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Preview: Gyeongnam FC vs Sangju Sangmu

Both Gyeongnam FC and Sangju Sangmu are at the opposite ends of the table, yet both sides are in dire form going into Saturday's clash.  Gyeongnam still in 2nd place need the win to cement themselves in the top three and the Army outfit need the points to push away from the relegation dogfight that awaits them after the split. 

Game:  Gyeongnam FC v Sangju Sangmu
Venue:  Changwon Football Center.  Changwon
Kick off:  Saturday, October 20th  14:00 (KST)

Last Time Out

Gyeongnam 0-1 Jeju United

The Reds succumbed to a last-minute sucker punch from the Islanders, going down 1-0 before the international breakThe match was a stop-start affair with neither side stamping their mark on the game.  The home side were without their top goal scorer Marcao through injury and it showed at times.  Gyeongnams' build-up play wasn't an issue throughout the ninety minutes, it was the lack of creativity and ideas in the final third that would have concerned manager Kim Jung-boo.  The away sides goalkeeper Lee Chang-geun was relatively quiet and didn't have much to do all game, whereas the Reds keeper Lee Bum-soo pulled off a couple of great saves to keep the score goalless. However, he couldn't prevent Jeju grabbing the winner as 90 minutes approached.  Substitute attacking midfielder Lee Dong-soo struck his shot from the edge of the area and arrowed a low effort past the 'keeper and into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, sparking wild celebrations amongst all the players on the field and the bench.

Sangju Sangmu 1-2 Suwon Bluewings

A second-half comeback by The Bluewings piled further misery on Sangju whose season seems to be coming apart at the seams right when it matters the most.  They were in total control in this match and took the lead rather fortuitously after 20 minutes when defender Kwon Wan-kyu reacted quickly to an error from Suwon's number one Shin Hwa-yong, who parried a cross from a corner right into Kwon's path.  Kwon only had the simple task of firing the ball over the line from six yards out.  This kicked the away side into action after the break and a double substitution proved to be the difference.  One of the subs was striker Dejan and he instantly made the difference scoring in the 54th minute.  He received a pass from the marauding left-back Hong Chul about 25 yards out and had time to turn and run at the retreating Sangju defenders.  They gave him too much time and space and on his favoured right foot, allowing him to produceda precise finish into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal to draw things level.  Things went from bad to worse for Sangju with just 11 minutes remaining when central midfielder Elvis Saric produced a wonderful winner.  Cutting in from the right wing and again uncontested by the home sides defenders he had all the time in the world to pick his spot.  He did that with aplomb and buried an unstoppable shot with his left foot low down to the keepers left.  A great goal to win any game of football.

Previous Meetings

Gyeongnam and Sangju have faced off against each other twice this season with The Reds winning both of them.  Sangju travelled south on the opening weekend of the season but returned north empty-handed after losing 3-1.  This was quite the game for Marcao as he bagged both a hattrick and a red card.  It was to be a quite remarkable start to his K League 1 season.  The Reds then played Sangju in the sweltering heat of mid-July and took home three points through a lovely strike from range from nineteen-year-old midfielder Kim Jeon-beom with fifteen minutes left.
Overall they have played each other 28 times with Gyeongnam winning 13, Sangju winning 10 and just 3 games ending in draws.  This game from these statistics seems to always have a winner in the fixture.

Team News

Kim Jung-boo, the home side's manager, is sweating on the fitness of his main striker Marcao.  He took a blow to his leg in the 2-2 draw up at Incheon United a fortnight ago and missed the home loss to Jeju United last Sunday as a result.  When questioned about Marcao's condition in a recent interview Kim said, "I want him to play in at least five of our remaining six league matches".  Make of that what you will.  If he can't make the squad then it'll be a bitter blow to the home side as without him The Reds have struggled.  Last week's game a proven point.  Central defender Park Ji-soo picked up a slight knock away on international duty which caused him to not even be on the bench in the first of South Koreas' two games midweek versus Uruguay.  He was an unused substitute against Panama on Tuesday evening though so it seems he has recovered from what ever slight injury he had.  Both teams have no suspensions going into Saturdays clash.

One To Watch


The young Japanese attacking midfielder, even during Gyeongnams' recent bad form, has still given his all in the matches he has appeared in and played well,  A box to box midfielder who is a joy to watch on this day.   If you are in the area this Saturday, I implore you to come to the Changwon Football Center to watch him.  He is worth the admission fee alone.  Playing against a some what depleted Sangju side, Kunimoto has all the tools in his armoury to really hurt the army outfit this weekend.  The ball is like a magnet to his feet when he is dribbling with his link up play with the trio of Negueba, Paulinho and Marcao being a joy to behold.


With it being the last game before the league breaks into the top six and bottom six, and with both teams having something to play for, I think it could be an exciting one.  Marcao or not, I still do expect Gyeongnam to get over the line and get the result they so badly need at home.

Predicted Score: Gyeongnam 3-2 Sangju Sangmu

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