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FA Cup Preview: Suwon Bluewings vs Pohang Steelers

The Suwon Bluewings and Pohang Steelers will meet in the Korean FA Cup for the first time ever on Wednesday night, when the Steelers make the long journey north to the Suwon World Cup Stadium. Both teams have ambitions to return back to the ACL and will see this competition as their best opportunity to make it there. But who will book their place in the next round? 

Last Time Out

Suwon had their goalkeeper to thank for the 0-0 draw they picked up at home to Daegu FC last Sunday afternoon. The away side had the majority of the best chances in the game and but didn't create their first meaningful shot on goal until the 20th minute when their star front 3 combined for the first time. A Cesinha pass found Edgar in space in the box and he cleverly layed the ball back to Kim Dae-won whose powerful shot was parried by No Dong-geun in the Suwon nets.

Kim Dae-won went even closer in the 39th minute when a quick counter found him in a one-on-one situation with Shin Se-gye. The young winner skillfully beat the Suwon man with a step over, cut into the box and fired a curling shot towards the bottom right hand corner. But No Dong-geun was once again equal to the strike and pushed the ball away with a strong right hand.

The Bluewings started the second half as the better team and thought they had taken the lead in the 59th minute. After some industrious work, Han Eui-kwon curled in a cross that Adam Taggart connected with, only for the linesman to flag for offside.

That man, Kim Dae-won, had yet another chance to open the scoring in the closing stages of the game after a Cesinha through ball found him bearing down on goal, but the youngster slashed his shot into the side netting.

No left his most impressive save until the 92nd minute when, again, a fine forward pass from Cesinha gave Hwang Soon-min enough space in the area to fire a low and hard shot, but the Suwon goalkeeper was there once again to almost single-handedly gain his team a point from a game where they were second best.

Highlights can be found here. 

Pohang fell to their 4th loss of the season last weekend with a 2-0 defeat to Seongnam. The Magpies scored their first of the afternoon in the first half from a bullet shot by Kim Min-hyeok from about 30 yards out.

Seongnam scored their second of the game after Pohang's Kim Ji-min was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box. Kim Jeong-hyun dispatched the resulting penalty to hand Seongnam their first win in four games.

Full highlights can be found here. 

Previous Meetings

This is one of K League's closest rivalries with only three victories separating the two teams. Of the 56 games played between these two the Bluewings have won 18 whilst Pohang have been victorious 21 times against Suwon. Pohang have also traveled very well to Suwon in years gone by, picking up 11 victories.

These games are usually tight affairs and only three times in the last five years has this fixture been settled by more than a single goal margin.

Team News

In the past Suwon have always used the early rounds of the FA Cup to experiment and give their fringe players some game time. However, with the club desperately aiming to return to the Asian Champions League it is expected that Lee Lim-saeng will see winning this competition as Suwon's best chance to return to continental competition.

There shouldn't be too many changes from the starting 11 that faced Daegu FC at the weekend. However, with the experiment to play Dejan Damjanović and Adam Taggart together being abandoned at half time in that Daegu game, the manager may well switch back to playing one lone forward. That would open the door for Jeon Se-jin to play in a more natural advanced role and for  Elvis Sarić to make his first start of the season. The Bosnia and Herzegovina international made his first appearance from the bench at the weekend and after recovering from a back problem should be in line to start more games once he has returned to full fitness.

The Adversary

Pohang have been somewhat of a yo-yo team in 2019 lurching from good performance to bad performance with relative ease. Their four losses this term has only been bettered by bottom club Incheon United and with ten goals conceded they have one of the most porous defences in the K League 1.

Key to their disappointing start to the campaign has been a lack of quality and creation in midfield. The likes of Kim Seung-dae and Lee Jin-hyun are yet to hit the heights that they reached last year, and new signing David Silva has not lived upto the promised that he showed in the Indonesian Premier League last season.

An average of only seven shots per game is the worst in the league and with only 28 shots on target over their first seven matches Pohang desperately need their midfield and attack to begin improving.

Prediction

Pohang aren't in the greatest of form at the moment. Their only two wins this season have come against a Gyeongnam team struggling to come to terms with their ACL commitments and against a poor Gangwon FC team. Although Suwon are unbeaten in their last four games, back-to-back 0-0 draws at home has slightly dampened some of the good spirit that was growing around the Suwon World Cup Stadium. But, given Pohang's struggles offensively and Suwon's growing competence in defence this could be time for Suwon to get back to winning ways at home.

Suwon Bluewings 1-0 Pohang Steelers

FA Cup 4th Round Preview: here

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