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Preview: Daegu FC vs Pohang Steelers

Preview: Daegu FC Vs Pohang Steelers K League 1
Daegu FC host Pohang Steelers at Daegu Stadium this Wednesday for K League 1 Round 18. The hosts earned seven points from the previous three games, while the visitors only managed to gather a single point during that time, suffering with a goal drought after the World Cup break. Will Andre’s side continue to keep this momentum alive or will the Steelers bounce back with a victory? Daegu Correspondent Muyeol previews this North Gyeongsang clash.
(image via K League)


Last Time Out

After such a dramatic win over Sangju Sangmu thanks to a very late winning goal from Hong Jung-woon, Daegu flew southwards to Jeju Island in midweek. Like the previous game, Andre kept with the same players and the same formation despite the risks of his players potentially suffering from fatigue. Unfortunately, the first half was not great for Daegu as they were outnumbered in the midfield area and lost the ball too easily and failed to deliver the ball sufficiently upfront. While Jeju were threatening Daegu’s goal with mid-range shots and on 17 minutes, a direct freekick from Kim Hyun-wook on the edge of the penalty area found its way over the over the wall and put the hosts 1-0 up.

Early on in second the half, Daegu levelled things up. The goal started from an interception in Daegu’s half; the intercepted ball was smoothly delivered via Cesinha and Hwang Soon-min who played in Jung Woo-jae to put the ball in the back of the net. Afterwards, Jeju played more aggressively, but their attempts were constantly denied by rising star Cho Hyun-woo. Just as it was approaching the 90 minute-mark, and with the game looking like it was going to end in a draw, Daegu defender Hong Jung-woon scored the winning goal again like he did in the previous game.

Highlights: here

Pohang hosted Gangwon last Sunday at the Steelyard. Early in the first half, the hosts won a penalty as the result of a clash between Leo Gamalho and a Gangwon defender. It would have been a good start for the hosts but, unfortunately for the Steelers, the Brazilian failed to hit the target. The hosts diligently attempted to score the opener, but their efforts couldn’t bare fruit. Despite their poor performances, Pohang goalkeeper Kang Hyun-moo who continued to shine. He showed himself to be solid in between the sticks and he made a critically important save from a very powerful strike from Uroš Đerić in stoppage time. In the end, Pohang had to settle for a point at home and left the field with the spectators jeering after the final whistle.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Pohang Steelers 3-0 Daegu FC

The two teams met at the opening match of this season when the hosts started the campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win over Daegu. Both teams approached each other very cautiously and it was a penalty to Pohang that began to separate the two teams. Leo Gamalho converted from the spot and Pohang took a 1-0 lead. In the second half, Daegu were mostly in the control of the game but had to kneel down to Pohang in the end, allowing Kim Seung-dae and Leo Gamalho to complete the scoring.


Team News

With very busy fixtures in scorching weather, Daegu are likely to play in a 3-4-3 formation with almost a similar line up to that which beat Jeju on Sunday. As usual, Edgar, Zé Roberto, and Cesinha will undoubtedly start again and look for a chances to score. Newcomers Edgar and Zé Roberto failed to score in last game, but they have shown they are talented enough. Cesinha in particular will be very keen to score as he is about to become the second 20 goals and 20 assists player in the club's history.

On each flank, Jung Woo-jae and Ko Jae-huk are expected to play despite the fixture pileup and the risk of fatigue. They both were very diligent against Jeju, moving back and forth along the touchline. In the middle between them, Hwang Soon-min will stay with Hong Jung-woon or Jung Sun-ho as regular starter Ryu Jae-moon was stretched off in the win over Jeju with a suspected ankle injury.

In defence, Kim Woo-suk and Kim Jin-hyuk will play together with Daegu Captain Han Hee-hoon, who has returned from suspension. Having the captain in the back line will certainly shore things up both physically and mentally.

Who To Watch

Hong Jong-woon (Image via K League)
At this point, it's worth shifting focus from the attackers to the defenders and one in defender particular, Hong Jung-woon. Hong Jung-woon is the top scorer in the team with three goals. The 1994-born defender signed for Daegu in 2016 and has made 42 appearances so far with three goals and two assists. Before he joined Daegu, he played four games for U23 Korean National Team in 2015. In fact, the 187cm tall defender was originally a central defender, but now he is capable of playing as defensive midfielder as well thanks to intense training and hard work during the 2017 season. This year, he has been solid at the back and has made huge contributions from set pieces. All his three goals were headers from corner kicks and so if Pohang aren't careful Hong could add to his tally.

Prediction

Whilst it cannot be said with certainty that Daegu are a better side than Pohang, recent form and the mood within the two squads must be taken into consideration. Daegu will remind themselves of a fond memory of beating Pohang 3-0 at home exactly this time in last year. That was the moment Daegu bounced back and get out of relegation zone. Considering current form and records, Daegu are capable of getting a narrow win over Pohang.

Daegu FC 2-1 Pohang Steelers

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