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Preview: Sangju Sangmu vs FC Seoul

Preview: Sangju Sangmu vs FC Seoul K League 1
Eighth take on ninth when FC Seoul make the long trip south to take on Sangju Sangmu on Sunday evening. Both sides are locked on 26 points and are just two wins away from the top four. Sunday's hosts, Sangju, will be determined to keep their recent rival on track after picking up four points from their last two games. FC Seoul, on the other hand, will be hoping to add to their solitary away win in 2018. A win for either team could see them move into the top half. 
(image via K League)

Overview

from Soccerway

Last Time Out

In midweek FC Seoul crashed out of the FA Cup to Jeju United at home thanks to an injury time winner from Tiago, firing into the roof of the net from just inside the box. The visitors took the lead early on, former Daejeon Citizen midfielder Lee Dongsoo nodding home at the far post, before Seoul got themselves back on level terms in the second half. Top scorer Anderson Lopes finished calmly into the bottom corner for what was his sixth in all competitions. However, with the game looking as though it was destined for extra time, Tiago fired Jeju into the quarter finals after latching on to a well-timed through ball.

Highlights: here

Sunday's hosts Sangju Sangmu picked up a valuable point at home to Suwon Bluewings. Former FC Seoul striker Dejan Damjanovic opened the scoring with an effort typical of the Montenegrin, finding the bottom corner after latching onto a loose back-pass before rounding the goalkeeper 10 minutes into the second half. Sangju fought back, however, and levelled via a Yoon Bitgaram free-kick. The former Jeju United man's curling effort found the far corner despite Bluewings goalkeeper Noh Donggeun getting a hand to it.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

In April this year the two teams played out a 0-0 draw at Sangam for what remains as the only previous meeting this term. The last time Seoul made the trip south to North Gyeongsang a Hwang Hyunsoo strike sealed a 1-0 win for the visitors. Said win was Seoul's first against Sangju since August 2016 having lost at home to the army side in June last year after two draws prior. On that summer night in 2016, goals from Dejan and Park Chuyoung on 12 and 52 minutes had Hwang Sunhong's men 2-0 up before Lee Woonghee, the centre back on loan from Seoul whilst on military service, added a consolation goal for Sangju deep into injury time.

In 38 meetings FC Seoul have won 22 times compared to Sangju's eight and eight draws. Of those 22 victories, 13 have come on the road.

Team News

Sangju Sangmu won't be without any players through suspension but FC Seoul will have to do without striker Bojan Matić after the Serbian was sent off for an adjudged elbow during the 3-0 win over Jeju United. Matić will miss the next two games, including Wednesday's third Super Match of 2018 in Suwon.

Seoul are also likely to be without defensive midfielder Hwang Kiwook, the 22 year-old has been recovering from a facial injury. Park Chuyoung's absence from the match day squad in recent weeks suggests that the former Monaco and Arsenal striker has been carrying a knock. Attacking midfielder Jung Wonjin is still awaiting his FC Seoul debut following the move from Pohang Steelers. Former captain Ha Daesung remains a major doubt.

The Adversary

Sangju Sangmu began the 2018 season somewhat sluggishly, picking up just one win from their first five outings. However, a purple patch of form throughout April and May followed, during which the army team lost just once in nine matches and picked up five wins. However, following the World Cup break Kim Taewan's men lost five league matches on the spin and suffered the embarrassment of being dumped out of the FA Cup by K3 side Yangpyeong FC. A win over Pohang Steelers and a draw at home to Suwon Bluewings has signalled signs of recovery though. Sangju have actually won more games than FC Seoul this season, seven compared to six with three at home and four on the road. In fact, Sangju are level with Gangwon with the most wins out of all the bottom seven teams.

Since the World Cup Sangju gaffer Kim Taehwan has largely stuck to his 4-5-1 formation, the home defeat to Jeonbuk aside where Cha Younghwan was added to the back line to make a back five and four in midfield.

Sangju Sangmu lineup vs Suwon Bluewings (1-1)


Who To Watch

Yoon Bitgaram

Yoon Bitgaram celebrates scoring against FC Seoul for Jeju United August 2015 (Image via K League)
Yoon Bitgaram joined Sangju Sangmu at the beginning of the season on loan from Jeju United. The Gyeongnam-born central midfielder had been over in the Chinese Super League with Yianbian Funde but returned to the K League in order to fulfil his military conscription. In the red of Sangju, Yoon has scored three times, including a sumptious free-kick at home to Suwon Bluewings last weekend. However, it's not his goal-scoring prowess that could pose FC Seoul a threat come Sunday, rather his passing. The former Seongnam man has made over 400 passes this season from 17 games, seven of which were considered key passes and 140 were sent forward with two assists. The nature of Yoon Bitgaram as a footballer is perhaps summed up in how many passes were made in Sangju attacks, 255 of the 417, as well as how many times the 28 year-old has broke into the final third (78).

Throughout his career Yoon Bitgaram has scored twice against FC Seoul, once in a 2-1 Jeju win in August 2015 and in a 3-2 defeat for Seongnam in August 2012.

Prediction

Sunday's game is an absolute must win for FC Seoul. The capital club have got themselves into a promising position following the league win over Jeju last Saturday and, given how open the race for the top four is, with just six points separating fourth from ninth, Sunday's clash with Sangju ought to be seen as an ideal opportunity to make it two wins on the spin. However, Seoul's away form this term leaves a lot to be desired having picked up just one win on their travels, the 3-0 win over Pohang last month. Sangju lost four on the bounce at home in the league but will be buoyed by the win over Pohang and the draw with third-placed Suwon Bluewings. It is likely to be a tight game but Seoul ought to be taking the points back to the capital with them.

Sangju Sangmu 1-2 FC Seoul


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