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Preview: Suwon Bluewings vs Sangju Sangmu

The Suwon Bluewings picked up their first points of the season last weekend and will be hoping that they can use that as a springboard as they continue to try and kick-start their season with the visit of Sangju Sangmu in Round 5 of the 2019 K League 1. The away team make the journey to Suwon after coming off of the back of their first loss of the year, but will find it difficult to avenge that defeat in a ground where they have never had much joy. 

Last Time Out

Suwon finally picked up their first points of the season when they dispatched of Incheon United with relative ease on Sunday afternoon. A bright start from the Bluewings brought the goal that they deserved in the 15th minute, although it did come in a fortuitous way. A corner from the right was met by the head of Jo Sung-jin but the powerful header was kept out by Jung San, in the Incheon nets. The loose ball was met by Suwon's Jeon Se-jin who went down under a slight touch from Yang Joon-ah, a challenge which the referee deemed to be a penalty. Just as he had done in the previous game, Yeom Ki-hun converted the dubious penalty with a clam chip to put the home team ahead.

However, after some of their own bright play, Incheon found themselves level, again, from the aid of a corner. Jiloan Hamad swung a delivery into the box and Kim Jung-ho was given the freedom of the penalty area to make a late run and slam his header into the top corner.

The second half started a little cagily but it was the Bluewings who took the advantage when Yeom Ki-hun found himself in space on the left-wing and the veteran curled in a delightful ball to the near post, where Adam Taggart was waiting. The Australian, who had timed his run to perfection, calmly volleyed in with the outside of his foot to score his second goal for the club, in the 63rd minute.

Incheon had a few half chances to snatch a point, but in truth, Suwon controlled the majority of the second half and sealed the win in injury time. Some neat play by Dejan Damjanović and Shin Se-gye, on the right wing, saw the latter deliver an inch perfect cross for Adam Taggart to score a diving header and give Suwon not only their first win, but first points of the season.

Full highlights can be found here. 

With Suwon claiming their first win of the season, Sangju, conversely, fell to their first defeat of the season on Saturday afternoon, losing 2-0 to FC Seoul.

A quite even first half saw Sangju have the majority of the best goalscoring opportunities but it was Seoul who took the lead courtesy of a Sangju own goal. After Yoon Jong-gyu had handed possession to the Sangju defence, Yoon Bit-garam fired a nonsensical clearance across his own six yard box which slammed into the back of Kim Kyeong-jae and rolled into the net.

Sangju again had the better of the second half, whilst FC Seoul were happy to sit back and soak up the pressure. And it was Seoul who secured all three points late in the game when Sangju were caught short at the back. A Seoul clearance found it's way Aleksandar Pešić, on the half way line. The striker purposefully drove into the Sangju penalty area and found Park Chu-young in acres of space. The striker's shot was well blocked but the rebound was driven home by Jung Won-jin to hand Seoul a 2-0 win.

Full highlights can be found here. 

Previous Meetings

Historically, this has been a one sided fixture with the Suwon Bluewings winning 23 out of 39 games between the two teams. Sangju Sangmu have particularly struggled when traveling north to Suwon and have only ever claimed 3 wins and 3 draws from their 18 visits to Suwon World Cup Stadium.

2011 was the last time that Sangju got the better of Suwon in the league, however, they did beat Suwon on penalties in the 2014 FA Cup, and this remains their last victory against the Bluewings.

Suwon have won 4 of the last 6 games between the pair and have outscored Sangju by 11 goals to 4 in that period.

Team News

Lee Lim-saeng was able to name his most experienced players in the game against Incheon and the sensible team choices paid off with a convincing and deserved victory. But with the games coming thick and fast, and with some players succumbing to cramp in the latter stages of that Incheon game, Lee may need to shuffle his pack for the visit of Sangju.

Vice-captain, Choi Seung-geun, has only just returned from an injury and will probably be rested for this game. As too will Kim Jong-woo, who was stretchered off the pitch after appearing to pick up a muscle injury against Incheon. That could lead to a recall for Song Jin-kyu. The youngster featured for the first time since the opening day when he came off the bench in the second half on Sunday and he impressed with his energy and distribution.

Jeon Se-jin felt the effects of playing 4 games in two weeks on Sunday and he played on with cramp for much of the second half. The winger is vitally important to Suwon but should be rested for this game, opening the door for Lim Sang-hyub if the manager wants to persist with the 4-5-1 formation that he favours.

One option could be to switch to a 4-4-2, as he did in that Incheon game. The change in formation, allowing Taggart and Damjanović to link-up, swung the game in favour of the Bluewings and it is something for the manager to ponder.

The Adversary

Sangju Sangmu have had an amazing start to the season winning 3 of their first 4 games and can still count themselves unlucky to not have picked up any points in their last outing, away to FC Seoul.

Key to their form has been a switch to a more attacking formation with manager, Kim Tae-wan, alternating from a 4-3-1-1 to a 3-5-2 in games. The combination of Chin Chang-mu and Song Si-woo has been interesting, whilst the likes of Yoon Bit-garam, Kim Min-woo and Park Yong-ji behind them continue to produce quality on a regular basis.

One of the reasons why Sangju have been able to have such a good start to the season has been their clinical finishing. Currently averaging 5.5 shots on target in a game, they rank 6th in the league. However, the conversion of these chances has stood them in good stead and Suwon should be wary of the threat that Sangju pose when they find themselves in goalscoring positions.

Who To Watch

All eyes will be on new goalscoring hero Adam Taggart going into this one. The Australian has adapted quickly to his new surroundings and his three goals this season see's him lead the team.

Taggart's overall performance against Incheon United was outstanding, a fact made all the more impressive when you consider it was his first ever start for the club. He posed a problem coming short, and running in behind the defence, provided a nuisance factor for the Incheon back-line, but most importantly, was clinical with the two goals that he scored.


Sangju may have started the season well, whilst Suwon have struggled, but their performance against Incheon will surely give the Bluewings some hope that they can string back-to-back wins together. Sangju Sangmu have a terrible record against the Bluewings and they will find it tough to get anything from this game, even with that clinical forward line.

Suwon Bluewings 2-0 Sangju Sangmu

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