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Preview: Pohang Steelers vs Gangwon FC

Preview: Pohang Steelers Vs Gangwon FC K League 1 Round 17
A thrilling 3-3 draw with Incheon United leaves Gangwon still in 6th place and four points adrift of the top four. They travel to the Steelyard to take on a Pohang side still licking its wounds after a 3-0 battering by FC Seoul. A win for Pohang would move them level on points with Gangwon, and back in the race for the top half. Steve Price previews Gangwon's match against Pohang on Sunday.
(image via K League)

Last Time Out

Two points from two of the easiest opponents in the league means Gangwon are in danger of falling into the bottom half of the table. Defensive mistakes cost them against Jeonnam Dragons last weekend, and they certainly weren't solid at the back against Incheon United. Credit has to be given to Incheon, who have now scored six in two games, but at the same time, Gangwon's defence were too slow to react on occasions, and seemed to lack a bit of fight. Incheon's third goal sums that up, with half the Gangwon defence standing still while Incheon had a shot saved, hit the bar, then scored on the third attempt. You'd expect the defenders to at least react to the incident instead of standing around halfheartedly appealing for offside. At the other end of the pitch, Diego scored a great individual goal, getting past a defender on the byline and smashing the ball into the roof of the net for Gangwon's first, and Uroš Ðerić scored an excellent header from 15 yards out for the equaliser late on. It may be a point gained rather than two lost, but this match combined with the Jeonnam game suggest that Gangwon's defensive woes are here to stay.

Previous Meetings

The last time Gangwon played Pohang the score was 0-0. It was Gangwon's only goalless draw of the the season so far and it's unlikely that this Sunday's encounter will end up with the same scoreline. That's not to say it was a bore-draw, there was plenty of action with both goalkeepers making some fine saves. In the 89th minute, Kwon Wan-kyu also got sent off for Pohang for a rash challenge.

Team News

Moon Chang-jin made his second debut for Gangwon in Wednesday's match against Incheon. He was replaced by Diego at half time, and after Lee Geun-ho's move to Ulsan, these two players will be key to creating Gangwon's chances, along with Jeong Seok-hwa. Gangwon have been trying out different formations recently, with foreign defenders Valentinos and McGowan popping up in midfield, possibly in an attempt to replicate Connor Chapman's success in that position for Pohang. Either way, Gangwon's line up will be hard to predict before matchday.

The Adversary

Back-to-back defeats for the Steelers have somewhat derailed their push for the top half. With 19 points, they are safe from the drop for now, but if they don't win soon they might start looking over their shoulder at the teams in the drop zone. Pohang's biggest problem is their lack of goals. Apart from a surprise 3-0 win against Jeonbuk, they've only scored twice in their last nine outings. Gangwon's leaky defence might give Pohang a chance to improve on that statistic on Sunday.

Who To Watch

With Lee Geun-ho's departure, Diego has a chance to re-establish himself as one of Gangwon's key creators. He scored an excellent solo goal against Incheon United on Wednesday, and his direct nature has caused many teams problems. He has only scored four times this season so far, so he will have to put his shooting boots on if he wants to top the thirteen goals he scored for Gangwon last season.

Prediction

The last time these two teams met, it was a goalless draw. Both managers would sell their soul for a clean sheet but like always with Gangwon, I predict goals.

Pohang Steeles 1-1 Gangwon FC



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