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Preview: Pohang Steelers vs Jeju United

Preview: Pohang Steelers Vs Jeju United K League 1 Round 9
he second K League 1 mid-week action of the season takes place this Wednesday as Pohang Steelers play host to the islanders Jeju United in game which sees 4th meet 6th respectively. Both sides are looking to rebound after drawing blanks at the weekend, both in terms of goals and points.
(image via K League)

Last Time Out

Pohang Steelers suffered a 2-0 defeat at home to a hard-working and energetic Sangju Sangmu that leaves the East Coast side on 13 points as they continue their indifferent form. It was at times a lethargic performance from the hosts, who had a patched-up defensive line due to the suspensions of defensive midfielder Connor Chapman, right-back Kwon Wan-kyu, and the missing captain Kim Gwang-seok.

A bright first half from the visitors saw them take advantage of the enforced changes as makeshift Pohang right-back Lee Sang-ki was caught out and overloaded at the far post, where Shim Dong-woon was on hand to head home the opener in the 35th minute.

Pohang almost immediately struck back when Brazilian striker Gamalho blazed over on the turn from six yards out. Pohang coach Choi Soon-ho, in an effort to energise the side, rang the changes at half-time with both Song Seung-min and Getterson being hooked. It seemed to work as both sides started the second half brightly with the home side's Jung Won-Jin dragging his shot wide and Gamalho again going close when his close-range effort struck the crossbar. Sangju continued to threaten on the break and had a goal ruled out in the 54th minute when the ball was adjudged, perhaps wrongly so, to have crossed the byline before Shim Dong-woon tapped home for what he thought was his second.

The hosts thought they had been given a reprieve in the 81st minute when Gamalho was tripped in the box by Sangju substitute Shin Chang-mu, although contact looked to be minimal. Gamalho dusted himself off and stepped up to attempt his second penalty in two games, and third of the season. Although the previous attempts had been successful, this time his stuttered run-up didn’t dupe Yoo Sang-hoon who patiently waited for the strike and produced a relatively straightforward stop to his right.

This seemed to deflate the hosts and Shin Chang-mu was able to atone for earlier giving away the penalty with a neat finish after being expertly put through by Yoon Bit-garam to seal the game for the away side.

Sangju leapfrog F.C. Seoul and Ulsan Hyundai with an impressive victory, which takes them to 7th in the table. While Pohang Steelers remain in the lofty position of 4th in the table ahead of the midweek clash with Jeju United, which will be their third straight home game and one that they will hope to get back to winning ways in.

(image via K League)

The Adversary

Jeju United come into the match following a 1-0 home defeat to defending champions Jeonbuk Hyundai. The conditions were less than ideal as rain hampered play for better parts of the afternoon, with sections of the pitch becoming water-logged in the later stages of the match.

Both teams were down to ten men before the break, with the goal scorer Ricardo Lopes being sent off in the 35th minute for the visitors, while Lee Chan-dong was shown the door only two minutes later after a harsh challenge on Kim Shin-wook and Jeju's numerical advantage was erased.

Jeonbuk had quite a few very good efforts in the second half, and if not for the heroics of Lee Chang-keun, the final result would have looked a lot worse. Jeju did not manage a single shot on target all afternoon, partially due to the conditions, and also because of a lack of composure in front of goal.

The positive that comes out of the match is that Jeju have started to employ more attack-minded tactics with a 3-3-2-2 diamond combination which seems to have had more success recently, but credit must be given to the champions, who have not conceded a goal across all competitions in their past seven games, even more impressive considering that they have four defenders hampered by injuries of late.

The loss dropped Jeju to sixth position in the table. They have now won three, drawn twice and lost three through the first eight rounds, and are ten points off the pace.

Previous Meetings

Last season the home side ran out victorious when these two teams met with Jeju United recording two wins scoring three times on each occasion. Pohang bested their opponent at the Steelyard last May with a 2-1 victory.

Of the total 38 previous meetings Pohang do have the superior record with 18 wins to Jeju’s 13, with 11 of those victories coming at the Steelyard.

It is generally a fixture that sees plenty of goals with the previous five meetings all having over 2.5 goals and last time out Jeju grabbed a 92nd minute winner in an entertaining 3-2 battle on the island.

Team News

I expect Chapman, Kwon Wan-kyu, and Kim Gwang-seok to all return for the home side in what should give the team better balance and impetus, which was at times lacking at the weekend. Jeju will be without the suspended Lee Chan-dong following his sending-off against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors for two bookable offences last time out.

Prediction

The mid-week clash represents Pohang Steelers’ sixth home game of the season and they will be eager to correct recent inconsistencies before the away games start to pile up. Though, Jeju United have saved their better performances for their away games this term; I do expect Pohang to amend for their weekend loss and just nick this game. I can see both sides hitting the back of the net in what will hopefully continue the recent tradition of entertaining high-scoring games between the two teams. I predict a repeat of last season's corresponding fixture.

Pohang Steelers 2-1 Jeju United



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