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Preview: Gwangju FC vs Seoul E-Land

K League 2 Preview: Gwangju FC vs Seoul-E-Land
Seoul E-Land made their much-anticipated return last weekend when the K League 2 resumed after a three-week hiatus, but the Leopards failed to pick up a single point as they fell to Suwon FC at home. E-Land now have the gruelling task of playing two away games in the same week, which starts this Wednesday when they make the trip down south to Gwangju FC. Gwangju sits in 7th position, and because Wednesday's fixture is one of E-Land’s games in hand, a victory for The Leopards will see them return to 8th place.
(image via K League)

Last Time Out

The heavens truly opened an hour before Seoul’s encounter with Suwon on the weekend, monsoon style of rain ripped across the Olympic Stadium. This made for a soaking wet pitch that let the ball zip around.

With this being said, it was expected for a fast, end-to-end game. In reality, we got a dull 70 minutes of football, followed by a sudden urgency from both sides. The first half came with no incidents, a yellow card for E-Land’s Cha Jae-wan was probably the most notable moment of the first 45.

The first 20 minutes of second half failed to produce even a shot taken by either side and with urgency between the teams, it was clear there was a bit of rust from the short break. Suwon did get into the game, however, and a one-on-one encounter between Baek Sung-dong, and E-Land’s keeper Kim Young-kwang saw the Suwon player slot the ball home, giving the away side a 1-0 win.

It wasn’t great football once again from E-Land, as they set up in a 3-5-2 formation. E-Land are struggling with only three at the back. It showed in the Asan game before the break and it also came across in the Suwon game.

Highlights of the match can be found here

It appeared that Gwangju had a lot more entertaining game on Sunday evening, as they welcomed Asan Mugunghwa to the Gwangju World Cup Stadium. Asan took the lead early on in the game, with a goal from Lee Myeong-ju putting the Police team ahead. Gwangju equalised in the second half when Kim Jung-hwan made it 1-1.

Asan made it back into the into the game, only four minutes from the restart, and in the 59th minute, made it 2-1 with a goal from Kim Ryun-do. Gwangju managed to salvage a point on the cusp of injury time, as Lim Min-hyuk made it all square for the second time. A valuable point for Gwangju, as they spent the majority of the game on the back foot. The draw will give them confidence, moving into Wednesday's fixture.

Highlights of the fixture can be found here

Previous Meetings

The two sides previously met all the way back in March in the Jamsil Olympic Stadium. Both teams were still looking for their first win of the campaign, so stakes were high to get the ball rolling for their respective seasons. What we did end up getting, however, was a boring, stalemate of a 0-0 draw.

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The last time Seoul E-Land played Gwangju FC, was back in March in Jamsil Olympic Stadium. The game ended in a 0-0 draw (Photo Credit: www.facebook.com/seouleland)
The two sides played very sheepishly, and there was no real desire for any player to take the game by the scruff of the neck. The result was Gwangju’s third 0-0 draw in four games, and it was their bland style of football which controlled the game.

Since then, we have seen the form of both teams slightly pick up. Gwangju has recorded five wins since that encounter, and E-Land four. With this being said, hopefully, we can see a much more interesting game from the two teams, as they face off on Wednesday evening.

Team News

This week will be very interesting to see who Seoul E-Land will bring into the side. With their four new signings now eligible to play, we may see a completely different formation and line up from that of defeat to Suwon at the weekend.

Wednesday’s game will see Jeon Min-gwang once again eligible to play, fitness permitting. The Korean was really missed at wing back at the weekend to really loft the ball forward. He could be positioned next to new Croatian signing Ivan Herceg, making his debut after signing from Gyeongnam.

E-Land fans are highly anticipating seeing what new signing Ignacio José Herrera Fernández, can offer for the club. The Chilean winger arrives from the Azerbaijan league, and had scored eight goals Neftçi PFK this season.

Club favourites such as Ahn Ji-ho in defence, Choi Oh-baek in midfield and Cha Jae-wan in the attack could all be set to feature in the clash. Cha Jae-wan has played more of an attacking midfielder as of late, and it will be interesting to see if the new signings push him further up the pitch.

The Adversary

It hasn’t exactly been fantastic for Gwangju FC this season. Following relegation from the K League 1 last year, Gwangju was expected to at least be hovering around the playoff positions. However, we have seen a very dull, defensive style of football from the South Jeolla outfit.

With that being said, they have had moments of magic in their campaign, Gwangju did put five goals past Suwon back in April and have won two of the last three games before the break. Their last game, as noted previously, was a hard fought 2-2 draw against Asan Mugunghwa. The side will use the momentum of a point gained from the tie, and attempt to really dent E-Land's confidence even more than it has done already this season.

Na Sang-ho has been prolific for Gwangju this season, and is a vital player in their attempt to climb up the table

Gwangju have a great prospect on their hands, in striker Na Sang-ho. The 21 year old Korean, has already scored seven this season and is their top scorer in the team. Mentions have to go out for defender Park Yo-han, who has been their go-to defender this season.

Prediction

Gwangju FC against Seoul E-Land last time around was a very dull and bland affair. Since then the two teams have been very unpredictable, both have wins against top teams and both have suffered losses.

There is a lot more riding on this game on Wednesday evening, as mentioned in the KLU’s K League 2 show, anyone from 2nd position to the 8th position have a chance of making the playoffs.

The league is wide open, and it’s a testament to how much every team in the second tier want to be promoted. The game is really the last chance for E-Land, as these two games in hand should be the matches they pick up points in if they are still to be in contention for a playoff spot.

With that being said, there'll be questions marks over whether the new signings can gel quickly enough to get any real result away from home so soon. Gwangju will play a home-field advantage and so it'd will be surprising if In Chang-soo opts to play three at the back for this one.

Predicted Score: Gwangju FC 1-1 Seoul E-Land

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