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Preview: Gangwon FC vs Jeju United

Preview: Gangwon FC vs Jeju United K League 1 Round 13
Jeju United travel away to Gangwon this Saturday night to face a team which beat them quite handily the first time the two clubs met this season on the island.  Jeju have continued to struggle following the appointment of Choi Yun-kyum as the new coach, but it mostly has come down to working out tactics which can utilize the players' strengths as best as possible.  Jeju knows the importance of this match, and would like to pick up points and come back home to Seogwipo with a bit of momentum when they face Incheon United and Ulsan Hyundai next.  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the match.

Match: Gangwon FC vs Jeju United
Venue: Chuncheon Songam Stadium
Kickoff: Saturday May 25th, 2019; 19:00 KST

Last Time Out

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 3-1 Jeju United

Jeju United faced a daunting task visiting the World Cup Stadium in Jeonju, where they were outclassed by Jeonbuk Hyundai by a final of 3-1.  The positive in the scoreline is that Jeju actually managed to score a goal, something they failed to do last season against the defending champions.

A first glance at the Jeju starting eleven seemed to convey that something was amiss, as Kim Sung-ju was given a surprise start in attack, but that didn't work out well, as the islanders struggled to create chances early, and, in fact, Jeonbuk were already ahead after five minutes through Lee Seung-gi, who latched on to a ball into the area, and slipped in behind a pair of defenders to slot home from close range.

Tiago would pull Jeju level on 33 minutes, slamming the ball into the net for his third of the season, but parity would not last long, as Kim Min-hyeok put the hosts back in front only three minutes later.  Jeonbuk would add a third in the second half courtesy of Kim Shin-wook on 56 minutes, who headed in Kim Jin-su's cross from the left.  It would be all Jeonbuk would need for three points.

Jeju did manage to create a few decent scoring chances in the second half, with the best coming from Lee Chang-min with just under twenty minutes to play.  His effort from outside the box produced a fine top hand save from Song Bum-keun, who palmed it over the bar.  The deficit could have been increased as well, but Lee Chang-keun also made a few key saves to limit the damage already done.  Jeonbuk roll on with yet another title challenge as they jockey for top spot with Ulsan Hyundai while Jeju will have to hope for better in the matches ahead.

Highlights: here 

Gangwon FC 2-1 Seongnam FC

Gangwon picked up an important victory last weekend as they were able to take all three points from Seongnam FC with an injury time winner from Kim Ji-hyun.

It was Seongnam who would take the lead in the early stages of the match when Cheo Byeong-chan headed the hosts in front on thirteen minutes, but that advantage was erased only three minutes later when Uroš Đerić leveled proceedings with his third goal of the season, using a nice bit of chest control to bring the ball under control before sending it into the roof of the net.

Gangwon kept the pressure up, but could not break the deadlock before halftime, thanks to a fine save by Kim Dong-jun who denied Đerić his second of the half, while they were also denied once by the woodwork after the equalizer.

The visitors were the busier team in the second half, creating the brunt of the chances, but Kim was solid between the sticks for Seongnam, making several key saves to keep the match on even terms.  Seongnam were not able to create much themselves offensively, and it looked the sides were headed for a draw.

There would be no change in the scoreline until very late on, when Kim Ji-hyun scored with a low shot after being left unmarked at the far post, and Gangwon came away with a very valuable three points.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

The last time these two met this season, it turned out to be a disaster for Jeju, as they fell 4-2 at home despite having a man advantage for almost eighty minutes.  A Magno Cruz brace was not enough, as Gangwon got goals from four different players.  Kang Ji-hoon, former Jeju man Kim Hyun-wook, Kim Ji-hyun, and Lee Hyun-sik all registered on the score sheet for the visitors on the day.

Jeju's struggles against Gangwon go back to last season as well, as Gangwon managed ten league goals against the islanders last season, with Uros Deric being the main culprit in causing Jeju misery.  Jeju have another chance to turn the tables, but know they are at a psychological disadvantage, and will have to take their game up a notch if they are to come away with a result from this one.

Team News

Jeju once again played with three at the back against Jeonbuk last weekend, and it backfired as they conceded three goals against the defending league champions.  Choi Yun-kyum used four defenders in the back against Gyeongnam in his debut, and it ended in a 2-0 win.  It would be smart for him to go back to that formula, as Jeju have had a lot more success with extra cover in the defensive third.

Kim Won-il has now played in back to back games after not having previously appeared this season while Cho Sung-hwan was still on the sideline.  He looked decent in the cup match against Sangju, but left some to be desired against Jeonbuk last weekend, although that could be said of most of the team after what was another poor performance.

According to Ross Davis, Jung Woo-jae played a match with Jeju's reserves in midweek and lasted more than an hour on the pitch, which is a positive sign that he is finally ready to suit up for his new team after a long injury layoff which saw him miss a lengthy amount of time.  His inclusion into the scheme will be a welcome one, although it is unknown at present how he will be worked into the rotation as he works his way back to full match fitness.

Kim Ho-nam picked up his third yellow card of the season late on against Jeonbuk, so the newly appointed captain will not be available for the away trip north.  This could potentially mean that Park Jin-po, who was given the armband at the start of the season, could start on Saturday night.  If not, then it will likely go to last year's captain Kwon Soon-hyung.

For Gangwon, Lee Jae-kwon was substituted early in the first half because of an injury and replaced by Kim Hyun-wook.  If Lee is unable to go, then Kim will most likely start in his place.  

Uroš Đerić got on the score sheet last time out for his club, and, if that means the Serbian striker, who was one of the top goal-getters in the league last season, is beginning to return to form, then Jeju have to be on high alert, as Đerić scored in bunches against them last season.

Finally, Kim Oh-kyu was booked last match against Seongnam, which means he will miss the match thanks to card accumulation.

The Adversary

Gangwon are on a very good run of form of late, with four consecutive wins, including the FA Cup, and have kept three clean sheets over that span.  They currently sit fifth in the table with nineteen points, but have an even goal differential, and have only scored thirteen goals as a team this season.

Their offensive production has been a concern this season.  It should be noted that they scored four against Jeju already this season, meaning that they have only scored nine in all of their other matches, which is less than a goal a game.

With Jeonbuk at home and then Suwon and Daegu away in the next three weeks after facing Jeju, they know that getting a result is imperative if they want to maintain their position in the top six, as they are currently level on points with Pohang, who they play at home on June 23rd.  Seventh placed Sangju is only two points behind them at the moment, so there is very little room for error if they want to continue registering results and remain competitive with the teams above them.


Based on the run of results going back to last season, it is difficult to foresee Jeju being able to come away with a result from this one.  Kim Ji-hyun is in form and could once again be a threat to score after netting the injury time winner last weekend, while Gangwon have been very difficult to break down defensively over the past several weeks.

Jeju have it all to do, as the chemistry between the players has yet to develop under Choi, whose tactics have proven to be much different in comparison to his predecessor.  The loss of Kim to suspension for the match will not help matters, but if the lineup combination is right, the islanders may have a faint chance of pulling a surprise.  

The hosts, however, have a bit more riding on this match, and, that they will be at home this time around, will likely approach the match with a bit more urgency than their opponents, and may just be able to nip it in the end.

Prediction: Gangwon FC 2-1 Jeju United

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