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Preview: Gyeongnam FC vs Daegu FC

K League 1 Preview: Gyeongnam FC vs Daegu FC

Following the Korean National Team's positive results, we finally return to K League action this weekend. Gyeongnam FC has claimed two AFC Champions League draws and lost their two league games after winning the opener against Seongnam FC. What they can be comforted by is that they are yet to be defeated at home. Conversely, Daegu has not been defeated in the league and has won their two ACL matches. Will Gyeongnam be able to succeed in lifting the mood in the upcoming home game against Daegu or will the visitors be able to claim victory with their fierce offensive players?

Last Time Out

Pohang Steelers 4-1 Gyeongnam FC

In the eighth minute of the game, the Gyeongnam goalkeeper, Lee Bumsoo, made a fatal mistake and Pohang easily scored an early goal. It was a very unfortunate start for Gyeongnam. With Jordon Mutch providing key passes, the away side tried to play on the counterattack but Pohang's defence proved solid.

As soon as the second half started, Kunimoto took a mid-ranged shot but missed. Pohang, on the other hand, succeeded in scoring in the 52nd minute when Kim Seungdae collected a sharp key pass from David da Silva and delivered a clean finish. In the 68th minute, David da Silva scored another goal for Pohang and then, six minutes later, it was four with Kim Jimin claiming his first of the season. Negueba finally grabbed a consolation goal in the 83rd minute but it was too difficult to overturn the scoreline. The match ended 4-1.

Pohang ultimately showed their ruthlessness while  Gyeongnam FC seemed to have some physical problems due to their continuous away matches including ACL.

Highlights

Daegu FC 1-1 Ulsan Hyundai

It was a disappointing match for Daegu, who failed to win even after overwhelming their opponents for most of the game. Daegu invited Ulsan to their new home, DGB Daegu Bank Park, and shared one point apiece. The first half traded fierce attacks against each other, and goalkeeper Jo Hyeonwoo's brilliant efforts saved the home side from crisis several times. Ulsan also blocked Cesinha's shot to end the first half 0-0.

Cesinha's feet were sharp in the second half, but the score began to take the lead on the road as Ulsan's Kim Bokyung scored his first goal of the season with a mid-range shot from outside the penalty box. Daegu continued to show aggressiveness to score goals but lacked the finishing touches. Finally, in the 79th minute, Cesinha broke through the Ulsan defense and scored the equaliser thanks to a one-two pass with Tsubasa. The two teams showed little after that however, and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

Highlights

Previous Meetings

The most recent meeting was a league game at Daegu Stadium. In that match, Gyeongnam FC came away with a 2-2 draw with Marcão's two goals and Daegu FC with goals from Edgar and Cesinha. Last season, Gyeongnam had collected one win and two draws in a total of three showdowns with Daegu.

However, the result of the recent ten matches is that Daegu has a narrow lead over Gyeongnam with four wins, three draws and three losses. What is interesting though is that Gyeongnam has won ten of its 14 matches at home between the two teams.

Team News

Since Gyeongnam had no players called up to the National Team, the squad should have rested enough. Also, players with minor injuries have returned. Kim Jongboo will reorganise the team and hope to lead the squad for the victory. However, Dutchman, Luc Castaignos, seems to need time to adjust to the league, and the former Crystal Palace man Jordan Mutch and Kunimoto seem to need to understand each other more to produce more synergy. Let's wait and see what the manager's choice will bring about against Daegu this Saturday afternoon. Perhaps the Gyeongnam’s starting XI is expected to make no major changes as the mood in Changwon needs a turnaround.

The Adversary

After the international break, Daegu FC will be looking to keep their momentum alive. Still unbeaten in 2019 with three wins and two draws in all competitions, they will face a tough test for the next month including this weekend’s Gyeongnam match away from home. For the month, they have to play eight games with midweek and weekend matches also including ACL and FA Cup. During the break, Andre’s players would have been rested well after the busy start to 2019 season. However, four players have been away to represent the nation; Jo Hyeonwoo for Korea Senior National Team, Kim Daewon for Korea U22 Team, and Go Jaehyun and Lim Jaehyuk for Korea U20 Team.

Korea International Goalkeeper Jo Hyeonwoo shone brightly once again in Korea’s 2-1 win over Colombia at Seoul World Cup Stadium on this Tuesday night by preserving the lead with a couple of incredible saves. He is generally considered the second choice under Bento’s regime following Kim Seungkyu who was sidelined with food poisoning, but the 27 year-old has proved his ability in front of a sellout crowd on that night. On this weekend, he is likely to start as usual. Meanwhile, one of the key players for the Sky Blues, Kim Daewon completed two full matches of Korea’s three group stage games in Cambodia to help the team advance to AFC U23 Championship final which will be held in 2020. He did not find the net for the nation, unfortunately, but he showed high work rate on flank. He came back to Korea with the team on this Wednesday morning after an almost six hours flight, but he is likely to make squad in spite of fatigue.

Daegu’s youngsters Go Jaehyun and Lim Jaehyuk returned to Korea after Korea’s U20 Team Training session in Spain with two friendlies against counterpart Ukraine and France, even though they are unlikely to play in the first team yet. Coming into the game, reportedly, there is no injury or suspension among the squad. Brazilian centre forward Edgar, who missed out the most recent game due to minor knock on his calf muscle, is likely to return to the team as he was expected to be out for a week, according to Daegu Manager Andre. Having him back to starting XI will certainly be a big boost for the visitors.

- Muyeol Jung

Who To Watch


Kunimoto 

Former U20 Japan National Team midfielder, Takahiro Kunimoto, is a player who offers various options and vitality in attack for Gyeongnam. He was injured in the league match against Incheon but returned for the  game against Pohang. The presence of Kunimoto in the midfield is very important to Gyeongnam. Kunimoto can cross the ball into the box from the side by building up with Jordan Mutch and can provide key passes to the forward strikers. With his excellent dribbling skills, he is able to create opportunities with his individual ability. The match against the Johor Darul Ta'zim FC in the second round of the ACL was a match where his absence could be felt.

Prediction

Both teams will probably have no physical problems at all after taking enough rest during the Korean national team's matches. Gyeongnam may be desperately wanting to win the league in order to push themselves up to the league table, yet Marcão's vacant position seems to have remained. Gyeongnam, however, have shown good performances against Daegu at home, so it is expected they'll to do their best to keep the record.

Daegu is proceeding smoothly in the league and the ACL. Edgar and Cesinha are also expected to play a strong attacking role in this match. Although Daegu has not won many games in Changwon, it is expected that Jo Hyeonwoo should block Gyeongnam's attack with a clean sheet. Surely, both teams want to gain three points, but it seems unlikely Gyeongnam will hold off Daegu's offensive line.

Predicted Score: Gyeongnam FC 1-2 Daegu FC

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