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Preview: Gangwon FC vs Seongnam FC

After a rough start Seongnam FC hope their last match will be a momentum shifter after the Magpies pulled off an impressive last minute victory. Standing in their way is Gangwon FC who are also riding a bit of momentum themselves after taking down juggernaut Jeonbuk FC.

Last Time Out

Seongnam entered the international break in good spirits after a last minute match winning goal gave them a 2-1 victory over Suwon Bluewings. Though the score was 1-1 at the half, with both teams scoring penalties, that doesn't tell the full story as Seongnam was on the defensive from the outset, conceding possession to Suwon and relying on the counterattack.

Still though, even with limited possession the Magpies were able to create some well designed chances that led to a few shots on target. This continued on into the second half as Seongnam began to take more control of possession. That aggressiveness eventually led to a beautiful late goal that would be the match winner. It was a sight for sore eyes as Cho Seong-joon sent a one-touch bullet into the net from beyond the 18 yard box.

Highlights can be found here.

Gangwon also entered the break on a high note pulling off a 1-0 victory over reigning champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. Throughout the match Gangwon showed flashes of brilliance, breaking through Jeonbuk's defense and creating well designed chances. However, it was eventually a Jeonbuk defensive miscue that allowed Gangwon to score. That goal provided Gangwon with their first victory of the season.

Highlights can be found here.

Previous Meetings

Seongnam fans won't soon forget that it was Gangwon FC who knocked Seongnam out of the K League 1 in 2016. Having placed 2nd last in in the bottom of the K League 1 that season the Magpies were up for relegation and needed to stave off K League two playoff winners. The aggregate score was 1-1 but Gangwon claimed the victory on away goals.

Team News

In the week leading up to their previous match Seongnam made a big splash by singing Jajá of Brazil. It is expected that the new striker, who dons the 50 on the back of his kit, will be with the team this week and it is possible he may get some time off the bench.

Two of Seongnam strikers, Kong Min-hyeon and Park Gwan-woo, earned yellow cards last week against Gangwon so its possible manager Nam Ki-il will be cautious with them this week.

In off the field news, Seongnam has announced the groundbreaking for their new training facility with construction to begin next month. Its slated to be completed in September of 2020 and will contain state-of-the-art facilities for athletes as well as two full natural grass pitches. Team owner Eun Su-mi hopes the facility will help make Seongnam a world class club.

The Adversary

Gangwon FC began the season with a tough 2-0 loss against Sangju Sangmu but began to turn things around with a 0-0 draw against Ulsan. They then defied expectations and pulled off a 1-0 victory against defending champions Jeonbuk. Though their defense struggled against Sangju (who, it should be noted, are now 3-0) their subsequent performances showed they recovered well. It will be interesting to see if Seongnam's newfound offensive chemistry will be able to break down Gangwon's defense.

Offensively there hasn't been much production from them with the team averaging just over 11 shots and 4 shots on goal per game. The team has one goal in 3 matches and it should be noted that that 1 goal came off a blunder by the Jeonbuk defense. With all this said, this offense should not be underestimated as they are able to create chances and showed a lot more coordination in their last match against a tough Jeonbuk team.

Additonally, Seongnam would be wise to watch out for striker Bilbija, who is still looking to net his first K-League goal.

Prediction

Both teams are returning from the break with a renewed focus, after taking 3 points in their last matches. Both teams excelled defensively, especially Gangwon with their shutdown of powerhouse club Jeonbuk. Expect both teams to play defensively, at least initially, and try to work off the counter. In the end the with the Magpies offense finally clicking I see them walking away with 3 points.

Seongnam FC 1-0 Gangwon FC




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