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Preview: Jeju United vs Gangwon FC

K League 1 Preview: Jeju United vs Gangwon FC

Jeju United will square off against Gangwon FC for the third time this season on Sunday afternoon on the island coming off arguably their worst performance of the season in a 4-0 loss to Jeonbuk last weekend.  Gangwon also lost last time out against Sangju by a score of 3-2, but still have the edge for sixth on goal difference.  KLU's Branko Belan and Steve Price look ahead to the match.

Match: Jeju United vs Gangwon FC
Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Sunday September 23rd, 2018; 14:00 KST

Last Time Out

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 4-0 Jeju United

While Jeju's season is not yet completely done, last weekend's lack of a performance against league leaders Jeonbuk certainly made it seem so.  The back line looked disoriented and out of place, and the attack faltered badly as both Brazilians, who have lost their scoring touch which they had started to discover near the end of the first half of the season, were both left out of the starting lineup.

Jeonbuk completely dominated the first half.  After having a goal called back for offside early in the match, Kim Shin-wook was denied from the penalty spot by Lee Chang-keun.  It did not deter them from going into the lead on 35 minutes through Han Kyo-won, who was gifted a goal following some disastrous defending by the Jeju back four.  Kim Won-il, who has been the main culprit this season for Jeju's defensive struggles, was once again out of position as a through ball which traveled almost half the length of the pitch found Han who made no mistake one on one with Lee.  Jeonbuk went to the half with only the one goal to their credit, but it was a sign of things to come.

Jeonbuk would add three more in the second half in a spell of fifteen minutes through Jeong Hyuk, second half substitute Lee Dong-gook, who scored only four minutes after his introduction into the match, and Son Jun-ho to seal a comprehensive victory, ensuring that Jeju were completely kept off the score sheet in the regular portion of the schedule against the defending league champions this season.  Having already been beaten twice in convincing fashion by their opponents on Sunday, things do not figure to get any easier.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Gangwon have already put eight past Jeju in their two meetings this season, with league leader Uros Deric scoring four on his own.  When the two met for the first time in May, it finished 5-3 as a first half hat trick from Magno was canceled out by Ðerić, who netted a brace, including the winner.  

In July, the result was even more convincing, as Ðerić came on as a second half substitute, and again scored twice in a span of ten minutes to give Gangwon victory at home.  There is a good chance he will be adding to his total this time around as well.

Team News

The saga that is Jeju's winless streak continues.  In an attempt to shore up the back, Cho Sung-hwan went with four at the back against Jeonbuk and the end result was perhaps the islanders' worst performance of the season to date.

The constant tinkering with formations and personnel has cost Jeju dearly this season, and has  also exposed glaring weaknesses in the side since the campaign kicked off in the spring.  The team lacks depth and has done little to improve the composition of the club.  It is very apparent that even a top six finish is out of the cards at this point, with teams in the lower half starting to show good runs of form as the top tier heads toward the split, with only four matches remaining after this weekend.

There is also the constant cloud over the club with regards to Cho's status.  The results have disappeared, yet he remains with the club, and there is very little chance of seeing him go in the near future.  There has been no word from the club as of yet with regards to the possibility of a caretaker manager assuming the reigns until the end of the season, but it is something which is constantly being monitored.

In terms of suspensions, Kim Won-il picked up a yellow in the loss to Jeonbuk, so he may not be an option for the starting eleven, but, with his erratic play all season, that could be a good thing.

The Adversary

The new manager bounce turned out to be a dead cat bounce for Gangwon who have picked up just one point in their last four games.  Gangwon have only won three games since the summer break, but one of those games was against Jeju United.  But, with Suwon, Jeonbuk, Pohang and Ulsan in their final four games before the split, Gangwon will need another win against Jeju or their poor run could feasibly turn into a relegation battle.  

Gangwon are still in the top half but are only eight points clear of eleventh-placed Jeonnam.  They didn’t do themselves any favours last weekend, giving away two needless penalties.  If anyone is wondering what the K League might look like once Asan are disbanded and more players are forced to do regular military service, (watch Han Yong-soo’s mistimed lunge for the ball for Sangju’s first penalty) to end up losing 3-2 to Sangju Sangmu. 

The one bright spark was Ðerić’s goal, which came from a great run by Diego.  The two foreign players have shown that they can link up well all season, which makes it baffling that they weren’t on the pitch together when Gangwon played Seoul the week before. Gangwon’s form against Jeju this season will give them hope, as will Jeju’s poor recent form in the league, but Gangwon will have to stop making silly defensive mistakes if they want to come back from the island with any points to show for their efforts.


Jeju is arguably the worst team in Korean football at the moment, and with their poor track record, not only in the league over the past two months, but also against Gangwon this season, it seems highly unlikely that they will get a result on the weekend.

Add to this the fact that Uros Ðerić has had a field day against United this season with four goals to his name against them, while being a candidate for the golden boot.  With the slimmest lead over Marcao in the scoring race at the moment, he will surely be motivated knowing that adding to his tally will increase his chances of being the number one frontman come the end of the season.  

While Gangwon have also been struggling for form recently, they look more dangerous up front, and that could well be the difference once again as it's expected that Jeju's season will slide further into obscurity by weekend's end.

Prediction: Jeju United 0-2 Gangwon FC

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