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FA Cup Preview: Sangju Sangmu vs Jeju United

FA Cup Preview: Sangju Sangmu vs Jeju United
Jeju United travel away to Sangju Sangmu for their fifth-round FA Cup tie on Wednesday night after having been swept aside by Suwon Bluewings on the weekend.  The two clubs have already met this season, a 3-2 win for the military side on the island a few weeks ago.  Will the islanders be able to exact a measure of revenge and advance in the cup?  KLU's Branko Belan previews the Wednesday night encounter.

Match: Sangju Sangmu vs Jeju United - FA Cup 5th round
Venue: Sangju Civic Stadium
Kickoff: Wednesday, May 15th, 2019; 19:00 KST

Last Time Out

Sangju Sangmu 1-0 Seongnam FC

Both teams had spells going forward in the first half, but their lack of finish in the final third meant that they would go to the break with no change in the scoreline.  Neither 'keeper was truly tested in the first forty-five minutes, but that would change early in the second half, as Park Yong-ji would find the back of the net in the 51st minute after being able to waltz into the final third, then deciding to have a hit at goal from outside the box, shooting across Kim Dong-jun, who couldn't get a hand on the ball as it finished in the bottom corner.

Kwon Wan-kyu looked to have a second on 63 minutes as he steered the ball in from a free kick, but the officiating crew had a second look at the play and the goal was called back due to an offside.  

Seongnam for their part just couldn't hit the target for long stretches during the match, and Jo Seong-joon was also sent off with ten minutes to go, thus allowing Sangju to keep their advantage until the final whistle and come away with all three points.

Highlights: here

Jeju United 1-3 Suwon Bluewings

Jeju approached their match-up with Suwon Bluewings with optimism after recording their first win of the season against Gyeongnam the week before.  Things did start well for the islanders, as they went into the lead through Kwon Soon-hyung on 23 minutes.

Yun Il-lok played a ball over the top that Magno Cruz latched on to running down the right, and played a short ball into the path of Kwon, who fired low into the net.  Things did not last for long, though, as Dejan Damjanovic netted an equalizer on 39 minutes.  Aleks Jovanovic was unable to clear the ball out of the area, and Suwon's number ten pounced in due fashion, firing high into the corner, and the match was level going to the half.

Suwon would take advantage of some quick opportunities early in the second half, as Koo Ja-Ryoung and Adam Taggart each put their names on the score sheet for the visitors, and it would be too much for Jeju to recover from, as they were not able to find their way back into the match.  Suwon would take all three points, and Jeju must now once again go back to the drawing board and hope that they can rebound next time out, but it will be a very difficult task, as they next head on the road to face Jeonbuk before returning home to Seogwipo for a midweek match against Incheon on the 28th.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

As already mentioned, Sangju has already beaten Jeju this season.  Yoon Bit-garam was the hero with a last gasp winner from a free kick in injury time.  The goal came only minutes after Jeju had managed to level the match.  Jeju, though, has had a good advantage through the years in the head to head, but last season was a bit closer than many people expected.  

It won't be the first time that the two sides have met in the cup.  The only previous meeting between them was all the way back in 2009, where Jeju prevailed 5-4 after a penalty shootout in the Round of 16.  They meet at the same stage of the competition this year, and Jeju will be hoping to progress once again.  

Team News

Jeju lined up with three in the back against Suwon, with Aleks Jovanovic on the left, Kim Seung-woo in the middle and Kim Dong-woo on the right.  Jeju have had problems playing in such formations against teams quick on the counter who can score, and it showed once again on Sunday afternoon, as they conceded just before halftime, and then allowed two more just after the break.

Jeju is not the kind of team with enough cohesion at the back to play with less than four on the line, so it will still take some fine tuning for Choi Yun-kyum to find a formula that works with the players that he has at his disposal.  Wednesday night may be a good time to experiment with it, but it all depends on whether he decides to go with a younger lineup or not.  Jeju just managed to get through the last round on penalties, and will hope to go one better and try not to extend the match to extra time, but it all depends on how the play in possession when they have it, and how well they are able to defend against the counter.

Sangju, while they have done well to earn points in close matches and did survive a penalty shootout in the last round of the cup, they still have trouble scoring on a consistent basis.  There is no question that they do have some talented pieces currently, but, even though Jeju have had a less than ideal start to the season, it could still be considered somewhat of an upset if the military side do come away with victory in this one.  They do have a bit of momentum on their side in that they are coming off a win and have already drawn first blood in the head to head with the islanders this year.

The Adversary

Sangju Sangmu has been a bit of a surprise outfit so far this season.  With their win against Seongnam on Friday night, they moved their season tally to seventeen points, which currently has them sitting two points off of fourth spot in the table.  The football gods have been kind to them thus far, as they have managed to get results in the league without a major scoring presence up front.  While they do still boast the likes of Yoon Bit-garam and Park Yong-ji in the starting eleven, many of the other faces in the lineup have been largely inconsistent.

It will be the first time for Jeju players Jin Seong-wook, Ryu Seung-woo, and Lee Chan-dong to have a chance to line up against their parent club.  The trio joined Sangju in the off-season to do their military service, but neither have really featured as of yet, so the cup tie may be a chance for them to get a run out.  There is the feeling that goals will be hard to come by for the military side if they go with anything than their strongest eleven, but there is an expectation that some of the younger players will get an opportunity to play as they don't see a lot of time in the league off the bench.


Jeju made it to the quarter-final stage of the competition last year, where they were eliminated by Suwon Bluewings,  With their chances in the league starting to fade after another setback on the weekend, the cup will be their only chance to lift a piece of silverware this season.  Having already lost to Sangju, they will be looking to return the favor having been beaten at home two weekends ago.

Sangju beat Seongnam FC, the same team they knocked out in the fourth round by a single goal last Friday night so another win will give them the confidence to go out and get a result, especially since they are playing at home.  However, if Jeju can muster the resolve needed, they may just be able to squeeze by in this one in the end.

Prediction: Sangju Sangmu 1-2 Jeju United

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