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Preview: Suwon Bluewings vs Sangju Sangmu

Suwon Bluewings look to pick up their first home win of the season on Saturday afternoon when they face Sangju Sangmu in the 2018 K League 1. The home team will be looking to build on another away win in midweek whilst Sangju continue their tour of Korea having won at Incheon on Wednesday night. 
(image via http://star.ohmynews.com)

Last Time Out

Suwon made it 6 consecutive away victories on Wednesday night when they luckily overcame a strong Gangwon FC. Seo Jung-won made 8 changes to the starting 11 that faced FC Seoul at the weekend and it showed in the 1st half as Suwon once again struggled to mount any form of sustained attack with more passes being aimed backwards than forwards. And that lackluster display was punished in the 25th minute when a square ball from Gangwon's Deric bamboozled the Suwon defence and Kang Ji-hoon was left on his own to power the ball home into the top corner.

Luckily, Suwon somehow pulled themselves back into the game when Kim Gun-hee, one of the new men in the team, beautifully cushioned a header into the far corner from a Christovam cross in the 45th minute.

Gangwon retook the lead early in the second half after Suwon failed to clear a corner and a snapshot fell kindly at the feet of, Man of the Match, Deric who safely converted the chance to hand Gangwon a 2-1 lead. However, that lead only lasted a matter of seconds, as Kim Gun-hee, one of the few Suwon players to emerge from the game with any credit, engineered some space in the penalty area and his vicious low shot was deflected in off a Gangwon defender.

And Suwon claimed an unlikely victory in the 92nd minute when a rash challenge by Valentinos Sielis was punished by the referee and gave Yeom Ki-hun the chance to shoot from 25 yards. The midfielder's free-kick was perfectly bent around the wall and sent Suwon back to Gyeonggi-do with all 3 points.

Meanwhile, Sangju picked up an impressive 3 points away to Incheon, becoming the first team to beat Incheon on their own patch this season. A hard fought game was settled in injury time when Lim Chae-min converted from the penalty spot and Sangju were strong enough to hold on until the final whistle.

The Adversary

Sangju Sangmu have had a tough start to the season having strangely being forced to play all their opening matches away from home. The standard of opponents they have faced in their opening games have also been tough and the military team have already faced early pace-setters Gyeongnam and Gangwon, along with Kleague heavy weights Ulsan and Jeonbuk. Therefore, Sangju may be quietly happy that they currently sit in 7th place in the table and only 1 point away from the top half.

But, if Sangju are to better their terrible end to the 2017 season then much will be expected of their star studded midfield and attack, and with the likes of Joo Min-kyu, Yoon Bit-garam and Kim Min-woo in their team much more should be expected of this Sangju team. But, however much attacking flair Sangju may have, their Achilles heel is still the imbalance in the team and their porous defence. The strength and depth that they have in attack is not mirrored in their defence and Lim Chae-min aside Sangju have 2nd rate choices in defence.

Who To Watch

The names of Hong-chul and Kim Min-woo are already familiar names in Suwon but the team in blue will need to be wary of the duo when they come up against them on Saturday. Both players began their military duty after having extremely successful spells at Suwon and together they make probably the fiercest left-sided attack in the Kleague. Kim Min-woo is a dynamic player who can dribble, pass, defend and has bags of pace and when he is on his game is quite simply unstoppable. Added to that, Hong-chul is resolute in defence but can assist and deliver pin-point crosses with his wand of a left foot.

For Suwon, if he keeps his place in the team, Kim Gun-hee must be the main man for Suwon to target. The young forward was instrumental in Suwon's victory on Wednesday night and despite it being his first start of the season he played with a confidence that belied his limited experience. The movement that he brought to forward line was refreshing and had he been playing with more accomplished players around him then he may have scored more than the two goals he did. Seo Jung-won should consider him a starter for this game and if he can continue the promise that he displayed against Gangwon then Suwon should be quietly confident that he can score a few more goals against a poor Sangju defence.


The current grueling schedule must surely be affecting Suwon legs by now and as they return back home, a place they have not won at (against meaningful opposition) since late October 2017, it's difficult to imagine that Suwon could beat a talented Sangju team whose confidence will be sky high after their own last minute win in midweek.

Logic dictates that Suwon will improve their home form eventually but this game is probably not the one in which they will turn around their fortunes.

Suwon Bluewings 1-1 Sangju Sangmu

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