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Preview: FC Seoul vs Jeonnam Dragons

Preview: FC Seoul vs Jeonnam Dragons K League 1 Go Yo-han
There are a mere three games remaining of the 2018 K League 1 season and just 270 minutes of football to save the seasons of both FC Seoul in ninth who host Jeonnam Dragons in twelfth this Sunday. For what will be seen as a must-win game, certainly for the Dragons who prop up the table and are four points from safety, anything less then a win could condemn Kim Inwan's team to a relegation playoff spot at the very least. Seoul are still without a victory since August, however, but a win against the Dragons will be seen as a must following Incheon's win over Gangwon.

Overview

via Soccerway


Last Time Out

Daegu FC 1-1 FC Seoul

For the second week in succession, FC Seoul threw away a precious lead to see the spoils shared - this time to in-form Daegu FC. Go Yohan, who made his return from suspension to slot into central midfield alongside Shin Jinho, gave Seoul the lead on the hour mark. After some quick passing in and around Daegu's penalty area, Yun Sukyoung played in Go Yohan who took a touch before steadying himself to let loose and find the top right-hand corner with a beautifully struck left-footed effort.

However, as was the case against Gangwon in the previous round, FC Seoul let their lead slip and spurn a glorious chance to gain a valuable three points. The brilliant Cesinha glided past Go Yohan, Kim Dongwoo on his way towards the edge of the penalty area but was then impeded by defensive midfielder Hwang Kiwook. With the Brazilian never one to shy away from an opportunity to find the net from a free kick, Cesinha stepped up to take. The free-kick dipped over a six-man wall, clipped the underside of the crossbar and bounced over the line, much to the delight of the fans behind the goal and relief of manager Andre Gaspar. His opposite number, Choi Yongsoo, looked on in despair.

Gangwon FC 1-0 Jeonnam Dragons

A potentially irreversibly damaging defeat for the Dragons saw Kim Inwan's men go down to a 1-0 defeat away to Gangwon FC. The only goal of the game came in the 17th minute via Kim Jihyun. Gangwon won themselves a corner after Ga Solyun intercepted a cross in towards dangerman Uroš Đerić. The resulting corner, taken by Jung Seokhwa made its way to the far post where Kim Kihyun was waiting to nod home, guiding the ball through a crowd of bodies and into the near post of Dragons custodian Lee Hoseung's near post. The result leaves Jeonnam one point behind Incheon in 11th but four points adrift of absolute safety.

Previous Meetings

Sunday's encounter at Sangam will be the fourth time FC Seoul and Jeonnam Dragons have met this season. The most recent meeting was down in Gwangyang for a 1-0 Dragons win that condemn FC Seoul to a guaranteed bottom half finish. Heo Yongjoon bagged the only goal of the game on 74 minutes to seal the points for Kim Inwan's. However, Heo then went from the elation of scoring an important goal for his team to then being given his marching orders after being dismissed along with Seoul's Go Yohan following somewhat of a fracas between the two.

Go Yohan (C) was shown a straight red the last time Seoul faced Jeonnam
The last meeting at Seoul World Cup Stadium resulted in a 2-1 win for FC Seoul with Cho Youngwook and Anderson Lopes on target in the second half after Heo Yongjoon had given the visitors the lead just shy of the hour mark.

Jeonnam have two wins over Seoul this season having also emerged as the victors during the April clash in Gwangyang, coming back from behind to seal a 2-1 win. Cho Youngwook's seventh minute effort was cancelled out by Lee Jinam seven minutes after the restart before Vedran Jugović's goal turned the game on its head on 60 minutes.

These two sides have met on 40 occasions, Seoul have 22 wins, Jeonnam 8 and 10 draws. At Seoul World Cup Stadium, Seoul have lost to Jeonnam on four occasions but only three times in the league. The most recent of which was four years ago in March 2014 when a Lee Hyunseung penalty on the hour mark was enough for the team from South Jeolla Province to come away with all three points.

Team News

Anderson Lopes' time at FC Seoul is seemingly come to an unceremonious end. The Brazilian forward posted a picture on his Instagram story of suitcases packed with a caption alluding to a possible departure in the not-so-distant future.  Anderson has not been in Choi Yongsoo's matchday squads for the last two outings and is seemingly surplus to requirements. Fellow forward Bojan Matic has also been conspicuous by his absence and was last seen during the 2-2 draw with Sangju five games, coming off the bench in the second half.

With Anderson and Matic seemingly un-favoured by Choi, and with a distinct lack of goals in this FC Seoul side, Choi may consider bringing Park Chuyoung in to start in replace of either Yun Jutae or Park Heeseong. In midfield, Hwang Kiwook was at fault for the Daegu equaliser last week, conceding a foul on the edge of the penalty box that lead to Cesinha's beautifully struck freekick. Kim Wonsik or Ha Daesung could be recalled to the starting lineup in Hwang's place.

Jeonnam will be without central midfielder Vedran Jugović through suspension after the 29 year-old picked up a third caution for the campaign during the 1-0 away defeat to Gangwon and there are also questions marks over the fitness of both Heo Yongjoon and Kim Youngwook.


FC Seoul starting lineup vs Daegu R35

The Adversary

Winless in their last four games, bottom-of-the-table Jeonnam Dragons now only have three games left to save their season and preserve their proud record of never being relegated from South Korea’s top-flight. But, considering their opponents’ K League 1 status is still not mathematically guaranteed, it’s safe to say this could be a real struggle. Jeonnam’s position’s a lot more precarious than FC Seoul’s, however, and if results don’t go their way on Sunday, the escape door from the relegation zone could be slammed shut.

Regardless of other results this weekend, at this stage, perhaps the best the Dragons can hope for is to finish second bottom and earn a two-legged playoff match against K League 2 runner’s-up, Seongnam FC or Busan IPark depending on what will become of K2 Champions Asan Mugunghwa.

And to make matters worse, Jeonnam have fresh injury worries. Club captain Kim Young-wook was substituted in the 34th minute of last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Gangwon FC after appearing to injure his right hamstring and thus is a major doubt this weekend. Kim’s replacement last Sunday, Heo Yong-joon, only saw 20 minutes of action after injuring his left calf muscle so there’s a very good chance Jeonnam will have to do without two of their most influential players.

Another attacker, Ha Tae-goon, who hasn’t featured since the 1-1 draw with Daegu FC on May 19th, is also expected to miss out so Jeonnam will be deprived of all their target men.  Therefore, head coach Kim In-wan will surely have to pack his attack with pace and Kim Kyung-min and Ulsan loanee Lee Sang-hyeon should have big parts to play.

It’s do or die for the Dragons for the foreseeable future and while avoiding defeat has arguably been their objective for most games on the road over the past two seasons, if Incheon claim any points in Gangwon on Saturday, surely nothing but a win will suffice here.

Jeonnam starting lineup vs Gangwon R35

by Aodan Halligan

Who To Watch

Han Chanhee


Jeonnam could be without the services of a couple of key players, notably Heo Yongjoon as well as Club captain Kim Youngwook, but a consistent performer for the Dragons this term is midfielder Han Chanhee. The 21 year-old is the Dragons' leading assist maker with five, has the most key passes out of any of his teammates with 50, and has 31 interceptions to his name also - the third highest at the club.

As a third-year professional, Han has already racked up over 80 appearances since making his debut in 2016.  Another player to keep an eye on his recent Korean National Team call-up, defender Lee Youhyeon. The who will be part of the Korea Republic squad to face Australia and Uzbekistan in Brisbane later this month.

Prediction

Whilst Seoul are still looking for their first win since August the 15th, looking at the glass half full, Choi Yongsoo's side have at least remained unbeaten in their last three. Concentration has been an issue and so those clad in black and red can cut out these costly mistakes, they should have enough to get a narrow win over Jeonnam. The Dragons, of course, are fighting for their lives but are missing several key players.

FC Seoul 1-0 Jeonnam Dragons

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