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Preview: FC Seoul Vs Jeju United

Preview: FC Seoul Vs Jeju United K League 1
After getting themselves on the break of the top six, FC Seoul suffered two defeats on the spin to drop to ninth and are now four points adrift of the top half. Up next for Lee Eulyong's men is the visit of Jeju United, another side with ACL aspirations for next season. Jeju are on a run of  five games without a win in the league, however, and are in danger of dropping out of the top four. 
(image via K League)

Overview

via Soccerway

Last Time Out

FC Seoul 2-3 Gyeongnam FC

Despite coming from a goal down and taking the lead FC Seoul became the latest team to fall to Gyeongnam this season, losing 3-2 at Seoul World Cup Stadium. Marcão put the visitors in front inside 10 minutes with a sumptuous overhead kick. Anderson Lopes and Go Yohan turned the game upside down with strikes on 17 and 47 minutes respectively, finding the back of the net either side of the interval. However, just seven minutes after Seoul had taken the lead, the Reds pegged them back through Choi Youngjun, the midfielder atoning for his missed penalty in the FA Cup shootout just four days prior. Brazilian ace Marcão bagged his second and what proved to be the winner with just four minutes left with a powerful header into the far corner.

Highlights: here

Jeju United 1-1 Ulsan Hyundai

Jeju United are now on a run of five league games without a win thanks to a 1-1 stalemate at home to fellow ACL chasers Ulsan Hyundai. United took the lead thanks to a beautifully-struck free kick from all of 35 yards out. Ulsan's Austrian defender Richard Windbichler brought down Kim Hyeonwook as the attacking midfielder looked to advance towards goal. The 23-year-old stood over the ball along with Kwon Sunhyeong but it was the latter who rolled the ball short to tee-up Lee Changmin. The Korean international struck the ball sweetly to fire into the bottom left-hand corner on the stroke of half time. But, just four minutes after the restart, the Horangi were back on level terms via Junior. The former Daegu striker pounced on a loose ball in the Jeju penalty area before prodding it into the back of the net.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

These two sides last met on the opening day of the season when then-Hwang Sunhong's side made the one-hour flight from the capital to Seogwipo. Despite both teams having more than 10 attempts on goal each, Jeju with 12 and Seoul with 11, only six in total were on target. Neitherside were able to break the deadlock and so the spoils were shared following a 0-0 stalemate.

On the final day of the 2017 season Jeju made their most recent trip to Sangam and were on the losing end of a five-goal thriller. Lee Myeongju put Seoul ahead after 21 minutes, Dejan with the assist before Magno Cruz levelled just 13 minutes later. Go Yohan restored Seoul's lead with Dejan on hand to provide a second assist only for Lee Changmin to peg the hosts back three minutes later. Dejan capped off a fine performance in what proved to be his final appearance for the club with the winning goal on 67 minutes, Lee Kyulo with the assist.

Remarkably, from the 41 meetings, Jeju have only beaten Seoul on four occasions and only two of those have come at Sangam, the most recent being a 4-3 win during FC Seoul's title-winning season two years ago. The game proved to be quite the spectacle with Jeju taking the lead through Jung Youngcheong on 41 minutes before a Go Yohan brace and a strike from Yun Jutae gave Seoul a 3-1 lead heading into the last 30 minutes. However, Marcelo Tuscano pulled one back on 67 then Kim Honam had the match level 10 minutes later. Kwon Sunhyeong fired in a winner on 79 minutes.

FC Seoul can boast of 23 wins over Jeju's four, with the remaining 14 games ending as draws.

Team News

FC Seoul will be without centre back Hwang Hyunsoo, the 23 year-old has been called up to the Korean National Team squad for the upcoming Asian Games in Jakarta and Palmebang in Indonesia. Defensive midfielder Hwang Kiwook is a doubt having recently received treatment on a facial injury, whilst fellow central midfielder Jung Hyeoncheol will be available again having served a one-match ban. Full back Park Dongjin, centre back Kim Wonkyun, captain Go Yohan, as well as winger Lee Sangho are all one caution away from suffering the same fate. 

Former skipper Ha Daesung remains as FC Seoul's only long term absentee, the 33 year-old hasn't featured since last September as the result of a calf problem. Meanwhile, midfielder Jung Wonjin could make his debut having joined from Pohang Steelers last week.

For the visitors, with the Asian Games coming up, Jeong Tae-wook will be on international duty, and will therefore not be available for selection for the club until most likely September at the earliest.  He has not featured very much for Jeju this season, and the hope is that he will be able to perform well for his country, providing he gets minutes on the pitch. It would be a plus if he can make a strong contribution at the upcoming tournament, so that when he returns to club level, he can put a few more matches under his belt in the league as well.

In other news, Jeju finally did something of note in the transfer window, completing a swap deal with Ulsan Hyundai, which will see Kim Sung-ju join United, while Bae Jae-woo will head the other way.  Kim is known as a versatile player who is capable of playing in several different positions on the pitch, and he could prove to be a valuable addition to Jeju's run for a third consecutive berth in the Champions League next season.
by Branko Belan 

The Adversary

Jeju head into the weekend clash against Seoul winless in five matches in the league following a 1-1 draw against Ulsan Hyundai at home last weekend. After briefly climbing to second in the table a few weeks back, things have been in a tailspin since. During their current slide, the islanders have managed to find the back of the net only three times, and they are quickly starting to lose sight of the teams ahead of them. Having only two of fourteen shots on goal in the match is an indicator of how much the Jeju attack has been struggling recently.

Jeju United
Jeju have won six games on the road this season (Image via K League)

The Ulsan match was a good opportunity to turn things around, and they were in front by a goal at the half, but Ulsan came to life in the second half and found an equaliser only four minutes after the restart, and would have gone on to win the match had it not been for the heroics of Lee Chang-keun, who has been one of the club's most consistent players this season.

Things are not likely to get any easier when they travel to the nation's capital, as Jeju have had difficulty solving Seoul over the past several seasons. One bit of good news is that Jeju did not pick up any cards in their last match, so Cho Sung-hwan should be able to field his strongest lineup, and it would be in his best interest to do so.
by Branko Belan 

Who To Watch

Kwon Sunhyeong


Jeju United captain Kwon Sunhyeong has made 264 passes thus far in 2018, 177 where passes whilst on the offence and 111 of which were forward passes, resulting in nine key passes and four assists. Kwon also has three goals to his name this term.

Of those 264 passes 87 were made away from home, 44 were forward passes, 49 were whilst attacking. Three of Kwon's four assists have come away from home, namely against Gangwon FC, Suwon Bluewings and Pohang Steelers. The last time Jeju United beat Seoul at Sangam, Kwon scored the winning goal the aforementioned 4-3 win in 2016.

Prediction

Seoul's defeat to Gyeongnam last time out has hindered their quest for ACL football a touch but a win against Jeju United could open the race for continental football right up. As it stands, only six points separate the two sides  with Jeju currently sitting in fourth and Seoul in ninth. A win for Seoul would then slash that in half and give Lee Eulyong's men a much-needed boost.

In the first half of the campaign, Seoul had defended resolutely enough, keeping five cleansheets and  on average, conceded 1.07 goals per game. However, since the World Cup break, in six outings, Seoul have shipped nine goals - an average of 1.5 per game. An unsettled back four can't have helped, nor will have the shift from a back four to a back three with wingbacks. With Jeju currently on a less-than satisfying run of form, neither side will exactly be brimming with confidence come Saturday and so a draw might seem like the most likely outcome on paper, especially since that these two sides have 13 draws between them for the season.

FC Seoul 1-1 Jeju United.



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