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Preview: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Gangwon FC

K League 1 2019 Match Preview: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Gangwon FC (Round 3)

After tasting defeat for the first time under José Morais on Wednesday night, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors return to K League 1 action where they hope to swiftly return to winning ways against a Gangwon FC side yet to register a goal in their opening two fixtures.

Last Time Out

Despite winning their last league outing against Suwon Samsung Bluewings 4-0, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors came up short in the AFC Champions League midweek as they fell 1-0 to Thai Premier League champions Buriram United. It was an insipid display from the K League heavyweights as their resounding possession only mustered up one shot on target for the entire ninety minutes. Jeonbuk were unable to break down an organised Buriram side and found themselves exposed on the counter in the fiftieth minutes when Pedro Junior and Supachok Sarachart teamed up to tear through a backtracking defence to allow the latter a shot on goal and give the hosts a deserved lead. Worryingly for Jeonbuk, their substitutions only seemed to further compound matters with Kim Shin-wook, Moon Seon-min and Tiago have little to no effect whatsoever on proceedings as the North Jeolla club veered towards defeat with little resistance.

Highlights can be viewed here.

While they may have lost their opening match to Sangju Sangmu, Gangwon FC managed to pull off a credible goalless draw in the second round as they played host to potential title-challengers Ulsan Hyundai. The visitors threatened to take the lead early after winning a penalty due to Han Yong-su's handball, yet goalkeeper Kim Ho-jun would save Junior's penalty to deny the Horangi. Kim's heroics would be required again fifteen minutes later as he saved a powerful shot from Kim Bo-kyung with his face, knocking him to the ground and leaving him with significant bruising around his eye. The home side grew in confidence throughout the half, however, yet after found their shots either off target or too weak to pose a significant threat.

Goalkeeper Kim Ho-jun was removed at half-time, likely due to the facial injuries he sustained, to be replaced by Ham Seok-min. Gangwon continued to push forward and offer threats from both the wings yet their finishing continued to underwhelm. Ulsan nearly made them pay for their wastefulness in the 73rd minute when Kim In-sung was left unmarked at the far post only to see his shot hit the inside of the upright and rolled back into the 'keeper's arms. The final opportunities proved to be all from the visitors yet Gangwon managed to hold their nerve and walk away with a solid point for their efforts.

Highlights can be viewed here.

Previous Meetings

On the three occasions that these two sides met each other last season, Jeonbuk walked away each time with all three of the points. The older records are similarly favourable to the champions, with these teams meeting 18 times and Jeonbuk winning fifteen of them. You need to return to 2010 to find Gangwon's last victory in this matchup when they ran out 3-1 winners at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium.

Team News

Jeonbuk will continue to be without right-back Lee Yong for the match as he continues his recovery from a foot injury and is expected back sometime in April. There are also continued injury concerns for Adriano and Ibini.

José Morais is also likely to rotate his squad slightly for this fixture, with his side only having returned to Korea on Thursday. With Han Kyo-won, Han Seung-kyu and Choi Young-jun not taking the trip to Thailand, they will be likely to feature here.

After not being involved in the squad last week, Gangwon may look to bring their top scorer from last season Uroš Đerić back into the fold, especially given their lack of ruthlessness in front of the net.

The Adversary

It was widely predicted prior to the season that Gangwon FC were set to struggle this year and their opening day loss to Sangju perhaps reaffirmed that belief. Having fallen towards the end of last season, ending up in the bottom half despite sizable investment once more, hopes of them disrupting the upper echelons of the league this season have been met with a pinch of salt.

They do, or at least did, score goals Uroš Đerić finished the season as the division's second highest goalscorer and chose to stay in Chuncheon for this upcoming campaign. With the club also signing Bosnia and Herzegovina striker Nemanja Bilbija in the off-window, there was the thought that this attacking pairing could reap dividends for the club. With both not selected to play the last time out against Ulsan however, it seems the manager is somewhat reluctant. Perhaps they will see action on Sunday.

Prediction

Jeonbuk are likely to revert back to the 4-2-3-1 formation they deployed against Suwon Bluewings but the lineup is due to see some rotation as players look to recover from the long trip to Thailand midweek. It is likely that any new names that feature will also probably wish to seize this opportunity and prove themselves to their new manager. With Gangwon fortunate not to fall a number of times to Ulsan last weekend, there is a possibility that Jeonbuk may not prove as forgiving, especially as they attempt to reassert their dominance after the Buriram defeat.

As for Gangwon, they have used both a 4-4-2 and 4-1-2-3 formation this season, both with added emphasis on pushing forward. If they play as high of a line as Suwon did last weekend, they could very well find themselves on the end of a similar scoreline.

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