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Preview: Jeju United vs Suwon Bluewings

K League 1 Preview: Jeju United vs Suwon Bluewings

Jeju United play Suwon Bluewings at home on Wednesday night, mired in a slump which has seen their winless string run to nine games following a 1-1 draw against Sangju Sangmu on the weekend.  Suwon, meanwhile, lost a ten goal thriller to Jeonnam Dragons despite a strong performance from Dejan, who scored twice and added an assist in the loss.  The last time these two sides met, it was also a high scoring affair.  KLU's Branko Belan and Scott Whitelock share their thoughts on the upcoming match.

Match: Jeju United vs Suwon Bluewings
Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Wednesday August 22nd, 2018; 19:30 KST

Last Time Out

Sangju Sangmu 1-1 Jeju United

The first two matches between the two teams this season produced no goals, and the first half on Saturday night mirrored both contests in many ways.  Neither team was able to create much in front of the net in the first forty-five minutes, as the front men failed to get on target, leaving both goalkeepers with very little to do.  Jeju did manage to break the deadlock inside the final five minutes when Park Jin-po's long throw into the box fell to Jin Seong-wook, who shot straight at Yoon Bo-sang, but Magno was there to pounce on the rebound and slot it into the back of the net to give the visitors the lead going to the break.

The second half did not start favorably for the military side, as Lee Kwang-seon went into the book early on for an elbow to the side of the face of Kim Won-il.  He was substituted only minutes later.  Sangju's equalizer just before the hour mark came as a result of one of the most unlikely scenarios, when Kim Kyung-min, getting the start in place of regular number one Lee Chang-keun, mishandled a routine throw back into play, giving Sangju an indirect free kick, which Yoon Bit-garam stepped up to convert.

There was some sloppy defending from both teams the rest of the way, but with both sides' strikers out of form, there was no change in the scoreline, although Kim did have to make a pair of key saves to deny Kim Young-bin and Kim Min-woo in the last fifteen minutes.  The teams now sit in the bottom half of the table, with Jeju eighth and Sangju ninth following the result.

Highlights: here

Jeonnam Dragons 6-4 Suwon Bluewings

No one would have expected the sort of match that transpired when Suwon went on the road to face Jeonnam over the weekend.  Suwon have been one of the stronger sides away from home in recent years, so the result in the end certainly came as a major shock.  Suwon got proceedings started early with a goal already in the fifth minute from a corner.  The ball made its way through a crowd of players in front of goal and found its way onto the foot of You Ju-an, who converted from close range.

Jeonnam would draw level only two minutes later, as Choi Jae-hyun volleyed home from a corner.  They would then go into the lead on twenty minutes through Wanderson, who took a pass from Choi Jae-hyun, his low shot deflecting off the leg of Suwon 'keeper No Dong-geon on its way into the net.  Suwon were not to be outdone, however, and goals from Lee Jong-sung and Dejan three minutes apart before the end of the half had the Bluewings up 3-2 at the half.

Jeonnam would kick things into another gear in the second half, as Heo Yong-joon headed home on 62 minutes to draw the Dragons level, and then Wanderson completed his brace two minutes later with a low shot to the right of No to put the hosts into the lead.  Heo would himself score a second goal with a quarter of an hour to go, making it 5-3.  Dejan would become the third player in the match to score a second goal, pulling it back to 5-4 in the 84th minute, when he turned Park Gi-dong's headed pass into the net.  Suwon could have drawn level just before the end of regular time, but Park was denied by Lee Ho-seung.  Lee Sang-heon would add a sixth for Jeonnam in the third minute of injury time to round out the scoring.  Despite the loss, Suwon remain fourth in the table, while Jeonnam are now off the bottom of the league, two points ahead of Incheon, who were crushed by Gangwon.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

The sides have met twice this season, the last time being when the league resumed play in early July, which ended a 3-2 win for Jeju, while Dejan was the lone goal scorer in their first meeting at the end of March.

Coming into the match, Suwon have an edge in the head-to-head, having won sixteen times to Jeju's eleven, with four matches having ended in a draw.  Suwon have also won five of the last seven against the islanders, and could be primed for another win, as they try to erase the sour taste of losing at the weekend.

Team News

What a difference a year makes.  At this time last season, Jeju was in the midst of a twelve match unbeaten run which saw them eventually climb up to second in the table, but things could not be more different this time around.  With no victories to speak of since they defeated Suwon, minus wins in the FA Cup over Korea University and FC Seoul, and with the team languishing in eighth position, there is little hope now that the season will be able to be salvaged, with less than ten matches left before the split in October.

Questionable lineup decisions have contributed greatly to the run of poor results, but a lack of execution has also badly hurt the squad as well.  Jeju is lacking in confidence, both on the pitch and on the sideline, and it seems it will only be a matter of time before the script is flipped and United turn over a new page.

For Suwon, according to our site's own Scott Whitelock,  new signing, Park Jong-woo, limped out of the Jeonnam game with a nasty looking calf injury and he now joins Waguininho, Kim Eun-seon, Shin Hwa-yong and Kwak Kwang-seon on the sidelines.  Yeom Ki-hun also limped off with a rib injury in the game but is expected to be fully fit for the journey to Jeju.

After scoring his second goal of the season against Jeonnam, forward, Yoo Ju-an should retain his place on the left side of attack. Dejan, who is in superb form, should also be ready to lead the line and will look to repeat his goal scoring heroics from when Suwon were victorious in Jeju earlier in the season.

The Adversary

Suwon’s recent poor form hit a new low on Sunday night with that humiliating defeat to rock-bottom Jeonnam Dragons.  They were thoroughly outplayed throughout the second half and Jeonnam poked holes in the defence at will.  In truth, the backline has struggled as of late and their inability to cope with any type of pace was also on show in their Super Match defeat last week.  Despite making two personnel changes to the centre back positions, in the Jeonnam game, Suwon again looked like a team who had forgotten how to defend, failing to both put any type of pressure on the ball carrier or pick up runners.  The Suwon backline were virtual bystanders for much of the game.

The performance during that dismal result must spell the end to Seo Jung-won’s obsession with the 3-4-3 formation.  The manager has continued to persist with his failed experiment for far too long and the demolition in Gwangyang must finally end any debate surrounding the formation.  The formation, intended to give Suwon defensive cover, isn’t improving Suwon’s ability to defend and it clearly limits the team going forward and isolates Dejan, who is Suwon’s only source of goals.  Now is the time for Seo to stand up and show that he is more than just a man manager.  If he can’t then his reign as Suwon manager may just be coming to an end.

(by: Scott Whitelock)

Who to Watch

Tiago has been one of Jeju's better players of late, so it is really a wonder as to why he has not been starting matches instead of coming on as a second half substitute.  He did not start once again against Sangju, one of the things highlighting Cho Sung-hwan's poor decision making of late.

When paired up front with Magno, the two Brazilians have shown that they can play well together.  After an extremely slow start to the campaign, it seems that Tiago has finally settled some and has started to contribute more in attack.  Goals have been almost non-existent for the once powerful juggernaut known as the Jeju attack, so pairing the two countrymen up top would be the best option to reverse the dry spell, and hopefully secure some results to at least end the season on a positive note in what has been a disaster year when compared to the islanders success in recent years.

For the Bluewings, it's all about Dejan at the moment.  It took him a while to get into his stride in a blue shirt says Whitelock, but K League legend, Dejan Damjanovic, is certainly proving his worth to Suwon these days. 10 goals in his last eight games has seen him rapidly rise to become the highest goalscorer at the club. His two goals and an assist, against Jeonnam, highlight just how important he is to Suwon. He is currently the sole goal threat in blue and if Jeju can keep him quiet then Suwon will find it very difficult to take anything away from this game.


Both teams are sliding at the moment, with the Bluewings coming in winless in their last four, while Jeju's troubles have been well documented in recent times.  Jeju have looked shaky at the back at times during their skid, and Suwon is the kind of team that can certainly do them damage if they do not take care of their defensive responsibilities.

Suwon has the advantage of being able to score at will when they are in the mood, while it is hard to predict from whom the next Jeju goal will come from.  Suwon have the edge overall, and have fared well between the two recently, dating back to 2016, so all indications are pointing to Jeju's collapse continuing.  Suwon should be able to come away with three points.

Prediction: Jeju United 0-2 Suwon Bluewings

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