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Preview: Gwangju FC vs Suwon FC

Preview: Gwangju FC vs Suwon FC K League 2 Round 7
In a fixture that has seen some thrilling and closely-fought battles in the past, Suwon FC travel to Gwangju FC knowing that a win would catapult them just one point behind the league leaders. Holding pole position in K League 2 since match day two with a 4-0 thumping of Asan Mugunghwa, Park Jin-seop's Gwangju side are aiming for a second win on home soil in just three days.

Last Time Out

FA Cup 4th Round: Gwangju FC 2-2 Andong Science University (Gwangju won 4-3 on penalties)

The Yellows were majorly let off the hook on Wednesday night as amateur side Andong missed two match-winning penalties to give Gwangju a lifeline that they duly took. With a sprinkling of first team players present such as keeper Yun Pyeong-gook, Kim Jin-hwan and Lim Min-hyeok, the hosts strong line-up should have made light work of their inexperienced opponents.

Falling behind to a Shin Min-hyeok wonder strike as he cut inside to curl an effort into the top right-hand corner, Gwangju did seem to momentarily wake from their slumber. Coming on as an early substitute as manager Park pushed two up front, Kim Ju-gong equalised with a fine header at the back post before Om Won-sang appeared to strike the killer blow just before half time. However, complacency crept back into the Yellow's game and another goal of the fourth round contender from Gang Min-seung brought the minnows level. After a scrappy period of extra time and host of poorly executed penalties, Yun Pyeong-gook pulled out a fantastic save in sudden death to break Andong hearts.

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

After a turgid first half at the Suwon Civil Stadium with the hosts enjoying the better of the first 45, things picked up in terms of entertainment in the second and midfielder Jo Yu-min looked to have won it for Kim Dae-eui's side with just 10 minutes remaining. Looking to add to a host of FA Cup shocks in midweek, the lower-league side Suwon came within minutes of achieving that feat.

In-form Kim Dae-won equalised just as the board went up to indicate added time before Jang Seung-won struck a cruel 93rd-minute winner. The only positive to come from such a crushing late defeat being the avoidance of another 30 minutes of energy-sapping extra time.

Previous Meetings

Gwangju have enjoyed the better of previous fixtures between the two sides with eight wins to Suwon's six since their first meeting in the 2011 FA Cup. Following each other in bouncing between the top two leagues, the pair are well versed in facing each other. Last season was a tale of two departed strikers with Na Sang-ho and Alex De Lima both tormenting their opposition's defenders. Now at FC Tokyo and Anyang respectively, the pair dominated the headlines with Na Sang-ho grabbing a brace in the Yellow's memorable 5-0 hammering of Suwon in April.

Suwon's last visit to Jeollanam-do saw them come away with all three points in a 2-0 victory as Alex added a stoppage time goal to Fernando Viana's opener. Prior to that the Guus Hiddink Stadium was an unhappy hunting ground for Kim Dae-eui's side who were without a win down south since being on the right side of a seven-goal thriller in 2013. A late striker from midfielder Kwon Yong-hyun, who enjoyed three spells at Suwon, sealed the win for the visitors.

Team News

Both star striker Felipe and Choi Joon-hyeok both stand one booking away from a suspension having picked up yellow cards in last weekend's goalless draw with Daejeon Citizen. Having dropped central defender Kim Jin-hwan for Rustam Ashurmatov for the clean sheet against the Purples, manager Park Jin-seop is expected to keep the same back line for the visit of Suwon. Captain Yeo-reum will lead a settled midfield line-up but Om Won-sang is pushing for a return to the starting eleven after his goal in midweek after Willian has taken his place on the wing in recent games.

Captain Yeo Reum (L) in action against Daejeon is expected to return after being rested in midweek.
Recovering from a dismal end to the 2018 season, Gwangju born Baek Sung-dong will hope to continue his stellar start to the season for the visitors. Firing straight out of the blocks to put his side ahead in their last outing on the road against Seoul E-Land, Baek joins An Byong-jun on two goals for the season. Suwon may be at a slight disadvantage for this weekend's game, having endured a tougher outing in the FA Cup on Wednesday against in-form top division side Daegu. Not having the same opportunity to rest players as Gwangju in midweek could see Kim Dae-eui rotate his side more than usual.

The Adversary

A run of five games without defeat for Suwon FC came to an end in the previous game against Daegu FC during the fourth round of the FA Cup this Wednesday. After changes in formation were made in the third round, manager Kim's boys will want to carry that form into better results in the league. Although the boys were stopped by the K League 1's most sensational team due to losing focus in the last minutes of the game, Suwon FC are ready to prove their eye-pleasing style of football at Gwangju's Stadium.

The newly-adopted 3-5-2 formation is bringing more shots on target for Suwon FC's artillery. The statistics are the basis of this finding. In the past three games, Suwon FC managed to hit more or equal number of shots on target as compared to the opposing team. It is an interesting stat to know considering Suwon's attacking department only managed to score once in three games at the start of the season.

An Byong-jun celebrating after his goal in last weekend's draw with Jeonnam Dragons
The improvement in attack could be sourced from many factors. However, placement of wing backs is key. Placing three centre backs with two wing backs has fostered stability in defence. The two wing backs have not labelled themselves as either defensively or offensively-minded but contributed on both sides of the pitch to outnumber the opponent. Furthermore, manager Kim's improved understanding of utilising the squad is another factor.

At the start of the season, Henri Anier was given a lead role together with fellow strikers Chisom and Baek Sung-ding. However, it was not the greatest combination to perform Kim's fast-paced football. North Korean import An Byong-jun pushed his way into the starting eleven from match day four in the league and is another striker known for his pace. An and his strike partners have scored a total of three goals in the past three games. It will be notable to see how well these players can perform during Saturday's league match.
-Lee Youngsub

Prediction

Last season saw tight matches between the two sides settled by the finest of margins and we could be in for more of the same with a Gwangju side not playing the free-flowing football they did at the season's outset. The difference in this one could be the visitors midweek exertion while the Yellow's allowed their second string to take the strain. Park Jin-seop has so many fresh and in-form options out wide that rotation from their FA Cup exploits should not be an issue.

Predicted Score: Gwangju FC 2 - 1 Suwon FC


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