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Preview: Sangju Sangmu vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

K League 1 Preview: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors v Sangju Sangmu

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors travel to Sangju this Saturday perhaps with other things on their minds. With the gigantic AFC Champions League quarter final clash on the horizon, a game against Sangju Sangmu is more of an inconvenience than anything to the league leaders. Can the military side seize upon this opportunity and cause an upset to correct their atrocious run of form?
(Image via K League)



Last Time Out

A rotated Jeonbuk side laboured somewhat to a victory over Daegu FC in Jeonju on Wednesday. While opening exchanges suggested they were both coasting and controlling, a bizarre handball from defender Choi Bo-kyung resulted in a Daegu penalty. The centre-back, incorrectly convinced that the referee had missed an offside call, raising his hand to appeal to the linesmen whilst simultaneously moving it into the ball’s trajectory. Daegu attacker Jose Zé Roberto made no mistake from the spot.

Jeonbuk did fight back in the second half though, and it was two goals within five minutes just before the hour mark from veteran Lee Dong-gook that turned the tie. Substitute Lopes first assisted the striker with a well placed cross to be converted by the head of Lee, before attacking midfielder Son Jun-ho played a low ball into the box for the experienced striker to tuck in. After that, Daegu rarely threatened to venture back into the game, with the fixture petering out to a 2-1 final score.

Highlights here.

Sangju Sangmu suffered a second half mauling at the claws of the Horangi on Wednesday evening. After fighting from a goal down to head in all square at half time, the military fell in the second half to three Ulsan counter attacks to leave the score at 4-1.

It was Sangju's Lee Gwang-seon who beautifully headed home a Yeo Reum's cross before half-time to cancel out Sergio Escudero's debut goal for Ulsan. However, the second half saw Sangju fail countless times to a motivated Ulsan side. Junior retook the lead for the home side before Escudero consolidated it with his second of the night. Ulsan then wrapped up the game with a goal from Junior, the league's third highest scorer, thanks to some lovely interplay between Lee Keun-ho and Lee Myeong-jae.

Highlights here.

Team News

Jeonbuk will be able to welcome the return of Han Kyo-won after he sat out the previous match due to suspension. However, with an AFC Champions League Quarter Final the following Wednesday, it would not be surprising if manager Choi Kang-hee used this weekend’s match as an opportunity to rest key players. Likely victims of such changes could prove to be Lopes, Kim Shin-wook and Lim Sun-young.

Despite being the player used to advertise the Jeonbuk vs Daegu match, Tiago did not even appear on the bench for the second game straight. It seems the player is rumoured to have suffered injury, although there is doubts to it’s severity considering the club’s willingness to promote him in the advertising materials. However, he is still doubtful to appear at the weekend. Kim Jin-su is the only other notable injury as he continues with his long recovery process since sustaining an injury back in March. His prolonged absence only further begs the question why he was considered for the provisional World Cup squad in the first place and encouraged to train, as he still seems far away from returning.

Sangju Sangmu come into this squad with a relatively full squad to select from. There are no suspensions to speak of, and last year’s prolific striker Joo Min-kyu is finally reappearing in squads after a while out with injury. Unfortunately, he will soon return to his parent club Seoul E-Land, but the military side will still be hoping he can prove to be of some use before he departs.

The Adversary

Sangju come into this game on a bout of horrendous form, having only won once in the ten league games played since returning from the World Cup break. That game was also the only match where they have led during this particular period.

Yoon Bit-garam stands out as the key player to watch out for from the home side. The creative midfielder is the team’s joint top scorer this season (along with Shim Dong-woon) with just four goals to his name, but also leads the club’s assists charts for the campaign with four. The former Jeju United man has been a mainstay in the starting eleven, usually playing around the centre in a five man midfield.

Prediction

While Sangju are on a terrible run of form, they may well be fortunate here due to Jeonbuk’s mind being on the more important match the following Wednesday. Whilst the league leaders’ reserve squad also boast some stellar names, Jeonbuk’s more heavily rotated outfits have often failed to deliver this season, with first team names from the bench usually being called upon, where possible, to bail them out of trouble. Whether they will be risked here though is another matter.

Predicted Score: Sangju Sangmu 1-1 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

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