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Preview: Sangju Sangmu vs Jeju United

K League 1 Preview: Sangju Sangmu vs Jeju United


Jeju United travel away to Sangju Sangmu in the final K league 1 fixture for both clubs before the World Cup break.  These two sides have already played each other on one occasion, which ended in a goalless draw.  Both sides come into the encounter in good form and will be looking to finish the first portion of the season on a positive note.  K League United's Branko Belan previews the match.

Match: Sangju Sangmu vs Jeju United
Venue: Sangju Civic Stadium
Kickoff: Sunday May 20th, 14:00 KST

Last Time Out

Sangju Sangmu 3-2 Incheon United

Sangju have had an excellent start to the season, despite playing their first ten matches of the campaign away from home.  Their good run of form continued with a 3-2 victory last time out against Incheon, bringing their season point total to 21, good for fifth in the table, and only two points behind Jeju going into Sunday's action.

Sangju started the match brightly, and were quickly rewarded for their aggressive forward play.  Hong Chul put the hosts into the lead after only six minutes when he swung a corner into the area that was badly mis-handled by Incheon 'keeper Lee Jin-hyung, who should have made a routine play, but the ball deflected off his hands and went into the net.

Sangju would double their advantage in the 23rd minute through Kim Nam-chun, who latched on to a punched ball in the box, following another corner, as he shot low and out of the reach of Lee.

It would be three eight minutes from time in the first half, as Kim Tae-hwan was persistent in possession on the right flank and played a low ball into the box for Kim Min-woo, who had little difficulty firing in from close range while the Incheon defence stood and watched, leaving the visitors with little chance of a comeback the rest of the way.

The second half would come to life for Incheon, however, and they would pull one back through Mugosa in the 51st minute.  After being denied in close by Yoo Sang-hoon, Incheon would score on their next rush up the pitch, as the Montenegrin ran into open space and scooped up a free ball from close range, slotting the ball into the bottom corner, for his seventh goal of the season.

The deficit was cut to one only seven minutes later, when Moon Seon-min was able to recover and then hold possession on the left long enough to cross into the box where Lee Yun-pyo's cheeky header found its way in off the post, with Yoon rooted to his spot on the goal line.

There would be few quality chances to speak of the rest of the way, and Sangju were able to hold on for the win.  With the loss, Incheon manager Lee Ki-hyung, who had already been under considerable pressure owing to a poor string of results, resigned only days afterwards.  Sangju on the other hand, put in a strong performance and took the points.

Highlights: here

Jeju United 1-0 Jeonnam Dragons

Jeju came into the match against Jeonnam with the knowledge that victory was possible having already won away against the South Jeolla side earlier in the season by a margin of 3-0.

The Islanders were already down to ten men before the match was even ten minutes old, when Kim Sang-won appeared to dig his cleats into the leg of Yang Juna.  The incident was reviewed with VAR, and Kim was immediately sent off despite his pleas that it was an accidental coincidence.

Jeju had a chance to go into the lead in the 24th minute, when the Brazilian duo of Tiago Marques and Magno played a one-two combination just inside the Jeju half, allowing for Magno to make a long run through the Jeonnam defence, but his effort at goal was easily saved by Lee Ho-seung.

Jeju kept mounting pressure on the Jeonnam defence in the second half, but they just couldn't find the touch to take the lead.  Jin Seong-wook should have scored on 68 minutes after Magno played a delightful little dink right onto his foot, but once again, the shot was off the mark.

Jeju's persistence would finally pay off with fifteen minutes remaining as Jin Seong-wook skipped out of a challenge at midfield and ran up the right before laying off for Magno just outside the area, and the Brazilian effortlessly seemed almost to flick the ball toward goal, and it ended up in the net.

The visitors tried frantically to tie things up in the time remaining, but they were not able to effectively cause any danger in front of goal, and Jeju were lucky enough to come away with the spoils despite being at a disadvantage for the bulk of the match.

Highlights: here


Team News

Sangju had a pair of defenders selected for the upcoming World Cup in Russia.  Hong Chul and Kim Min-woo did themselves and their club a favor by scoring against Incheon, showing that they are capable of contributing at both ends of the pitch.  It is also a testament to how far the club have come since last season's debacle almost saw them relegated to K League 2.

Sangju have had a very strong season thus far, but it remains to be seen how the rest of the season will play out.  There is no mistaking that they indeed have a favorable schedule ahead of them with only five away matches remaining for the balance of the season.  

Regarding their win over Incheon, coach Kim Tae-wan thanked his players for the effort they put forth playing in intense heat and was more than happy with the first half performance, and, even though Incheon managed to get back into the match in the second half, he was happy for his team to get the victory. 

Jeju's Oh Ban-suk was selected Korea's preliminary 28-man World Cup squad by Shin Tae-yong earlier this week.  He has been at United since 2010, and this is the first time for him to be called up for the national team.

He has made eleven appearances so far this season, and his return to the lineup has coincided with Jeju's better results of late, now having won four of their past five matches.  Oh was one of the best defenders in the K League last season, and was a major reason why Jeju had the second best defensive record in the top flight.

He said he did not expect the call-up, but with an injury to Kim Min-jae, he was given consideration.  He credits his time at Jeju United for helping him to grow as a player, and vows to prove his selection worthy as he competes to cement his place on the final roster for Russia.

The Adversary


Sangju has been a completely different team this season compared to last, as they are now within shouting distance of the top three in the league.  A win over Jeju would see them leapfrog The Islanders in the standings, and, with that in mind, another strong effort is expected of them this weekend.

They have played with much more maturity and have shown that they have the capability of being a good defensive side.  Despite surrendering two goals in a short span against Incheon, a team with a penchant for goals themselves, Sangju held firm the last half hour and claimed three important points to position themselves well for when the league resumes play in July.  But, they first have to go out and try to secure another positive result against Jeju.  If they can replicate their performance in April, they stand a good chance of doing just that.

Prediction

Both teams come into the match hoping for a good result to end the first portion of the campaign on a high note.  While both teams won last weekend, they did so in very different ways.

Sangju exploded for three goals in the first half, and then had to hold the fort against a furious comeback attempt, while Jeju, down to ten men for eighty minutes, managed not to concede and were able to create a goal to get the win against Jeonnam.

It will likely be another tight affair which could well be decided by nuances.  Last season, Jeju were in complete control of the series, but this season is already proving to be a different story.

If Jeju come out and play the attacking style of football that K League observers have been accustomed to, three points could be in the bag.  But, Sangju are playing with a sense of pride this year, and they will prove to be a tough test once again.

Prediction: Sangju Sangmu 1-1 Jeju United



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