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Preview: Daegu FC vs Pohang Steelers

Preview: Daegu FC vs Pohang Steelers K League 1 Round 8
After three away games on the bounce, Daegu FC finally return home and are about to welcome Pohang Steelers to DGB Daegu Bank Park this Saturday afternoon. Will a recharged Sky Blues get back to winning ways in the K League, or can a roller-coaster Pohang Steelers claim their first away win in this season? K League United Daegu FC Correspondent Muyeol Jung previews this clash.


Last Time Out

FA Cup 4th Round: Suwon FC 1-2 Daegu FC

After a goalless draw to Suwon Bluewings last Sunday, Daegu FC met another Suwon team in the fourth round of FA Cup. As expected, Daegu manager Andre set out a very experimental side with the majority of his key players rested out following fatigue issues and a busy fixture schedule
which includes two away games in ACL and K League.

From the beginning, the hosts pushed hard for the win, creating a couple of good chances, while the Sky Blues looked poor and unable to create any meaningful build-up play. The second half started in with Korean U23 National Team attacker Kim Daewon subbed in.

Unfortunately for Daegu, the deadlock was broken just ten minutes before full time by young centre back Cho Yoomin from a corner kick, who headed the ball just before Daegu goalkeeper Lee Junehee could gather it. Afterwards, Defending Champions Daegu were in a hurry for an equaliser, and the substitute levelled the game with a stunning shot after dribbling from near the half way. The game could have gone to extra minutes, but Daegu managed to snatch the win in the end after the ball, which was cleared by a defender, ricocheted back to the goal after deflection on Daegu's Jang Seongwon.

Highlights: here

FA Cup 4th Round: Suwon Bluewings 1-0 Pohang Steelers

After a 2-0 defeat away to Seongnam last Saturday, the Steelers faced off against Suwon Bluewings at Big Bird where they saw their exit from the FA Cup after a 1-0 loss. Neither side were dangerous at all, but relatively, the hosts were slightly better.

The only goal came at nearly the end of the game when Suwon attacker Yeom Kihun converted from the spot after the referee gave the hosts a penalty following a handball inside the box. Suwon held on to advance to the next round.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Head to head, the Steelers have beaten the Sky Blues 19 times from 38 meetings, exactly half, while the Sky Blues have claimed only nine wins. For the last 10 games, none of them have ended in stalemate with three wins for Daegu, seven wins for Pohang.

In 2017, Daegu were the better side against Pohang with three winnings and one loss, while last season saw Deagu FC frustrated after the citizen club failed to earn a single a point from three meeting losing 3-0, 1-0, and 2-1.

Team News

Daegu FC successfully managed to advance to the next round of FA Cup with the majority of their key players completely rested out. It could have gone wrong when Suwon FC took the lead on 81 minutes, but Andre’s choice paid off in the end after two late second half goals were scored. Only two regular players who featured on the midweek game are Kim Daewon and Hwang Soonmin, but their playing time wasn't much more than 45 minutes. Therefore, Daegu FC are able to welcome Pohang with a bit of refreshed squad.

However, another two games in a week are lying ahead of Daegu; K League Game to Pohang on Saturday and an ACL Group stage game to Sanfrecce Hiroshima next Tuesday.

Although the most of Daegu's key players are expected to be named in starting XI, there is some uncertainty upfront. Brazilian centre forward Edgar might start on the bench as he was spotted in Suwon Bluewings away game still having taping on his calf, implying that he isn’t fully recovered.

Edgar’s replacement, Kim Jinhyuk, is also doubtful to start as this is only two days before he is due to start military duty. Meanwhile, Brazilian forward Dario seems to have a problem in adapting to K League as he remained an unused substitute for the midweek win over Suwon FC.

The Adversary

Nine placed Pohang Steelers will visit DGB Daegu Bank Park following their two consecutive away games in Gyeonggi Province. Interestingly, they looked better at home where they picked up seven points with two wins, one draw and one loss. However, away from home the Steelers have looked out of sorts. From the four away games they have played in all competition this season, not only have they not picked up a singe point, but also haven’t found a single goal either scored; 03/03 Seoul 0-2 (L), 30/03 Jeonbuk 0-2 (L), 13/04 Seongnam 0-2 (L), 17/04 Suwon Bluewings 0-1 (L).

Recently, the Steelers signed K3 League top scorer Choi Yongwoo from Gyeongju Citizen to bolster attacking options. He made his debut for Pohang and earned 35 minutes in midweek cup game instead of Brazilian striker David. However, it looks like he will need more time to work well with his new teammates.

Who To Watch

Daegu FC - Hong Jungwoon


While Brazilian duo Edgar and Cesinha are at the centre of the spotlight, the Sky Blues' strong and solid defenders enables them to go for goals. The leader of Daegu defensive line, centre back Hong Jungwoon, is in his fourth season with Daegu and is a consistent performer in Andre’s back three. Despite the 1994 born defender not being widely known outside of Daegu, his statistics clearly indicate that he is one of the top defenders in K League. Hong made into the top five of three of the six categories for defenders last season; third in clearing, first in interceptions, and first for headers won according to the 2018 K League Technical Report.

This season he has started every single game until the FA Cup tie with Suwon and has showed his strengths by effectively neutralising some big names like Kim Shinwook from Jeonbuk, Melbourne Victory's  Ola Toivonen and Kosta Barbarouses, Adam Taggart and Dejan from Suwon Bluewings, with his bold and commanding style and strong heading ability.

However, empirically, he seems to have quite a lot of difficulty in marking Kim Seungdae, who is very well known for his movements behind the line. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how the defender effectively deals with the Pohang attacker.

Prediction

Given the current form of the two teams and their strength, Daegu are favourites to win without any problems as long as they can repeat what they showed in the previous league game.


Predicted Score: Daegu FC 2-0 Pohang Steelers

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