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Preview: Seongnam vs Seoul E-Land

K League 2 Preview: Seongnam vs Seoul E-Land

The K League 2 is well and truly back in business, as this weekend sees Seoul E-Land make the short trip down to Seongnam FC, for a first vs ninth clash at Tancheon sports complex. On paper, the game features two sides of stark contrast between a struggling E-Land outfit vs a high flying Seongnam team. However, results this season has shown, that anyone can truly beat anyone in this division, and Seongnam will not rest easily against a supposed “weaker” side, who were on the end of a terrible 3-0 loss midweek against 7th placed Gwangju FC.
(image via K League)

Last Time Out

Whilst Seongnam had the comfort of resting this weekend, Seoul E-Land had to make the trip down south for a midweek clash against Gwangju FC in what ended in an schooling for E-Land. They fell a goal down in the first 16 minutes, when Na Sang-ho slotted home the ball from a cross.

E-Land were erratic in their defense and left the middle empty for Gwangju to go in and score easily. The second goal came for the home side in the 58th minute when a long-range chance from Kim Jung-hwan trickled into the back of the net. Gwangju's third went straight through Glory's (Kim Young-kwang) legs as Kim Min-gyu made it 3-0 and put the game to bed.

Regardless of the game being away from home for The Leopards, their performance was poor and they really did not create anything for Gwangju to deal with. They looked lifeless and lacked any instinct in both attacking and defending. There was too much relying on Choi Oh-Baek once again, and, as we know, one man does not make a team.

Seongnam, as stated before, had the advantage of not playing midweek. Their weekend fixture made clear that automatic promotion is well within their sights as they faced off against Bucheon 1995. The away trip for Seongnam resulted in a 2-1 victory for the Magpies. It was a lifeless first half, with no goals or main points to talk about for either team.

The second half really brought the game to life and, in the 64th minute, Bucheon drew first blood as Jin Chang-soo put the ball into the back of the magpie's net. Seongnam however, would not let Bucheon off so lightly. It only took the side two minutes after the restart to make it level at 1-1. A goal from Choi Byung-chan tied the score. Choi went from strength to strength and only 4 minutes later in the 70th minute, he bagged his brace.

The score read 2-1 at full time, and Seongnam came away with a valuable three points. The win propped Seongnam once again at the top of the league, one point ahead of Asan Mugunghwa. The league is really starting to heat up for both teams and they will hope to drop as fewer points as possible as we reach the halfway point of the season.

Highlights of the fixture can be found here

Previous Meetings

The last time these two sides met was in wet and freezing cold conditions in Jamsil. The game brought only the most hardcore of fans to stray out onto the temporary stand to watch their team perform. The downpour of rain and poor weather really affected the game, as the two sides played out a 1-1 draw in the Olympic stadium. The conditions were so bad, that no team really pushed for the attack, as one mistake could of costing them not only a goal but possibility potential injuries.

Cha Jae-wan celebrates his goal against Seongnam FC, when the two sides met back in April. (Image via K League)

Seoul E-Land scored in the first 10 minutes of the game, as Cha Jae-wan slotted the ball home for the Leopards. They managed to go into halftime with the lead, only to concede within the first minute of the second half. Yeon Je-un levelled the score, and that was the final result.

Hopefully, when the two sides meet on Saturday, we are forecasted sunny skies and warmer temperatures as this will bring a faster pace and more risk into the game than what we saw back in April.

Team News

Seoul E-Land granted the debut of signings of Lee Hyun-Sung and Ahn Sung-bin by playing them in the starting line up against Gwangju midweek. The two foreign signings of Herrera and Ivan Herceg were placed on the bench. Herrera came into the picture in the second half, but only really had 20 minutes to show any talent, and will have to wait for another opportunity to show his worth.

Seoul E-Land have signed Chilean winger Herrera. He will wear the number 11 shirt, previously worn by Daniel Febles. (Photo Credit: www.facebook.com/seouleland)
Seoul E-Land played finally with four at the back again, with Choi Han-sol in defensive midfield. Cha Jae-wan and Choi Oh-Baek were on the left and right flanks, and Cho Chan-ho as the striker. Left-back Kim Tae-eun came off in the Gwangju game with a slight knock and maybe a doubt for the Seongnam fixture.

It is difficult to predict E-Land’s formation and team sheet as of late, In Chang-soo, is constantly changing and experimenting with different partnerships and link ups, but we may see a similar defensive formation at the weekend.

The Adversary

Seongnam are having an exceptional campaign so far this year, with a record of nine wins, five draws, and only three losses since the start of March. Prior to the win on the weekend though, Seongnam did recently take a drop in form. It started with a 1-1 draw at home against Anyang, followed by two straight defeats in a row against Asan and Busan IPark. Apart from the slightly poor form, Seongnam have been aiming and trying to achieve the automatic promotion space come the end of the year.

Their top scorer this year is Jung Sung-min with five goals, yet the attacker has only played ten games so far. Seongnam have really spread their goal scoring across their midfield. This is due to their tactics of pushing forward constantly when on the attack, creating chances from the wings and stringing together multiple passes, looking for the right pass.

Seongnam have lost two players in this summer transfer window so far. Martin Oršulić had recently his contract terminated. the Croatian has suffered a few injuries this year and has only made two appearances for the side in this campaign. The other departure saw Brazilian midfielder, Muralha leave the club. The 25-year-old only joined the Magpies at the start of 2018 and the departure has angered a few fans as he has already scored three goals in 11 appearances and looked like a good prospect for the side.

They have added to their squad, however, acquiring the services of the midfielder Kim Min-Hyeok. The Korean has only had two starts for Pohang Steelers this year and will move to Seongnam in a hope of getting game time and a few goals to his name.

Prediction

It’s difficult to guess the outcome of most games in the K League 2 this season, with even the most predictable of games having left both fans and teams stunned by their results on occasions. However, Seongnam are an outfit desperate to recreate their glory years of old and make it back into the big time.

Seoul E-Land will have a few new signings at their arsenal, which could give a much-needed morale boost for the side. The game will be E-Land’s third in the same week, and it is expected to see some tired legs due to this.

I would say E-Land need to go into the game defensively and work on the counter because, if they try to attack and run at Seongnam, they will burn out and they will become easy pickings for the emphatic side. I have to lean more towards Seongnam this week with them being at home and also being the league leaders, but they may once again dip in form, as seen in their recent results.

Predicted Score: Seongnam 2-1 Seoul E-Land


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