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Preview: Jeonnam Dragons vs Daejeon Citizen

Preview: Jeonnam Dragons vs Daejeon Citizen K League 2 Round 2
Jeonnam Dragons welcome Daejeon Citizen to Gwangyang in round two of K League 2 this Sunday afternoon. Can the home side put their miserable opening day defeat behind them and get some points on the board, or will the visitors win on the road for the second successive Sunday? Aodan Halligan and Paul Neat preview this weekend's game.
Game: Jeonnam Dragons v Daejeon Citizen
Venue: Gwangyang Football Stadium
Kickoff: Sunday 3 pm

Last Time Out

Jeonnam Dragons' first ever season in K League 2, and their first competitive match under Brazilian head coach Fabiano Soares, began in the worst possible fashion in Gwangyang last Sunday as they slumped to a 3-0 defeat to Asan Mugungwha. Ko Mu-yeol glanced the visitors in front in the 17th minute when Ju Se-jong's in-swinging left-wing corner found him unmarked at the near post. And things got worse for the hosts just four minutes later as debutant defender Kwak Kwang-seon was stretchered off with a nasty looking head injury after tangling with Asan striker Oh Se-hun, forcing Fabiano Soares into making an early change at the back.

But Jeonnam then went on the front foot and new Brazilian number nine Bruno Nunes looked certain to score in the 27th minute after Shin Jin-ha's low right-wing cross reached him on the edge of the six-yard box. However, Asan defender Lee Han-saem stuck out his right leg in the nick of time and the ball went out for a corner. In the 45th minute, there was a bit of pinball in the Asan penalty box, yet the visitors managed to clear their lines once again and went in at half time a goal to the good.

Despite being under the cosh since their goal, Asan would extend their lead after a quick counter attack midway through the second half. Oh Se-hun sprinted down the left wing before sliding the ball through toward the centre of the penalty box. Asan substitute Park Min-seo beat Dragons defender Kim Min-jun to the ball and then flicked an effort with the outside of his right boot under keeper Lee Ho-seung to put the visitors in complete control. Asan attacker Oh Se-hun then got the goal his performance richly deserved in the 82nd minute when his left-foot strike from the edge of the penalty box curled into the bottom right corner of Lee Ho-seung's net to complete the scoring and ensure Fabiano Soares's reign started in defeat.

Full Time: Jeonnam Dragons 0 Asan Mugungwha 3

Highlights: here

Daejeon Citizen emerged from Ansan Wa Stadium with all three points after defeating Ansan Greeners 2-1 in their hugely controversial opening fixture last Sunday. The visitors broke the deadlock as early as the fifth minute when Park Soo-il's left-wing cross fell to Aurelian Chițu around eight yards out - the tall Romanian striker sending a looping header into the net via the right-hand post. But, the home side equalised from a corner kick just nine minutes later as Daejeon keeper Park Ju-won couldn't hold on to Kim Yeon-soo's header leaving Brazilian striker Gustavo Vintecinco with the easiest of tap-ins a yard out from goal.

Daejeon then upped the ante once more and Shin Hak-yeong's right-footed strike from around 25 yards out struck the left-hand post before bouncing away to safety. However, the visitors wouldn't be denied for long and just a few minutes later their number 10, Yoon Yong-ho, smashed a left-footed shot from the left-hand side of the penalty box into the net via the post and crossbar. The visitors could have gone further in front on the stroke of half time after they were awarded a penalty following an awkward tackle from Ansan defender Kim Dae-yeol on Shin Hak-yeong, but Ansan keeper Lee Hee-seong dived low to his right and easily saved Chițu's tame effort.

The drama wasn't finished yet, though, and the home side appeared to have drawn level in the 78th minute through Park Jin-seop's header from the edge of the six-yard box. But the referee ruled the goal out after consulting VAR, even though the Ansan substitute looked to have won the ball fairly. Amazingly, Park Jin-seop had what seemed like another perfectly good headed goal disallowed a few minutes later by VAR once again, and the home supporters were cursing the officials after Gustavo Vintecinco  saw red in the 78th minute for a pretty innocuous tackle. Daejeon probably couldn't believe their luck and held on to claim all three points around 15 minutes later in one of the strangest games you are ever likely to see.

Full Time: Ansan Greeners 1 Daejeon Citizen 2

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Jeonnam Dragons and Daejon Citizen last met in the FA cup at Boeun Stadium in May 2017. Hungarian striker Róbert Feczesin gave the Dragons a 27th minute lead that day, but Jang Joon-young tied things up for the hosts after 58 minutes. However, Jeonnam's Croatian midfielder Vedran Jugović  got the winner 14 minutes later and the visitors advanced to the next round of the cup.

Jeonnam boast the better ahead-to-head record having won 16 of the 36 matches between the sides. Daejeon won 11 of those games and the other nine ended in draws.

Preview: Jeonnam Dragons vs Daejeon Citizen K League 2 Round 2 Fabiano Soares


Team News

The Dragons released a statement during the week confirming that Kwak Kwang-seon had injured his neck and would have to wear a neck brace for a couple of weeks. Thus, Dragons' boss Fabiano Soares will have to use a different back four this week and the Brazilian certainly has a lot to think about in other positions, too, following last weekend's poor performance.

Despite boasting clean bills of health, both Han Chan-hee and Lee Seul-chan didn't make the squad last Sunday. Of course, Han missed preseason training in Portugal due to his involvement with the national team, but his creativity was badly missed in midfield and surely he's in line for a recall this time out. Brazilian striker Macedo didn't travel to Portugal either and is still absent from training due to injury so he's expected to be out for another few weeks. New Australian centre back Nick Ansell was nursing a hamstring injury last weekend but is fully recovered now so he could be in line for his debut on Sunday.

The Adversary

Preview: Jeonnam Dragons vs Daejeon Citizen K League 2 Round 2 Aurelian Chitu

Daejeon Citizen make the long trip south to Gywangyang having got off to a winning start to the campaign after picking up their first opening day win since 2011. Although the game was surrounded by controversy as a result of referee Chae Sang-hyeop chalking off two Ansan Greeners goals, Purples gaffer Ko Jong-soo won’t mind too much.

 Daejeon's defending was a touch suspect at times with young centre back Lee Jeesol enduring a difficult debut but Citizen’s attacking prowess was there for all to see. Aurelian Chițu was a constant nuisance and marked the occasion with a goal and an assist. The Romanian was Daejeon’s top goalscorer last term with 13, despite missing the first four rounds of the campaign. After getting on the scoresheet last time out, the former Viitorul man will no doubt be full of confidence. There was also a debut goal for on-loan Suwon Bluewings prodigy Yoon Yong-ho. The attacking midfielder showed exactly why he is rated so highly at Big Bird and no doubt, the goal will have done wonders for his confidence.

Tactically, Daejeon set up in a 4-4-2 formation with Chițu up front alongside Park In-hyeok, despite manager Ko Jong-soo preferring a 4-1-2-3 in 2018. Yoon Yong-ho operated as a left-sided midfielder but often found himself centrally, as per his goal when Chițu cut the ball back to the edge of the area. The Purples looked to use the channels and get the ball into the ‘Danger Zone’. The full backs were encouraged to go long into the space between the full back and centre back when regaining possession in their own half.
(Paul Neat)

Who To Watch

Preview: Jeonnam Dragons vs Daejeon Citizen K League 2 Round 2 Yoon Yong-ho

Jeonnam  Dragons will have to keep a close eye on Daejon Citizen's number ten Yoon Yong-ho this weekend. The 23-year-old attacking midfielder has tricky feet, can dribble his way out of tight spaces and will no doubt try to carry the ball into Jeonnam's penalty box as often as possible on Sunday. Yoon also possesses a lethal left foot and if he gets to link up with the likes of Aurelian Chițu near the Dragons' goal, the home side could be in a lot of trouble.

Prediction

Last Sunday's game was a baptism of fire for Dragons' new head coach Fabiano Soares and such was the manner of the defeat, few of those in attendance would bet on the Dragons bouncing straight back into South Korea's top tier next season unless they improve dramatically over the next few months. And with Daejeon flying high after their opening day victory, the Dragons should be in for another tough game.

However, Jeonnam can get something here if Fabiano Soares picks his strongest eleven and his team show a lot more urgency than last Sunday. As Dragons midfielder Vedran Jugović said earlier this week, "K League 2 is not a joke and not an easy league." The team and supporters need to remember these words if they wish to achieve their goals this season.

Prediction: Jeonnam Dragons 2 Daejeon Citizen 1

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