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Preview: FC Seoul vs Jeonnam Dragons

FC Seoul vs Jeonnam Dragons Preview K League 1 R18
FC Seoul's second home game in a week sees Lee Eulyong's men welcome Jeonnam Dragons to Sangam on Wednesday. Seoul are unbeaten since the World Cup break but have drawn two of their three games. Jeonnam ended a run of  seven games without a win by displacing Sangju Sangmu at the weekend and will be looking to put further daylight between themselves and the other relegation-threatened teams below them. Both Seoul and Jeonnam need the three points but the Dragons have proven that they can beat Seoul having done so once already this term.
(image via K League)

Overview

via Soccerway


Last Time Out

FC Seoul 1-1 Ulsan Hyundai

FC Seoul came from behind to salvage a draw against Ulsan Hyundai at home on Sunday night. The hosts fell behind following a superb one-two between Han Seungkyu and Lee Youngjae, allowing former to find himself with only the 'keeper to beat. The 23-year-old winger steered the ball past an on-rushing Yang Hanbin before slotting home after what was undoubtedly the move of the match thus far.

Seoul got themselves level just before half time with a fortuitous freekick. Full back Yun Sukyoung sent a cross in towards the penalty spot where centre half Lee Woonghee tried to flick the ball goalward. The flight of Yun's cross left the goalkeeper stranded and sailed into the far corner to draw Lee Eulyong's men level, much to the relief of the Sangam faithful.

Both sides had spells in the game to go on and get a winner but neither could really find the right pass or make the right decision in and around the 18-yard box. Former FC Seoul favourite Sergio Escudero came off the bench for Ulsan, as did Lee Keunho who made their respective debuts. The only really telling contribution the pair could make was Escudero injuring Seoul midfielder Kim Seongjun. For Seoul, injuries to Shin Jinho and Kim Seongjun, who was actually Shin Jinho's replacement, forced Seoul into some personnel changes. Evandro came on for Kim Seongjun, Go Yohan dropped into the centre of midfield. Once Go Yohan was playing centrally, Seoul were able to bring the ball forward with much more vigour and drive but, still, that elusive second goal evaded them.

Highlights: here

Jeonnam Dragons 2-0 Sangju Sangmu

Jeonnam Dragons picked up a vital win in midweek, dispatching military side Sangju Sangmu by two-goals-to-nil at Dragon Dungeon. The opener came in the 60th minute, Heo Yongjoon with a tremendous solo effort, finding the far corner after turning Sangju's Lee Minchae inside out. The 25-year-old winger picked the ball up along the left-hand touchline and, with trickery and poise, allowed himself the time and space to fire the ball into the bottom left-hand corner of Yoo Sanghoon's goal.

It didn't take long for Yoo Sanchul's men to double their advantage either as K League journeyman Wanderson Carvalho, the former Daejeon Citizen, Jeju United, and Pohang Steelers utility man, fired up a sweetly-struck free kick in the 65th minute. Kim Youngwook picked up a loose ball after Sangju had failed to clear the lines but the Dragons skipper was hauled to the floor by a retreating Kim Minwoo on the edge of the box. Kim Youngwook and Wanderson both steadied themselves to take but it was Wanderson who let loose from 20 yards into the top right-hand corner. On-loan FC Seoul 'keeper Yoo Sanghoon got a hand to it but was unable to prevent Wanderson from bagging his second goal of the season.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Earlier in the campaign, for round nine, these two sides met in Gwangyang where the Dragons came from behind to beat a beleaguered FC Seoul side 2-1. Cho Youngwook put Seoul in front inside seven minutes, Go Yohan with the assist, with what was the youngster's first as a professional. However, Seoul struggled to build on their lead and eventually Jeonnam got a foothold in the game after the restart. In the 53rd minute Lee Jinam levelled before Croatian midfielder Vedran Jugović found the winner with a daisy cutter from the edge of the box to give the Dragons the win.

However, said victory was Jeonnam's first win over Seoul in three years and have been unable to beat Seoul on their own patch in over four years. The Dragons' last victory in the capital was in March 2014 when a Lee Hyunseung penalty on the hour mark proved to be the decisive goal.

There have only been two goalless draws between FC Seoul and Jeonnam Dragons, both of which were over 14 years ago - the first two times the two teams met. Since then there have been some high scoring affairs, most notably a 3-3 draws in 2008 and a 6-1 Seoul win a year later, Ki Sungyeung was on the scoresheet that afternoon for FC Seoul. The highest score encounter at Sangam came in 2015 when Seoul won 3-2 thanks to goals from Osmar, Adriano and Yu Jutae for Seoul and a Lee Jongho brace for the Dragons.

Team News

FC Seoul will be without the services of Kim Seongjun for the rest of the season. The former Seongnam midfielder ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament as the result of a challenge from Ulsan Hyundai's Sergio Escudero on Wednesday. Kim was a second half substitute, coming on for Shin Jinho, but lasted just eight minutes. Shin Jinho also appeared to have taken a knock and so may be also be a doubt. Defensive midfielder Hwang Kiwook was also taken off during the 1-1 draw with Ulsan and so caretaker gaffer Lee Eulyong may be forced into making changes to the centre of midfield. This could pave the way for Song Jinhyung, who is said to be nearing full fitness, to make his first appearance since rejoining FC Seoul last year. Jung Hyeoncheol was an unused substitute in midweek and may be in line to make his first appearance since April. Up front, Lee Eulyong could hand recent acquisition Bojan Matic his debut after the 27-year-old Serbian striker signed on Tuesday afternoon.

For Jeonnam, long-term injury absentee Choi Jaehyun returned to the field for the first time in three months in the victory over Sangju last Saturday. The left wing-back, who was injured in the 3-0 defeat to Jeonbuk on April fourth, was introduced as a substitute in the 63rd minute and so should be fit enough for the bench once more. Australian centre back James Donachie may also be contention for a place on the bench after sitting out the last game though a minor injury. However, influential midfielder Vedran Jugović is set to out for up to three weeks with an undisclosed injury. In addition, Wanderson De Maceda, who hasn't featured in any of Jeonnam's last four matchday squads, is likely to have played his last game for the Dragons. A source close to the club suggested that the former Gwangju forward is set to be offloaded in order to free up a place in the Dragons' squad for a foreign import.
- Aodan Halligan

The Adversary

Buoyed by their first victory in three months, the Jeonnam Dragons should be full of confidence ahead of this match against fellow strugglers FC Seoul. And the next couple of games could have a big bearing on the visitors’ season as they have to play teams right above them in the table. Jeonnam have proved a tough nut to crack on the road this season and are unbeaten on their travels since May. In fact, the Dragons have only failed to take points in two of their away games this year – in the defeats against league-leaders Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and high-flying Jeju United. Therefore, FC Seoul may have their work cut out for them.

Dragons’ head coach Yoo Sangchul favours a 3-4-3 formation on the road and leaves very little space for opponents so most of the Dragons away games have been tight affairs. Croatian midfielder Vedran Jugović is a key component of this system but has been ruled out through injury and was substituted early in the second half in the victory over Sangju last Saturday. The Dragons, who kept a clean sheet last time out, may opt to stick with the same back three, but new signing James Donachie should be available after missing the last match through injury. Elsewhere, Yoo will no doubt ring in the changes as this will be his side’s fourth game in ten days and Jeonnam have to play three more games this month.
Aodan Halligan

Jeonnam Dragons Lineup Vs Sangju Sangmu R17


Who To Watch


Winger Heo Yongjoon showed what he was capable of during Jeonnam's 2-0 win over Sangju Sangmu in midweek, firing in the game's opening goal. The 25-year-old showed how direct he can be and how much of a threat he is when the ball is played into the channels. The 2018 season got off to a slow start for Heo but since returning to the fold in May, the local-born winger has featured in every game, scoring twice. The Yeosu-born third-year professional has the pace and directness to cause Seoul problems and so the likes of Yun Sukyoung and Park Dongjin, two very attacking full backs, will need to remember their defensive responsibilities come Wednesday night.

Prediction

This is an absolute must-win game for FC Seoul. Wednesday's draw at home to Ulsan was respectable but a draw did little for either side, the same will be the case on Wednesday as Seoul look to begin their tilt towards the top six. Caretaker manager Lee Eulyong went on record this week to say that getting into the Championship Round of the split is Seoul's first priority. At present, FC Seoul are eighth and three points behind Gangwon in sixth. A win for Seoul would move them up a place and level on points with Gangwon who would still preserve their sixth place due to a superior goals scored tally. For Jeonnam, Yoo Sangchul's men will be feeling confident after their boisterous performance against Sangju in midweek and, having already beaten Seoul already this season, will feel as though they are capable of doing so again. Without influential midfielder Vedran Jugovic, this might be easier said than done but Seoul often struggle to break down teams that keep things tight and it could be another frustrating night at Sangam if Seoul can't unlock the Dragons' defense. If Evandro starts and Go Yohan is in the centre of midfield then Seoul will have a much better chance of securing all three points.

FC Seoul 1-0 Jeonnam Dragons



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