the line but injury has allowed Lee Kwangseon and Yoo Jutae to deputise. On the flanks, Suwon Bluewings' Kim Minwoo has largely had the monopoly over that left wing berth whilst Kim Honam, Kim Dohyeong have shared the right wing role. Shin Segye or Kim Jinhwan will most likely sit in front of the back four as the deeper lying midfielder of the five.

Sangju Sangmu starting XI vs Daegu FC, R9


Who To Watch

On loan Suwon Bluewings left wing-back Hong Chul has four assists to his name already this term, and is joint top of the assist charts in the league. Two of those assists came in the 2-0 win over Ulsan in game week two with Kim Honam and leading goalscorer Joo Minkyu the beneficiaries.

Hong Chul was credited with five assists for the entirety of Sangju's relegation-threatened so to have four to his name already is testament as to how well the Korean international is performing. And, given the fact that Hong will be facing his parent club's fierce rivals in FC Seoul, the 27-year-old will be keen to add to that assist tally.

Hong Chul is in his final year of military service with Sangju Sangmu. (Image via K League)


Prediction

Playing away from home hasn't seemed to have affected Sangju too much thus far and have picked up results away to some big teams meaning that Kim Taehwan's side won't be phased by heading to Seoul World Cup Stadium.

For FC Seoul this is a must win game, certainly for manager Hwang Sunhong whose job is on the line. At home, I can't foresee Seoul surrendering a lead quite like they did away to Jeonnam in midweek. That said, confidence will be low and unless Seoul get a goal in the first half, nerves may get the better of them.

However, if Seoul can play how they did in the first half against Jeonnam as well as the home win over Daegu then Hwang's men should have enough in them to get a narrow win. However, concentration, particularly for set pieces, is key.

FC Seoul 1-0 Sangju Sangmu


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