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Preview: Jeju United vs Ulsan Hyundai

Jeju United suffered yet another loss in midweek at home to Incheon United, as a late penalty from Lee Woo-hyeok was the difference in what was only the second win of the season for the visitors.  The match marked the islanders' return to their World Cup Stadium home in Seogwipo.  The loss means they hover just one point above the drop zone, and a match against Ulsan Hyundai will not do much to help matters.  Ulsan, for their part, had to settle for a scoreless draw at home to Daegu and dropped a spot to second in the table after Jeonbuk came back to defeat Gangwon.  KLU's Branko Belan and Dan Croydon look ahead to Saturday afternoon's match in K League 1.

Match: Jeju United vs Ulsan Hyundai
Venue: Seogwipo World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Saturday June 1st, 2019; 16:00 KST

Last Time Out

Jeju United 1-2 Incheon United

Jeju United could not manage to win on their return to Seogwipo on Tuesday night, as Incheon would take all three points after Lee Woo-hyeok converted from the spot.  The first half did not really provide much from either side, although Jeju were given another injury scare when Jeong Woo-jae went down and had to be substituted about half an hour into the match.  Neither team were threatening in front of goal and it went to the break as it started.

The match would begin to turn a bit in the second half when Incheon went in front after a defensive error saw Kim Won-il get pulled out of position, and Ji Eon-hak was there to roll the ball into the net on 51 minutes.  The lead would not last long however, as Kim, who was responsible for the goal conceded, got on the end of a loose ball in the Incheon penalty area after a corner kick and thumped a low shot into the center of the net.

It looked like both teams were going to settle for a draw, until second half substitute Lee Dong-hee committed a silly challenge which was whistled for a penalty, and Lee Woo-hyeok scored to give the Durumi the lead back.  Jeju would not be able to pull even before the end and they now face a stiff test in the second place Horangi coming off a loss.

Highlights: here

Ulsan Hyundai 0-0 Daegu FC

Ulsan missed an opportunity to stay atop the table after being held at home against Daegu FC.  Both teams came out aggressively, but neither Kim Su-an nor Kim Dae-won could put their sides in front in the early proceedings.  Cesinha also came close for the visitors, but Oh Seung-hoon and Cho Hyun-woo both made key saves to keep the match level.

Both teams continued to press forward in the second half in search of a goal that would put them in front, but neither team was able to capitalize in the final third and several chances went off target.  Kim Su-an was booked for a second time with just over ten minutes remaining, reducing Ulsan to ten men, but the visitors could not make the most of the extra man and the sides were resigned to a goalless scoreline at the final whistle.  With the result, Ulsan slipped a notch to second despite being level on points with Jeonbuk, while Daegu remains in fourth on 24 points.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

The only meeting of the season between the two thus far saw the Horangi win 2-1 at Munsu Stadium at the end of March.  Kim Bo-kyung's 53rd minute tally was enough to get a win after Junior Negrao and Lee Chang-min traded goals within minutes of each other in the first half.

Last season, Jeju had a slight edge in the head-to-head, winning twice, while Ulsan won once, and one match finished all square.  Jeju's second win came in the Championship Round, a match in which Lee Chang-min had to make several critical saves to prevent Ulsan from breaching his cage in a 1-0 win, with the winner coming courtesy of Magno in the 65th minute.  With Jeju's rash of negative results this season, it is safe to say that the second meeting of the season between them will not be as kind to the men in orange.

Team News

Both Park Jin-po and Aleks Jovanovic missed the match against Incheon because of card accumulation but should be in the mix for the weekend.  Jeong Woo-jae went off injured in the first half against Incheon and was replaced by Kang Yoon-sung.  After the match, Choi Yun-kyum said that Jeong suffered an injury to the side of his ribs, and it is unknown if he will train later in the week, or if he will be available to play on Saturday afternoon.

The status of Lee Chang-min is also unknown after he was substituted midway through the second half against Incheon.  He looked to be moving very gingerly on his feet, indicating that it in fact could be a foot injury.  No further information has been made available, so it is difficult to know the severity of it.  At best for the moment, he is questionable to start, but if he is able to play, there is a good chance he will come from the bench.

The choice of formation for the match against Incheon was a curious one to say the least as it did not offer Jeju a lot of opportunities to venture forward in attack.  They played too conservatively for much of the night, trying to play balls over top of the defense instead of using their players to find gaps in Incheon's defensive scheme along the ground.

Jeju's frontmen, and in particular Tiago, do not have the kind of speed required for a long ball style of play, and should focus more on building from the back.  They also seemed much too hesitant to shoot, which has been a major concern this season.  And, despite having double digit shot attempts yet again, only three were on target, another area Jeju must improve on if they are going to be more effective and dangerous in front of goal.

Choi also commented that the level of preparation for the Incheon match was not up to the standard that it should be, but also that the players' performance was deeply affected by the weekend trip to Gangwon.  He also stressed that there would be an increased emphasis on professionalism in the near future, citing that players should understand the gravity of matches on their upcoming schedule.

For Ulsan, Kim Su-an will miss the match against Jeju because of a match suspension for two yellow cards received against Daegu, while Kang Min-soo is also suspended because of accumulating too many cards.

The good news is that Dave Bulthuis is back in training but Saturday may be too early for him to return and so there is a good possibility that young center back Kim Min-deok will make his K League debut, with his only other appearance for the club in 2019 coming in the 5-0 loss against Shanghai SIPG on the final group stage day in the ACL.  Yoon Young-sun is a potential injury concern, and will likely not be included in the team selection for the weekend.

Ulsan team news by Dan Croydon

The Adversary


Kim Do-hoon was not satisfied with the result last time out.  In the post-game press conference, he said "To get a draw at home is a pity.  I tried to prepare a bit aggressively, but when you try to break down a team defensively, it doesn't always work out.  I have to pay a bit more attention to detail for the upcoming matches," he began.

"We have to look at ourselves," he continued.  "It was a match which we really wanted to win, and there was a desire to win at home, I think the players also feel a bit overwhelmed to win and maybe it would have been better if I had been more comfortable in my preparation.  I will try for a better result next time out," he finished.

Prediction

Miscommunication in defense has been a major problem for Jeju this season, and they will have to hope that they can restore some order to the back line with one of the perennial golden boot favorites in Junior coming to town.  Ulsan have shown that they have a lot of firepower in several areas on the pitch, and that they can score goals in bunches when they are "in the zone."

Jeju lacked urgency against Incheon, and it seemed they played down to the level of their competition for much of the ninety, which would cost them in the end.  Jeju on paper can match up with Ulsan, as they can with any club in the league, but they have yet to learn how to win as a team.  Talent means little without chemistry, and that is something the club has failed to establish yet, even though a third of the regular schedule is already done.

At a time when several clubs are mounting title challenges and vying for spots in next season's ACL, Jeju are floundering badly and lacking direction with their play.  It would be hard pressed to say that they have a chance for points against one of the best teams in the league.  Ulsan have been playing well and should comfortably take the points.

Prediction: Jeju United 0-2 Ulsan Hyundai

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