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Preview: Gwangju FC vs Seongnam FC

Preview: Gwangju FC Vs Seongnam FC K League 2 Round 11
Gwangju FC will host Seongnam FC on Saturday afternoon, trying to improve on their sixth place standing in the league table which sees them sit nine points adrift after the first ten rounds. Gwangju come into the match off an away loss to Bucheon 1995, while the Magpies have a surge of momentum with them following four consecutive victories to extend their unbeaten run to ten. K League United's Branko Belan previews the first versus sixth encounter.

Match: Gwangju FC vs Seongnam FC
Venue: Gwangju World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Saturday May 12th, 15:00 KST


Last Time Out

Bucheon 1995 1-0 Gwangju FC

Gwangju started out well. They could have gone in front through Minori Sato after just ten minutes, but his shot from inside the area was a touch wide and didn't trouble Choi Cheol-won in the Bucheon goal. They kept up the pressure through the first twenty-five minutes, but Bucheon's back line was stern and did not allow a way through.

The home side had a chance to go into the lead just before the half hour mark, but a nice combination move between William Popp and Lee Jeong-chan was thwarted from close range, as Yoon Bo-sang got down to make the save.

Gwangju would have one final chance to go into the break a goal up when they had a free kick on the right flank on the back end of injury time. The ball fell for Jeong Yeong-chong who had a clear chance at goal, but his effort at goal did not trouble Choi and the half finished goalless.

The visitors would have the first good chance to score in the second half, but Na Sang-ho was denied as he fired for the low right corner, but his effort was pushed away.   

Changes came soon after, as the number nines for both squads entered the fray, and it seemed to ignite Bucheon going forward. Ahn Tae-hyun's long range effort sailed wide of the goal following a deflection off of a corner, but it signalled a changing of the balance of play to come.

It would be Bucheon who would go in front following a turnover created by the back line, as Jin Chang-soo was played in by a long ground pass after which he managed to win a footrace to the ball, cut inside a defender and find the top corner to put the hosts into the lead on the hour mark.

Gwangju's best chance to equalize came five minutes later from a corner, but the ball was punched out by Choi.

The finish to the match was frantic, as Gwangju couldn't solve Choi, while Bucheon were only denied in increasing their advantage twice by the woodwork.

Highlights: here

Seongnam FC 2-1 Suwon FC

The first half hour of the match saw furious end-to-end action, as both teams looked to give themselves an early advantage, with Seongnam having the best chance from a corner after only three minutes, but the ball was kept out.

Bad luck would befall the hosts as Suwon would take the lead courtesy of an own goal on the half hour mark from Yeon Je-woon, as the ball took a deflection off him into his own net after a cutback into the box from Lee Seung-hyun.

Muralha would have one last chance to draw level for the home side before the half, but his free kick effort finished just over the bar.

The first ten minutes of the second half were quite sloppy, but Seongnam could have equalized had it not been for a blatant miss on the doorstep from Choi Joon-gi.

The leaders continued to press forward, and were finally rewarded when captain Seo Bo-min curled what originally looked like a cross into the area from the left, but it took a favorable bounce in front of the 'keeper and finished in the back of the net.

Seongnam took the initiative further, and were rewarded for their efforts as they won a penalty on the stroke of regular time, which Seo converted to complete his brace, smashing the ball low to the opposite side of the goalkeeper to take all three points at the final whistle.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

This will be the second meeting between the teams this season. The last time they met, the match ended in a goalless draw at Tancheon in the second week of the season.

While on paper, the visitors look to be the favorites, the overall head-to-head tells a different story.  The clubs have faced each other a total of sixteen times, with both sides winning five times, while six matches ended in a draw. Seongnam are plus one in terms of overall goal difference, but if the historical record is of any indication, Saturday's match should once again be a low scoring affair.

A lot has changed since the last time these two teams met, so it would be fair to say that Seongnam have a slight advantage, but Gwangju will be at home, and will surely be a stiff test for the first placed side.

The Adversary

Seongnam are the early season pace-setters, as they look to back a return to the top flight. (Image via K League)
Seongnam have enjoyed a good run in the league thus far, having an unbeaten record with six wins and four draws, including four victories in a row. Seongnam finished fourth in last year's campaign, and would dearly like another win to extend their current strong run of form in order to create some distance between themselves and Bucheon 1995 in second, who themselves face a stiff test away to third placed Asan Mugunghwa on Monday night next week.

While they are one of the top scoring sides in K League 2 to this point, they will have to contend with a team which has allowed the fewest goals of any side in the division. In fact, Gwangju's five goals conceded is matched only by K League 1 leaders Jeonbuk across both divisions, so the key to getting a result will be to score first rather than playing from behind as they had to against Suwon.

Prediction

It should prove to be a tight match, but with such a gap between the two teams, one would think that a result would favor the league leaders despite the fact they will be away from home.

Seongnam have shown resilience to preserve their untarnished record, and that should continue against Gwangju, who are averaging less than a goal a game, a problem which contributed greatly to their relegation from the top flight last season. Expect the visitors to pull this one out late and take the three points.

Prediction: Gwangju FC 0-1 Seongnam FC

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