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Preview: Daegu FC vs Suwon Bluewings

Preview: Daegu FC vs Suwon Samsung Bluewings K League 1
Prior to the international break, 10th ranked Daegu FC will host ACL contenders Suwon Bluewings at Daegu Stadium on this Sunday. With a heated relegation battle ongoing and only four points separating Daegu and Jeonnam in their fight to avoid the drop, will Andre’s side continue to cruise above his team's relegation rivals. Or, will Suwon halt Daegu’s ascendancy with a win that could see the the Bluewings step up into the automatic ACL places? Daegu FC Correspondent Muyeol Jung and Suwon Bluewings Correspondent Scott Whitelock preview this clash.
(image via K League)


Last Time Out

Daegu invited Gangwon to Daegu Stadium for round 26 of the 2018 K League action last weekend. Ahead of the clash, there was a dark shadow cast over the Sky Blues as Andre's side seemed to have lost not only the result, but also key players during game against Jeonbuk. His strongest players played over and over again without rotation and irreplaceable winger Jung Woo-jae came off injured.
On the day of the game, Andre’s selections looked unusually surprising; Ze Roberto was totally out of the squad and was replaced by other Brazilians, Edgar and Cesinha, who had been side-lined up until then. Also, Japanese midfielder Tsubasa was named in the starting XI with Jung Woo-jae not expected to feature.

In the first half, Daegu were mostly dominating the game, while Gangwon's Đerić missed two sitters. Particularly, at around half way point, Kim Dae-won was so close to scoring a fantastic opener with brilliant link up with teammates, but the ball just went off target by the narrowest wide of margins from inside the penalty area. The second half started in similar fashion to the first. Despite the hosts' dominant, the Sky Blues were finding it to hard to break the deadlock. After a goalless opening 80 minutes, in which Daegu had huffed and puffed without being able to find a way past Gangwon’s goalkeeper Lee Bumyoung, the Sky Blues took the lead through Cesinha’s lovely curling shot near from the edge of the penalty area. Substitute Ryu Jae-moon quickly doubled the lead with a mid-range shot along the ground. After that, caretaker Kim Byungsoo’s side was unable to hit back.

By beating Gangwon at home, Daegu maintained 10th place in the table and narrowed the gap down down to three points with the ninth-place soldiers side Sangju. After the win, Cesinha became only the the second player to complete 20 goals and 20 assists for Daegu.

Highlights can be found here

Managerless Suwon pulled off one of the shocks of the season on Wednesday night, when they embarrassed runaway league leaders, Jeonbuk Hyundai, winning 3-0 in the 1st leg of the Asian Champions League quarter-final.

A fairly even first half was controlled well by Suwon, but the home team came back fighting after the break and could have taken the lead after a period of pressure, when Lopes hit the post. But shortly after, with Suwon camped in their own half, a rapid counter attack saw Elvis Saric collect the ball in acres of space on the left hand side of the pitch. The midfielder carried the ball the length of the Jeonbuk half and his expertly timed pass found it’s way to Dejan, who rolled the ball into the net to claim an unlikely goal for the away team.

7 minutes later Suwon doubled their lead after Jeonbuk failed to clear a Suwon attack. The ball fell to the head of Lee Jong-sung who cushioned a header to Dejan. The striker, collecting the ball on the edge of the area and with his back to goal, spun and sent a powerful shot into the bottom corner, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance.

Suwon were in dreamland just moments later when a beautiful first time cross from Saric was met by the head of substitute, Han Eui-kwon, who powered his header into the top corner to put the away side 3 goals up.

With the 2nd leg still to navigate, the tie is not over, just yet. But with that victory Suwon took a huge step towards their first ACL semi-final in seven years.


Highlights can be found here


Previous Meetings

Seven losses and three draws from the last ten meetings are the result for Daegu. Historically, the Sky Blues have beaten Suwon only twice from 32 meetings and the latest win over Bluewings dates back to October 2009. Since Daegu were promoted to K League 1 in 2017, Daegu have met Suwon five times and the best results were two draws recorded in 2017. This year, Daegu were defeated 2-0 for what was Daegu's home opener before a 2-0 loss at Big Bird on 13th May.

From the current team’s squad, none of players have never scored against Suwon, but Cesinha with a goal in 2017’s first clash. Afterwards, Daegu never found the net for four games in a row

Team News

Daegu

Daegu have no players suspended here, but Ko Seung-bum will definitely be out as he is not able to play against his parent club. Also, heavily fatigued players will have had chance to fully recharge their batteries thanks to a full week’s recovery. The reason why Ze Roberto was out in the previous game was presumably fatigue rather then through injury as he had been heavily involved in every single game since joining Daegu. Therefore, he is likely to return to the squad and play with Edgar and Cesinha.

In the meantime, there’s a good news for Daegu. Former Jeonbuk forward, Cho Suk-jae, seems to be ready to play. He disappeared from the squad for a long time after a couple of appearances as a substitute. On Wednesday he was named on the bench and came on as a second half as substitute, getting himself on the scoresheet in the process when Daegu Reserves beat Gyeongnam Reserves 6-2. Youngsters and bench players like Jung Sun-ho, Jeon Hyun-cheol, Jung Chi-in, Lim Jae-hyuk, Ko Jae-hyun, Kim Woo-suk, and Kim Jin-hyuk played to maintain their skills and match fitness. Nevertheless, Andre’s selection will be conservatively similar to before with subtle changes.

Suwon

Park Ki-dong came in for some rough treatment from Jeonbuk on Wednesday night and the forward limped from the field with a black eye, bloodied nose and his shoulder in a brace. It’s likely that he will miss this game but Suwon will hope that his shoulder injury isn’t as bad as first expected. Right-back, Choi Seug-geun, was also substituted after suffering an injury in Jeonju and so Jang Ho-ik will likely play in his place.

Lim Sang-hyub, playing in a more familiar left-sided midfield role, put in a workmanlike, if unspectacular, performance against Jeonbuk and he would probably feel hard done by if he is dropped for the trip to Daegu.

Fatigue aside, Lee Byeung-keun, is expected to field much of the same side that performed so well in the Jeonbuk game.

By Scott Whitelock

The Adversary


The resignation of Seo Jung-won on Tuesday afternoon seemed to have left Suwon in a huge, troublesome hole. The mood around the club, for the entirety of August, had been low. But the complexion of Suwon’s whole season has now changed because of that win in Jeonju.

With Seo gone Suwon looked unrecognisable to the team that had succumbed so meekly against Jeonbuk, Seoul, Ulsan and Jeonnam in recent weeks. Lee Byeung-keun, taking temporary charge of the side, instantly ditched the much maligned 3-4-3 system that Seo favoured and decided to field the team in a 4-4-2 formation. The switch in formation was a huge success with the team finally being able to play to the strengths of their star players. Dejan was able to use the target man, Park Ki-dong, as a foil to create extra space for himself, whilst the midfield duo of Saric and Lee Jong-sung worked tirelessly to create and defend in equal measure. There was a wonderful attacking balance to the team, with each player knowing exactly where they should be at what time.

The adventure shown by Lee Byeung-keun in, not only, selecting that starting eleven, but also having the nerve to have his team go out and take the game to Jeonbuk, should be commended. The former Gyeongnam coach helped the players and the club regain some pride and the win is perhaps why the  45 year-old has been handed the manager role until the end of the season.

There is still a large chunk of the season left to navigate and Suwon are now playing catch up in the race for ACL qualification. But, for the first time this season, Suwon fans saw the true capability of what is a talented playing squad. With the fight and spirit in that squad it shouldn’t take too long before Suwon are climbing the table once again. The future isn’t exactly bright, but it’s getting a little less dark.

By Scott Whitelock

Prediction

As is perhaps evident from the teams' previous meeting, it is hard for Daegu to find the net. However, currently, the morale amongst the team on account of the current form is good, certainly compared to the two previous meetings in this season. Furthermore, the latest clash was heavily affected by the controversial red card to Cesinha for what appeared to be slight contact. Therefore, it is likely that the the game will be close.

Daegu FC 1-1 Suwon Bluewings






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