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Preview: Jeju United vs Gangwon FC

Preview: Jeju United Vs Gangwon FC K League 1 Round 11
Jeju United come into the midweek home fixture to Gangwon FC following a comfortable win away to Daegu FC, in which the home side were reduced to ten men before halftime. Captain Kwon Soon-hyung netted a brace in what would finish a 4-1 victory. Gangwon, meanwhile, were held scoreless at home against Pohang Steelers. Jeju currently sit fourth while Gangwon are in eighth spot following round ten's action, but only four points separate the two clubs. K League United's Branko Belan shared his outlook for the hosts, while Steve Price contributed his thoughts for the visitors, in what is expected to be a tight match.

Match: Jeju United vs Gangwon FC
Venue: Seogwipo World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Wednesday May 2nd, 19:30 KST

Last Time Out

Daegu FC 1-4 Jeju United

Jeju United had a relatively easy time of things away to last place Daegu FC. The hosts were down a man after only a quarter of an hour, thanks to a handball on the goal line from Kim Jin-hyeok. After going to VAR, the referee had no choice but to point to the spot. Roberson would convert the penalty for Jeju, his first goal for the club since joining during winter transfer window.

Daegu would hit back only minutes later, thanks to an equalizer from Lim Jae-hyeok, who latched on to a through-pass, cut inside a defender, and hit a low shot in off the post.  Both teams could have had a second midway through the first half, but the ball would stay out of the net.  

Things would take another nasty turn for the bottom side, however, as Jeong Chi-in would become the second player to be sent off following a harsh aerial challenge on Oh Ban-suk. The offence resulted in his second yellow and Daegu going down to nine men just four minutes before the break.  The teams went into the tunnel knotted at one apiece.

Jeju knew they would have to kick things into another gear at the start of the second half, and they did just that. Kim Hyeon-wook would be the first player for the Islanders to come close, but his effort was pushed away to safety. They could have gone in front from the resulting corner, but the play was called back for offside.

The Islanders kept the pressure up, and the breakthrough would come just before the hour mark, as Jin Seong-wook headed Jeju into the lead following a pinpoint cross from Park Jin-po from the right flank.  

Following the go-ahead marker, it was all Jeju until the end. Captain Kwon Soon-hyung added Jeju's third, following a nice combination play in the box with Kim Do-yeop on 68 minutes, and would double his tally only three minutes later, scooping up a loose ball at the top of the area to fire a low shot home to round out the scoring on the afternoon.

Highlights: here

Gangwon FC 0-0 Pohang Steelers

Gangwon were held 0-0 at home against Pohang last weekend with both teams lining up in a 4-3-3.  The visitors to the Steel Yard could have been in front just two minutes into the match, but Lee Keun-ho's volley effort was skied over the bar from close range.

Jung Jo-gook came close in the 24th minute, striking from outside the box, but Kang Hyeon-mo was up to the task, producing an acrobatic save. The rest of the half didn't provide much in the way of concrete chances for either side.

The hosts came out attacking to start the second half, and Diego could have put them in front, but Kang was up to the task once again.  

Kwon Wan-kyu looked to have scored for Pohang just minutes later, but Lee Bum-young managed a toe save to keep the ball out, even though on the replay, it looked as if the ball could have crossed the line.

Hwang Jin-sung had his effort from outside the box denied by Kang on 54 minutes as both clubs continued to search for the go-ahead marker. Leo Gamalho's header on 69 minutes was well off the mark. The rest of the match played out rather tamely, with the exception of Kwon being sent off with only two minutes left in regular time.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

The two sides met four times last season, splitting the series with two wins each. Gangwon won the first two meetings, while Jeju took the last two during the post-split Championship Round. Each of the matches were tight, and there is no reason to expect much different come Wednesday night.

In total, the two sides have faced each other sixteen times, with Jeju winning nine, Gangwon five, while two matches have ended all square. Overall, Jeju has outscored Gangwon by a margin of 33-16, but last season's totals were much more modest, with Jeju finding the net five times to Gangwon's four. Both of Jeju's wins last season were clean sheets.

The Adversary

Diego in action for Gangwon against Pohang. (Image via K League)
Gangwon’s good start to the season is almost a distant memory, but they’ve played well in all their games except for the match against Jeonbuk, and are a bit unlucky to only have four points from their last seven games. Gangwon’s formidable attack always looks like scoring, but their defence has let them down this season. 

At the weekend, they managed to earn their first clean sheet of the campaign in a goalless draw against Pohang and so they'll be hoping they can build on that clean sheet and get their season back on track. Gangwon had plenty of chances to win the game against Pohang, but Kang Hyun-moo made several great saves to help earn Pohang a point away from home. 

Even if it is still early in the campaign, and despite recent form, Gangwon’s gaffer Song Kyung-seop should be a contender for manager of the season, simply for getting his team to play exciting football and so those that in attendance at Seogwipo will be hoping that it continues. 

Gangwon’s star striker Lee Keun-ho joined the club from Jeju United, and hopefully, the Sslanders will give him a warm reception. Lee Keun-ho has somehow failed to score so far this season, but he does top the league for the most assists.  


Prediction

Jeju seem to have found their stride lately, winning four of their past five now, while Gangwon have gone cold in front of goal in recent matches. Jeju's clean sheet away to Pohang last week was particularly impressive, and should they be able to show the same kind of defensive resolve against Gangwon, it could be a good night for the Islanders.

Gangwon come into the match with mixed fortunes, having drawn blanks in each of their past two matches, but not conceding for the first time this season on Sunday afternoon.

It has the makings if a tight match, and has a bit of a personal affair for a few players coming home, so emotions will certainly be high on the pitch.

Based on recent form, Jeju look the better outfit, and could edge this one if they take their chances well as they did against Daegu.

Score Prediction: Jeju United 2-1 Gangwon FC






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