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Preview: Pohang Steelers vs Suwon Bluewings

It will have only been a matter of days since they last met but Suwon Bluewings will travel to Pohang Steelers for a rematch of that FA Cup game nine days ago. With both teams in contrasting form in the K League 1 this might be a long and difficult night for the Steelers, but they will hope that with a new manager at the helm they could have a little more luck than they have had recently. 

Last Time Out

It was another woeful day on the road for Pohang last weekend when they were crushed 3-0 by Daegu FC. Their misery began in only the 8th minute of the game when a Cesinha free kick was poorly cleared straight into the path of Hwang Soon-min. The midfielder smashed home a stunning left footed half-volley, a goal to rival any strike this season.

Daegu extended their lead only three minutes later courtesy of a fine counter attack. With Pohang caught in possession up the field Cesinha burst through the centre and fed Kim Dae-won on the left flank. The winger cut in field before curling a sublime ball across the face of goal with the outside of his right boot. A deflected header at the near post fell kindly into the path of Kim Jin-hyeok and the striker couldn't miss from 6 yards out.

Things got even worse for Pohang when David Silva was shown a red card in the 21st minute for a high boot, with the forward making contact with the face of Hong Jeong-woon. Pohang continued to struggle with Daegu's attack and the final nail was put in their coffin when Tsubasa Nishi scored in the 31st minute. Some beautiful one touch football found Kim Dae-won in space on the edge of the Pohang penalty area and the youngster's neat lay off to Nishi allowed the Japanese man the chance to score and seal the points for Daegu.

Highlights can be found here. 

Suwon and Gyeongnam played out one of the most entertaining games of the season last weekend with the game ending 3-3. It was Suwon who took the lead in the 9th minute when an Adam Taggart shot rebounded into the path of Shin Se-gye on the right wing. At an acute angle the odds appeared to be against the right-back but he fired a superb low shot into the corner of the goal to put Suwon ahead.

Suwon had the game under control but a moment of madness from Yang Sang-min gave Gyeongnam a penalty and the chance to equalise. Yang senselessly charged down a shot from Gyeongnam but fell on the ball with his hands and the referee duly awarded a penalty. Kunimoto made no mistakes, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

Gyeongnam took the lead shortly after half time, Kim Jong-pil scoring from a corner. In a topsy-turvy game, Suwon hit back with their own equaliser in the 59th minute after a pass from Elvis Sarić found Taggart in space. The Australian drilled home through the legs of Kim Jong-pil for his 4th goal of the season.

Suwon were in the ascendancy from there on in and took a deserved lead in 88th minute. Another fine assist from Sarić gave Hong-chul the chance to attack Gyeongnam down the left hand side and after a neat turn onto his right foot the defender curled a beautiful goal into the top corner.

Suwon thought they had won the game but super sub Bae Ki-jong would have the last laugh. A cross from the left wing was met at the near post by Yang Sang-min but the Suwon man sliced his clearance across the face of goal and Bae was on hand to stab home in the 91st minute.

Full match highlights can be found here. 

Previous Meetings

These two met only matter a matter of days ago when they took on each other in the FA Cup. The Bluewings ran out winners on that occasion, by way of a Yeom Ki-hun penalty. But this is one of K League's closest rivalries with only two victories separating the two teams. Of the 57 games played between them the Bluewings have won 19 whilst Pohang have been victorious 21 times against Suwon. Suwon haven't traveled well to Pohang in the past though and have only ever registered 4 wins on the road against the Steelers.

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

Jo Sung-jin missed Suwon's last game through injury and they will be hoping that the centre-back can return sooner rather than later. Jo had played every minute of the run that had seen Suwon concede only one goal in five games and his absence in the centre of defence was noticeable as Suwon conceded three goals against Gyeongnam.

The performance against Gyeongnam wasn't bad and sweeping changes to the starting line-up aren't expected. However, Jeon Se-jin has been away at a national team training camp this week so may drop to the bench for this trip. That would mean one of Song Jin-gyu or Kim Min-ho returning to the starting line-up as the teams designated young player.

Pohang will be without the services of David Silva and Vladan Adžić after the pair picked up suspensions in their last match.

The Adversary

A dreadful start to the season saw Pohang part ways with their manager, Choi Soon-ho, earlier in the week. They have moved quickly to appoint Kim Ki-dong as interim manager until the end of the season and the former U-23 national team coach will hope for an immediate upturn in Pohang's current form.

The Steelers are now winless in four games and are tied with Incheon for the most losses in the league this year. Part of the reason for this has been their stuttering attack and they are yet to find their feet going forward this season. With only 66 shots made over their first eight matches Pohang rank last in the league, a full 30 shots away from the league average. The Steelers also rank the lowest in the league for touches in the opposition box, demonstrating their lack of ambition to attack their opponents.

Pohang have certainly felt the loss of youngster Lee Geun-ho to Jeonbuk and desperately need their key men from last season to step up and drag their team in the right direction.

Who To Watch

With another goal at the weekend it's safe to say that Adam Taggart has made an easy transition to the K League. That goal took him to four for the season, making him the joint top scorer in the league, and only Cesinha has more goals and assists combined than the Australian. 

However, it's not only Taggart's goalscoring exploits that have caught the eye and the striker's movement, distribution and all round work ethic should also be applauded. He has firmly cemented himself as the team's first choice striker but the partnership that has begun to develop between himself and Dejan Damjanović, when the latter comes on from the bench, is also becoming a danger to the opposition.

Prediction

Suwon are now unbeaten in six games and haven't looked like they will lose a game since those early season losses. Until last weekend their defence had been water tight and conceding those three goals against Gyeongnam will have surely weighed heavily on Lee Lim-saeng's mind. Knowing that Pohang have been so poor in attack, to this point, Lee may deploy a more cautious approach when they travel to Pohang. Suwon will hope that just one goal could win it for them and with the likes of Taggart, Yeom Ki-hun and Damjanović at their disposal you wouldn't bet against them getting it.

Pohang Steelers 0-1 Suwon Bluewings


Where to Download 

If you would like to download this episode, you can find The K League United Podcast on a number of platforms linked below. You can also catch the show every Thursday on Football Nation Radio.

iTunes | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | Libsyn | TuneIn Radio

K League 1 Round 9 Preview: here

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