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Preview: Jeonnam Dragons v Daegu FC

The Jeonnam Dragons host Daegu FC this Saturday in Round 14 of K League 1. Can Jeonnam put further distance between themselves and the bottom side or will Daegu inflict more home misery on the Dragons? Aodan Halligan and Muyeol Jung preview this weekend's game between 10th and 12th in K League 1.

Game: Jeonnam Dragons v Daegu FC
Venue: Gwangyang Football Stadium
Kick-off: Saturday 16:00 KST

Last Time Out

Despite enjoying a man advantage for most of the match, Jeonnam fell to their first defeat in five last Saturday away to Jeju United. The visitors were presented with a golden opportunity to take control of the game as early as the ninth minute, when Jeju's left back Kim Sang-won received his marching orders for a stamp on Dragons' central defender Yang Jun-ah. But the home side had other ideas.

Both teams created several chances after the sending off, yet young Dragons striker Kim Kyung-min went closest to breaking the deadlock before half time. The 21-year-old found himself clean though on goal after a clever reverse pass from Dragons midfielder Han Chan-hee. However, his left foot effort from the edge of the six yard box was expertly saved by Jeju United keeper Lee Chang-geun.

In the second half, Kim Kyung-min came agonizingly close to scoring once again, but this time his header from around eight yards out crashed off the crossbar, with Lee Chang-geun well beaten. However, Jeju always looked threatening on the counterattack and in the 74th minute their Brazilian number ten, Magno Cruz, curled a delightful effort into the top right-hand corner of the net from fully 25 yards out.

And that strike proved to be a winner as the Dragons failed to make the most of their numerical advantage for the second game in succession.

Full Time: Jeju United 1 Jeonnam Dragons 0

Highlights: here

Meanwhile, Daegu FC slumped to their sixth successive defeat away to Suwon Bluewings last Sunday. The visitors fell behind in the 25th minute when Brazilian striker Waguininho converted a penalty kick for the home side. Daegu's task was made even harder in the 48th minute when firebrand striker Cesinha was sent for an early shower after swinging back his arm and slapping fellow countryman Waguininho in the throat. And even though Waguininho's reaction was theatrical to say the least, Cesinha should know have known better as the officials here have been clamping down on such behaviour all season.

Waguininho then rubbed salt in Daegu's wounds with a bullet header. The striker was first to react to Choi Sung-keun's brilliant right-wing cross in the 71st minute - almost bursting the net with his diving header. Daegu couldn't respond and lost yet another game in which they gave a very good account of themselves.

Full Time: Suwon Bluewings 2 Daegu FC 0

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

The Jeonnam Dragons and Daegu FC have met 36 times in total, with the former  slightly ahead in terms of victories. The Dragons won 14 of those games, whereas Daegu won only 11. The remaining 11 matches ended up as draws.

Both sides shared the spoils the last time they met on March 31st in Daegu. Hwang Soon-min gave Daegu the lead in the 33rd minute, but Jeonnam were given a lifeline in the 81st minute when Oh Gwang-jin received his second yellow card of the game. Left back Choi Jae-hyun scored the equalizer for the Dragons four minutes later and the game finished 1-1.

Team News

The Jeonnam Dragons will be short a few players this Saturday. Australian center back Tomislav Mrcela ('Tommy') left the Dragons earlier this week. It's been reported that the popular center back, who only made two appearances this season, was in dispute with the club over a medical issue. And long-term injury absentee Choi Jae-hyun will also definitely be missing against Daegu as he's still recovering from surgery - the left back should be available after the summer break. Finally, even though Vedran Jugovic's back training, he's still a doubt after missing the last few games through injury. The Croatian midfielder tore a muscle in his leg against Ulsan on April 28th.

And Daegu FC will have to do without talented striker Cesinha after his red card against Suwon last Sunday. Although the Brazilian has picked up five red cards in just one and a half seasons in the K League, he will be a big loss to the basement boys.

The Adversary

Team morale at Daegu FC seems to be at an all time low after the 2-0 defeat against Suwon as it’s been six defeats in a row since the 2-1 win over Gangwon on 18th April. To make matters worse, Daegu will now lose Cesinha for another few games due to that 'foul' on Waguininho. The striker  had only recently returned from another suspension, but I personally believe that the punishment was too harsh this time and hope that the decision will be overruled by the disciplinary committee sooner or later.

Anyway, Daegu have received seven red cards this season already and because they don't have a deep squad, playing with ten players in so many games and through such a challenging schedule has been exhausting. Indeed, fatigue clearly led to Waguininho's second goal last weekend.

However, after almost a week's rest, Daegu may relish a trip down to Gwangyang in the last K League 1 game before the World Cup break. In fact, since Jeonnam are lying in 10th just five points ahead of Daegu, this is very good opportunity to narrow down the gap between Daegu and the Dragons. If Daegu win the game, they could escape from the bottom position, bypassing Incheon, who host Ulsan at Sungui Arena at the same time, in the process.

By: Muyeol Jung

Who To Watch

Daegu FC goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo could have a vital role to play in this weekend's game in Gwangyang. The 26-year-old, who was named in South Korea's preliminary World Cup squad earlier this week, should be busy between the sticks as Daegu currently boast the joint-worst defensive record in the league. Nevertheless, if the six-foot-four keeper can keep Jeonnam at bay, Daegu may be able to climb off the bottom of the table.

Predictions

Aodan: Though we're just three month's into the season, this one already feels like a relegation six-pointer. The Dragons have won just four points at home so far this season and are struggling at both ends of the field. They've scored 13 goals in 13 games (an average of one goal a game), but have conceded 24 goals (1.84 per game). However, Daegu's figures are even more depressing. They've helped themselves to just seven goals (0.53 per game) and have shipped 25 at the other end (1.92 per game). What's more, Daegu have yet to record an away victory this season. So, if you're bursting to back a winner, the home team looks more likely. But I reckon it'll be a draw.

Match prediction: Jeonnam 1 – 1 Daegu

Muyeol: The Absence of Cesinha will certainly deprive Daegu of sharpness and diversity  up front and in attacking areas. However, he can successfully be replaced by youngsters like Jung Chi-in and Kim Dae-won, who have proven threatening enough on a number of occasions this season, even if they have failed to score. At the back, Kim Tae-han, who made his K League debut last time out, is likely to start again with Han Hee-hoon and Kim Jin-hyuk. And in goal, Cho Hyun-woo is ready, gritting his teeth. For him, it would be hugely embarrassing to join the National team with his club left winless at the bottom.

Match prediction: Jeonnam 1 – 1 Daegu

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