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Preview: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Sangju Sangmu

K League 1 Preview: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Sangju Sangmu

After returning to the K League 1 summit midweek, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors welcome a fifth-placed Sangju Sangmu to Jeonju in the hopes of claiming another victory to further their stay at the top. With key players returning after absences in the previous round, the reigning champions should be in good shape to face the threat posed by the division's military outfit.

Last Time Out

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors were made to work hard for their three points in midweek, after first giving up a lead to Gangwon FC only to fight back from behind and claim victory. Proceedings got off to the best possible start when Bernie Ibini won a header for Moon Seon-min to convert after just five minutes played. Moon's initial shot may have been saved but the winger's quick reactions ensured he put away the follow-up. Lee Dong-gook had a chance to double his side's lead from the spot in the twentieth-minute but the captain uncharacteristically blazed his shot high over the bar. The away side were forced to rue that missed opportunity come the interval after two goals in the last five minutes put Gangwon ahead at half-time.

It took Jeonbuk some time to get going in the second half, but the 55th-minute introductions of Lee Seung-gi and Kim Shin-wook seemed to instil some life into the shellshocked side. An equaliser would come from Son Jun-ho who marked his recent call up to the national team by converting a fine cross from Lee Ju-yong. Five minutes later, and a well-delivered pass from Lee Seung-gi found it's way into the path of Moon Seon-min who made no mistake when faced with just the 'keeper to beat. Gangwon did go in search of an equaliser but the away side ultimately held out for a win that would see them head to the league's summit.

Highlights here

Sangju Sangmu hosted a struggling Gyeongnam FC side midweek and will have felt they probably deserved more than a point for their efforts. The military side took the lead in the twentieth minute after striker Park Yong-ji was fouled by the Gyeongnam 'keeper inside the area. Midfielder Yoon Bit-garam ensured the resulting penalty was coolly converted. Shortly after, Sangju goalkeeper Yoon Bo-sang pulled up injured after clashing during a Gyegonanm attack. The 'keeper was deemed unfit and was subsequently substituted. The replacement goalkeeper could not be blamed for Gyeongnam's equaliser, however. Lee Young-jae struck with venom from the edge of the penalty area to bring things back level. Both sides would have chances to level in the second half but ultimately it was a fair result for both sides.

Highlights here

Previous Meetings

The previous meeting between these two sides earlier in the season saw a Jeonbuk side, not in their highest gear admittedly, cruise to a 3-0 victory with little resistance. Goals from Lim Sun-young, Lee Dong-gook and Ricardo Lopes ensured the win, although Jeonbuk did lose Son Jun-ho with twelve minutes to spare after he received his second yellow of the game.

Team News

Jeonbuk come into this match bolstered by the return of Lee Yong, Shin Hyung-min and Ricardo Lopes who were all unavailable midweek through suspension. They will be without Son Jun-ho however who collected his third booking of the season. In terms of injuries, the club is still dealing with the lengthy lay-offs of centre-back Choi Bo-kyung and striker Adriano, two positions that the manager is rumoured to be looking for additional reinforcements during the summer window, with Korean international centre-back and former Jeonbuk player Kwon Kyung-won looking fairly certain to join from Tianjin Tianhai.

Jeonbuk will also be sporting their annual military kit for this fixture to commemorate Korea's memorial day on June 6th. In recent years, the club's traditional military edition kits have sold well and early reaction to this year's uniform seems as if it will be of no exception.


Sangju Sangmu come into this match with no suspensions to concern themselves with, meaning manager Kim Tae-wan should have close to a full strength squad to select from. The manager will likely be without first-choice goalkeeper Yoon Bo-sang who was stretchered off in the team's previous match and will likely be replaced by Kwon Tae-ahn, currently on loan from FC Anyang.

The Adversary

Sangju Sangmu have been in reasonable form since their 3-0 defeat to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, winning three of their six matches and drawing one to see them hold on to fifth place. Sangju are still performing above expectations in the league, even if their form has fluctuated somewhat since their early rounds.

This is in large part down to Yoon Bit-garam. The creative midfielder has been one of the highlights of the side during his tenure since joining at the start of 2018 and it is a worry how Sangju may deal without his presence when he leaves this Autumn and returns to his parent club Jeju United. The midfielder has scored three goals this season and one assist, but was influential in their campaign for survival, scoring the goal that kept the side up.

Another player who has been influential this campaign is defender Kim Kyeong-jae, with the palyer currently boasting the most interceptions in the division along will fellow teammate and defensive midfielder Lee Gyu-seong in fifth. Both will be vital if the visitors are going to stop Jeonbuk's talented attacking players.

Prediction

With a far stronger squad to select from than midweek, it is difficult to look beyond Jeonbuk continuing their winning run and furthering their stay at the top of the summit. Ricardo Lopes, Kim Shin-wook and Lee Seung-gi seem likely to be restored to the lineup, whilst the return of defensive midfielder Shin Hyung-min and right-back Lee Yong will bolster the defence sufficiently. With no midweek match to worry about after this game, there would be no reason to hold players back other than for fitness concerns. Sangju Sangmu have improved their form of late, and may pose more of a test than they did earlier in the season when these sides last faced, but they will likely not have enough to keep out Jeonbuk on Sunday evening.

Predicted Score: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2-0 Sangju Sangmu

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