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Preview: FC Seoul Vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

Preview: FC Seoul Vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors K League 1 Round 14
Lee Eulyong remains unbeaten thus far as FC Seoul Caretaker manager but this Sunday will be the former Korean international midfielder’s toughest test yet when K League 1 league leaders Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors head to Sangam for what will be each team’s final pre-World Cup fixture. Both sides are perhaps where they would have expected to be; Jeonbuk sitting at the summit whilst Seoul struggle after a turbulent pre-season. Nonetheless, both sides will be looking to head into the month-long break with a win.
(image via K League)

Overview

From Soccerway


Last Time Out

FC Seoul looked as though they were on their way to a valuable away win over Gangwon last Saturday. Veteran centre back Kwan Taehwi gave the visitors a 16th minute lead, rising above all to nod home a Shin Jinho free-kick. However, Lee Eulyong’s side weren’t able to add to their lead and were under the cosh somewhat in the second half. The longer the game stayed at 1-0 there was always the likelihood that Gangwon could get an equaliser. And that they did, through Serbian striker Uroš Đerić who latched onto a loose ball in the box and found the bottom corner of Yang Hanbin’s goal emphatically to see the spoils shared.

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors were in action in midweek, easing their way into the AFC Champions League quarter finals with a 4-3 aggregate win over Thai Champions Buriram United. A 2-0 win on the night, with goals from Lopes and Lee Jaesung, sent the Green Warriors through. Continental commitments aside, Choi Kanghee fielded a second string which were defeated 3-0 at home to Pohang Steelers last Saturday. Kim Seungdae, Lee Keunho, and Song Seungmin on target for the Steelers.

Previous Meetings

In round three earlier this season these two K League giants faced off against each other at Jeonju Castle with the hosts emerging as victors in a 2-1 win. Kim Minjae put Choi Kanghee’s side ahead with a towering header at the start of the second half before former FC Seoul fan favourite Adriano made it 2-0 on 74 minutes, tapping in from close range. Kim Seongjun halved the deficit with an expertly struck free-kick in the dying embers but was too little too late.

From the four meetings last season, Jeonbuk notched up two wins, Seoul one and one stalemate. The last time these two sides met at Sangam towards the end of July last year, Jeonbuk took all three points back to North Jeolla with a 2-1 victory. Attacking midfielder Lee Jaesung broke the deadlock just shy of the hour mark before Lee Donggook made it 2-0 on 78 minutes. Dejan pulled a goal back in time added on but proved to be scant consolation for the then-Champions.

In fact, Seoul faced off against Jeonbuk at home twice in July last year, the first fell on a rainy summer evening which saw Park Chuyoung net a dramatic late winner in a 2-1 FC Seoul victory. Yoon Seungwon had Seoul in front on 36 minute only for Kim Shinwook to convert a penalty three minutes after the restart to level in front of the traveling Jeonbuk support behind Yang Hanbin’s goal.

Team News

For FC Seoul, young full back Park Dongjin will miss out through suspension having picked up his third caution of the campaign in the 1-1 draw away to Gangwon last week. Hwang Kiwook and Shin Jinho will be available, however having managed to avoid a card last time out.Both are one booking away from a ban.

Injury-wise, the visit of Jeonbuk may be too early for fellow midfielder Kim Seongjun whose hamstring problem is likely to keep the former Seongnam man out of Sunday’s clash. Ha Daseung and Song Jinhyeong also remain doubts having yet to take to the field this term. However, Song featured in FC Seoul Reserves win of Bucheon 1995 Reserves on Tuesday and so looks set to be at least nearing a return to first team action.

Jeonbuk still have a number of players on the injury list, but it seems former Korean international defender Hong Jeongho is back to full fitness after an impressive ninety minutes against Buriram Untied. The visitors will still be without left backs Kim Jinsu and the two Park Wonjaes, meaning Choi Chulsoon will continue to deputise. On the longer term injury list, star centre back Kim Minjae and right midfielder Han Kyowon are still another couple of points from recovery. In terms of suspension, Jeong Hyeok is set to miss the game once more having seen a straight red card two matches ago in the Jeolla Derby.
Matthew Binns

The Adversary

Visitors Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors enter Sunday's fixture with a combined sense of relief and justification as their gamble with recent squad rotations and controversial amounts of substitutes finally paid off with an explosive performance against Buriram United on Tuesday, turning around a first leg defeat to ensure their progress into the AFC Champions League quarter finals in August. Despite the scoreline on the night being only 2-0, their play and dominance warranted a whole lot more and it was perhaps the first time they have showcased their full capabilities in what is surprisingly close eight or nine matches.

That is not to say they have not been getting results, but mounting injuries and compact fixtures lists called for careful management of the squad, something Choi Kang-hee has navigated perfectly with his side sitting comfortably atop of the league table and still in all competitions. Not only that, but Jeonbuk's defensive assuredness has been eye-catching, with 'keeper Song Beom-keun and the back line in front of him now having kept twelve clean sheets across all competitions.

Despite their heavy loss to Pohang Steelers last time out in the league, the squad called upon for that match had been heavily rotated to place priority on the Buriram game. With FC Seoul being both the last match before the World Cup break, and against bitter rivals, it is quite likely most players who featured in Tuesday evening's sensation display will return in the accustomed 4-1-4-1 shape. Players like Tiago and former Seoul forward Adriano may also feature in some capacity, with neither being called upon midweek.


Who To Watch

With his recent call up to Korean National Team for the World Cup, along with his well-taken free-kick on Tuesday night to seal progression for his team, Lee Jae-sung is very much the man to look out for on the Jeonbuk squad. Not only is his close control, vision and ability to also find himself on the scoresheet make him a notable threat, but surely the centre back's time left in this division is limited and this match could very well end up being one of his final K League games if this does prove to be the summer he finally leaves to Europe. Regardless whether this transfer ever materialises or not though, a heroic performance to put Jeonbuk's enemies to sword once more would certainly be a welcome send off for the player as he heads to Russia to demonstrate his talents on the global stage.
- Matthew Binns

Prediction

Whilst Lee Eulyong has managed to remain unbeaten for his three games in charge, the former FC Seoul midfielder has just the one win. His opposite number is as shrewd as they come and although Jeonbuk have rotated their squad to focus on the ACL, Choi Kanghee will be expected to field his strongest XI. Tactically, Choi will almost always be one step ahead and I'd expect this to be the case come Sunday.

FC Seoul 0-2 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors




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