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Preview: Jeonnam Dragons Vs FC Seoul

Preview: Jeonnam Dragons Vs FC Seoul K League 1 Round 9
The Jeonnam Dragons welcome FC Seoul to Gwangyang Football Stadium this Wednesday evening at 7:30 pm in round nine of K League 1. The hosts, who remain rooted to the bottom of the table after last Saturday's home defeat to Gangwon FC, are still in search of their first home point of the season. The visitors, on the other hand, are starting to find form as of late and enjoyed a comfortable home victory over Daegu FC last weekend. Can the Dragons finally give their supporters something to cheer about or will  FC Seoul inflict more pain on the home fans and continue their rise up the table?
(Image via K League)

Last Time Out

The Jeonnam Dragons were humiliated in front of their home fans once again last Saturday on a scorching spring day in Gwangyang as Gangwon FC became the latest side to have a field day in South Jeolla province. In fact, the visitors dominance was so pronounced, it looked like they were in a different league - and come the end of the season, they very well may be.

It took Gangwon just eight minutes to break the deadlock as attacker Lee Keun-ho left Jeonnam defenders Kim Min-jun and Kim Gyeong-jae for dead on the right side of the penalty box before crossing the ball into Serbian striker Uroš Đerić. Đerić then chested the ball past Jeonnam's central defender Ga Sol-hyun before advancing towards the six yard box and wrong-footing Dragons' keeper Jang Dae-hee. The second goal of the game, seven minutes later, involved even more awful defending from the hosts. This time Ga Sol-hyun was too casual with a clearance and Đerić blocked it down. The Serbian then rounded Jang Dae-hee and stroked the ball into the bottom left corner of the net.

The game was virtually over as a tie 20 minutes later when Jung Suk-hwa curled a free kick from the left side of the penalty box into the top-right hand corner of the net to put the visitors 3-0 up. And even though Jeonnam were given a lifeline in the first minute of the second half, when Gangwon's keeper Kim Ho-jun was sent off for bringing down Macedo, unbelievably it was the ten-man visitors who scored next - Đerić completing his hat-trick after Dragons' keeper Jang Dae-hee had a moment he'd rather forget. The 24-year-old keeper let the striker's rather straightforward shot slip though his hands and legs and roll past the line. Dragons' captain Kim Young-wook scored a late consolation goal for the hosts in the 82nd minute, but it was another embarrassing performance and result for the relegation-threatened hosts.

Full Time: Jeonnam Dragons 1-4 Gangwon FC
Highlights: here

Meanwhile FC Seoul produced arguably their best performance of the season last Saturday at home to Daegu FC to relieve some pressure on head coach Hwang Sun-hong. Brazilian striker Evandro Paulista opened the scoring for the hosts in the 12th minute with a beautiful flick  from just outside the six yard box. Both teams missed a host of chances after that, but in the 50th minute Go Yo-han curled in a delightful effort for the hosts to put them in control.

And in the 80th minute, Daegu defender Kim Jin-hyeok put the result beyond doubt, diverting the ball into his own net after great work from Cho Young-wook on the left wing. The FC Seoul attacker beat his man on the byline before sending in a low cross and Kim's attempted clearance rolled into the bottom right corner.  In fairness to the right back, though, FC Seoul striker Evandro would have been presented with an open goal had he not attempted to intervene.

Daegu attacker Kim Gyeong-joon was sent off in the 90th minute to compound the visitors' misery after a horror studs-up tackle on Go Yo-han. Seoul then saw the game out to record their second victory in three games.

Full Time: FC Seoul 3-0 Daegu FC
Recap: here
Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

The Jeonnam Dragons and FC Seoul have met a total of 41 times and the latter have enjoyed more success in those meetings. FC Seoul won 22 of those games, whereas Jeonnam have only won seven. Twelve of the ties have ended in draws.

The most recent game between the two sides took place last September in Gwangyang and Seoul won that match one nil, Park Chu-young with the goal on 80 minutes. The two sides also played out an exciting 2-2 draw in Gwangyang last June and the only game in the capital last May saw Seoul claim a 1-0 victory thanks to a goal by Osmar on 10 minutes. Worryingly for the Dragons, they haven't beaten the visitors in three years.

Can they end this miserable run on Wednesday?

Team News

The Jeonnam Dragons welcome back Brazilian winger Wanderson and left back Choi Jae-hyun this Wednesday after the expiration of their match bans. Wanderson missed two games after receiving a red card against Jeju United, while Choi missed one after picking up three yellow cards.

However, right back Lee Seul-chan is suspended for the game after his red card against champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on April 14th. Surprisingly, Australian defender Tomislav Mrcela has still not featured for the Dragons this season, despite returning to full fitness a few weeks ago. Will head coach Yoo Sang-chul finally give him game time midweek?

For FC Seoul midfielder Kim Seong-jun is a doubt after the former Seongnam man was taken off with a hamstring strain in Saturday's win over Daegu, Jung Hyeon-cheol is likely to deputise. Jung, along with full back Park Dong-jin, midfielder Shin Jin-ho, and Vice Captain Go Yo-han, are all on two yellows for the season, another caution would result in a one match ban.

Other notable absentees are fellow midfielders Ha Dae-sung and Song Jin-hyeong who are yet to feature for Seoul this season. Forward Park Chu-young has declared himself fit but was conspicuous by his absence on Saturday following his social media outburst last week.

The Adversary

FC Seoul manager Hwang Sun-hong will be looking at his side's trip to Gwangyang as an ideal opportunity to make it back-to-back victories for the first time this season. At the weekend, the under-fire gaffer tweaked his team somewhat, opting for just one holding midfielder and changing to a 4-1-4-1 formation and seemingly to great effect.

Having just one deep-lying midfielder, as opposed to two, it allowed Seoul to move the ball forward quicker but also enabled the likes of Kim Seong-jun in the first half, and Go Yo-han in the second, to snuff out danger higher up the pitch, allowing Seoul to break in more advanced positions. The use of the flanks was also evident and a departure from how Seoul had set themselves up in previous rounds, Cho Youngwook in particular enabled Seoul to make the most of the space afforded to them on the wings.

Wednesday's game is away from home but given how Jeonnam are performing at present, Hwang Sun-hong may opt for a similar system to really take the game to the Dragons in their own dungeon and will be full of confidence in order to do so coming off the back of the comprehensive win over Daegu.

by Paul Neat

 Who To Watch

Korea U20 international forward Cho Youngwook was given his first full start for FC Seoul during Saturday's 3-0 win over Daegu and had a full debut to remember, too - laying on two assists and having a big hand in Go Yo-han's goal early in the second half. Cho gave the Sangam faithful an insight into his talents by showing great poise and balance down the right wing in the lead up to Evandro's 13th minute strike, sending in a teasing cross for the Brazilian striker on the edge of the six-yard box.

Then in the second half, whilst playing from the left, Cho could be credited with half an assist as his cross was only partially cleared before landing to eventual goal scorer Go Yo-han. His second assist of the afternoon did come eventually when Seoul's number 32 sent in a low cross towards Evandro but before the flamboyant number 11 could convert, the ball was turned into the net by Daegu defender Kim Jin-hyeok.

What was most impressive about the former Korea University forward was his intelligence on the ball and positional awareness. Operating from the left and the right in spells, Cho gave the Daegu wing-backs a torrid time and showed great maturity and composure with the quality of his crossing. Along with Evandro, Cho Youngwook will be a real handful for Jeonnam and, if the duo carry on in the same vein as they did on Saturday, could inflict further misery on the Dragons.

by Paul Neat

Cho Youngwook had an excellent full debut FC Seoul last Saturday (Image via K League)


The honeymoon period's well and truly over for Dragons head-coach Yoo Sang-chul and he desperately needs a good result midweek. The Dragons, who are propping up the table, haven't just lost all four games at home this season; they've been comprehensively outplayed in most of those games. Will Wednesday be more of the same?

Definitely, if Yoo doesn't get his defence sorted. Jeonnam have conceded 20 goals in eight games (2.5 goals per game) and have been an accident waiting to happen at the back - Uroš Đerić's first goal last Saturday being a case in point. Quite, what Kim Min-jun and Kim Gyeong-jae were thinking when they doubled up on Lee Keun-ho and why Đerić  was allowed to chest the ball down in the box will remain a mystery. Of course, Gangwon's second and fourth goals were just as bad from a defensive point of view and the Dragons will be on the receiving end of a lot more thrashings this season if they continue to defend like that.

Unfortunately, that was the worst performance I've seen from the Dragons this season and I can't see anything other than an away victory this Wednesday.

Predicted score: Jeonnam Dragons 1-3 FC Seoul

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