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Preview: Gwangju FC vs Daejeon Citizen

Preview: Gwangju FC vs Daejeon Citizen
Three wins in a row and eight unbeaten has given Daejeon Citizen an excellent chance of qualifying for this year's K League Promotion/Relegation Playoffs. This Sunday Daejeon take on Gwangju, a side on a run of seven games without a win and six point adrift of Citizen just outside the playoffs. A win for Ko Jongsoo's Purples could all-but end Gwangju's playoff hopes once and for all.
(image via K League)

Overview

via Soccerway

Last Time Out

Asan Mugunghwa 1-0 Gwangju FC

An away defeat to Asan Mugunghwa leaves Gwangju with it all to do if the South Jeolla side are to qualify for this season's playoffs. After five straight draws and a defeat, the 1-0 reverse at Yisunsin Stadium now means that Gwangju have not won since the end of July, a 3-1 home win over Seongnam. On Sunday, a Park Sejik strike on the hour mark sank Gwangju to their second straight defeat. The goal came on the counter-attack with Park sliding onto a Ko Muyeol ball across the edge of the six-yard box to ensure Asan drew level on points with Seongnam at the top of the table.

Highlights: here

Daejeon Citizen 1-0 Seoul E-Land

Daejeon extended their unbeaten run to eight games after a 1-0 home win over Seoul E-Land made it four wins on the spin for the Purples. Park Sooil, the K League 2 leading assist maker, sent in a fizzing cross from the left-hand side towards the penalty spot. Young midfielder Kang Yunsung rose the highest to and found the back of the net with a thumping header in the 21st minute. E-Land were without reply for the remaining 60 and so the Purples moved up to third, momentarily, with a six point cushion over fifth.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Gwangju and Daejeon have met three times already this season with each team picking up a win each before playing out a 1-1 stalemate at Purple Arena in August. The first meeting was at Guus Hiddink Stadium in Gwangju where it was the visitors, Daejeon, who picked up all three points. Shohruh Gadoev in the 61st minute proved to be enough to earn the Purples the lion's share of the spoils back in April.

However, in June, the two teams played out somewhat of a thriller in a game that had absolutely everything. Daejeon had a man sent off, saved a Gwangju penalty then went 1-0 up on 84 minutes thanks to winger Kim Seungseop. However, in the 91st minute, Lee Hando, levelled before Na Sangho found a late, late winner in the 93rd minute.

There have been 19 meetings between the two sides, Daejeon have eight wins, Gwangju six with the rest draws.

Team News

Gwangju won't have any players missing through suspension but Lim Minkyeok, Jung Youngchong, Kim Taeyoon, and Yeo Bonghoon are all just another caution away from missing Gwangju's next match.

Daejeon will have striker Park Inhyeok available again after the former Hoffenheim man served a one-match ban last time out. Shin Hakyoung, Park Sooil, Ahn Sanghyeon, and Kang Yunsung could also suffer the same fate should they pick up a booking on Saturday. Hwang Inbeom officially returned to Daejeon Citizen on Thursday and so could be involved in the trip to Gwangju.

The Adversary

Once firm playoff contenders, Gwangju FC find themselves in in fifth and six points behind Daejeon after failing win in each of their last seven outings. Five consecutive draws was followed by two straight defeats, the most recent a damaging 3-2 away reverse to Ansan Greeners. Gwangju have own the fewest amount of matches out of any one in the top half of the table with eight, the bottom two, Seoul E-Land and FC Anyang, also have eight victories to their names this term. Gwangju have proven to become the K League 2's draw specialists with 12 stalemates which makes the South Jeolla side, along with Busan IPark, the highest in the league in that respect.

Gwangju have the joint-third best defence in the division having conceded just 30 goals, only Busan (28) and Asan (22) have conceded less. Gwangju also have the joint-fourth best attack in K League 2 having scored 35 goals behind Busan (41), Seongnam (40), and Asan (39). Gwangju's issue has been the inability to turn draws into wins. Five of Gwangju's draws have been 0-0s, four have seen Gwangju surrender a lead whilst only three of the draws were when Gwangju had come from behind.

Tactically, Park Jinsub like's to set his side up in a 4-3-3 formation. Although, for Gwangju's visit to Daejeon World Cup Stadium seven matches ago, Coach Park opted for a 4-4-2 diamond with Lim Minhyeok at the peak of the diamond. Since then, Park has used the 4-3-3 for the draws with Asan, Seoul E-Land, Anyang, and Busan as well as the defeat to Ansan Greeners. Last time out, Gwangju's 1-0 defeat to Asan, Coach Park set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Who To Watch

Kang Yunsung


Whilst Romanian forward Aurelian Chitu may be taking the plaudits for his goal-scoring prowess, in the centre of the park Daejeon have somewhat of a youth movement with Kang Yunsung a central figure. Central midfielder Kang Yunsung broke into the Daejeon first team in 2016 as often playing at full back under both Choi Moonsik and Lee Youngik, predominantly to fill in for injuries to senior players in those positions. But, this season, despite being on the fringes of the first team up until around May, Kang has been a regular in the centre Ko Jongsoo's midfield.

The Busan native has shown that he has a good engine, a healthy amount of aggression and can pop up with the odd goal when needed, as was the case against Seoul E-Land last weekend. Kang's first goal of the season, and indeed his first goal as a professional footballer, came in the 3-3 draw with Busan in July. Kang doubled his goal tally last weekend, finding time and space in the box to raise above everyone else and nod home the winning goal against E-Land last Saturday  to keep Daejeon's very realistic playoff hopes well and truly alive. With the experienced Ahn Sanghyeon behind him, Kang has matured a great deal this season and is performing consistently well. With Kang Yunsung in the side, Daejeon have lost just four times this season. During Daejeon's unbeaten run Kang has an average of 75% pass completion rate.

Prediction

Gwangju have proven to be a bit of a bogey team for Daejeon and so expextations may need to be tempered somewhat. However, that said, the run of form each team is on is as different as night and day; Daejeon seven unbeaten with three straight wins, Gwangju without a win in seven and have two straight losses heading into Sunday's match. Daejeon will be confident of a win but with Lim Minheyok, Na Sangho and Duarte, Gwangju will have chances to score.

Gwangju FC 1-1 Daejeon Citizen


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