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Preview: Pohang Steelers vs FC Seoul

Preview: Pohang Steelers vs FC Seoul K League 1 Round 13
Looking to keep up with the league leaders, FC Seoul make the trip to the East Coast to take on a resurgent Pohang Steelers. Seoul sit just two points behind Pohang's East Coast Derby rivals Ulsan Hyundai whilst the Steelers, after four straight wins, find themselves in sixth heading into Saturday's K League 1 Round 13 match.

Overview

via Soccerway

Last Time Out

Gyeongnam FC 1-2 Pohang Steelers 

Pohang extended their winning streak to four matches thanks to a 2-1 away victory over Gyeongnam. Wanderson nodded the Steelers in front on 26 minutes, Lee Jinhyun with the cross. However, 11 minutes after and the hosts were level, former Ulsan Hyundai striker Kim Seungjun restoring parity.

But, it turned out to be Pohang's day when Wanderson added his and the Steelers' second 12 minutes from time, this time Kim Seungdae on hand to provide the assist.

Highlights: here

Sangju Sangmu 1-3 FC Seoul

A brace from Aleksandar Pešić, and a first goal in K League for Ikromjon Alibaev, gave FC Seoul a 3-1 away win against Sangju Sangmu last Sunday night. Pešić broke the deadlock with a glancing header inside the penalty box, guiding home Ko Kwangmin's cross from the left.

However, proving to be a thorn in the side of FC Seoul once again, Park Yongji levelled for the hosts just five minutes later, Lee Taehee with the assist. On 42 minutes, though, Seoul had their noses in front once amore - Ikromjon Alibaev showing great determination to latch onto a loose ball before finding the far corner with a half volley. With 12 minutes left Pešić fired in a third, a sumptuous left-footed volley from outside the area which left goalkeeper Yoon Bosang rooted to the spot.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Saturday's encounter will be the reverse fixture of the 2019 season opener at Sangam where FC Seoul picked up a comfortable 2-0 win. A brace from centre back Hwang Hyunsoo got Choi Yongsoo's side off to the perfect start against a somewhat out-of-sorts Steelers side.

From the three meetings in 2018 FC Seoul picked up two victories, Pohang one. The first of Seoul's victories was a 2-1 home win in April thanks to a Go Yohan brace after Kim Seungdae had given the Steelers an early lead. At the Steel Yard in July last year Seoul ran away 3-0 winners with goals from Go Yohan, Kim Wongyun and Evandro. However, the Steelers were able to return from the capital with all three points when these two sides met in August thanks to a Yang Hanbin own goal.

Overall, Pohang Steelers and FC Seoul have met on 55 previous occasions with FC Seoul picking up 25 wins to Pohang's 18 and 12 draws. At the Steel Yard, there have been 24 previous encounters - Seoul have eight wins to Pohang's six and four stalemates.

Team News

FC Seoul will continue to be without Cho Youngwook due to the 19 year-old's inclusion in the Korea squad ahead of the U20 World Cup in Poland. Choi Yongsoo won't have any players ruled out through suspension but Ko Kwangmin is just a scribble in the referees notebook from a one-match ban. Elsewhere, former skipper Ha Daesung remains a major doubt with a calf injury.

FC Seoul lineup versus Sangju Sangmu, K League 1 Round 12

The Adversary



Pohang Steelers began the new season like a team in trouble, losing their first two matches and, prior to Choi Soonho's departure, struggled to put together a sequence of results. However, after losing three on the spin, and the appointed of Kim Gidong as manager, Pohang have shot up to sixth in the K League 1 table after four wins in the trot. Said run began on a windy and rainy Friday night at the Steel Yard where Coach Kim's side struck late to see off the challenge of Suwon Bluewings. The following week saw the Steelers pick up a huge East Coast Derby win against the old enemy Ulsan Hyundai, despite falling behind in the first half.

Over the last four matches, Pohang gaffer Kim Kidong has used two different formations - a 4-2-3-1 and a 4-2-4/4-4-2 with advanced wingers. The former was used for wins over Suwon and Ulsan whilst the latter was utilised in victories over Incheon and Gyeongnam. Youngster Lee Soobin and Jung Jaeyong have been the central midfield partnership, flanked by Wanderson on the left and Lee Jinhyun on the right. Ha Changrae and Jeon Minkwang have been mainstays at the heart of the defence whilst Kim Seungdae has lead the line up front alongside Choi Yongwoo.

Ahead of Saturday's game, Lee Sanggi is back from suspension after picking up two yellow cards in the 1-0 away win over Incheon United. Ha Changrae is one booking away from a one-match ban.

Pohang lineup versus Gyeongnam, K League 1 Round 12

Who To Watch

Pohang Steelers - Wanderson


A brace from Brazilian utility man Wanderson was enough to earn the former Daejeon, Jeju, and Jeonnam man in the K League 1 Best 11 for Round 12 as the MVP. Wanderson, who is in his second stint at the Steel Yard after a spell in 2017, has largely been deployed as a left winger for the Steelers this term.

As well as an 85% rate of passing accuracy overall, 70% of all dribbles have been successful and 70% of passes into the final third have reached their intended destination. However, it's not just his distribution which makes Wanderson one to watch for his defensive work has also been impressive. The 30 year-old is second overall in K League 1 in terms of the number of defensive duels won with 109.

FC Seoul - Osmar


Adding some much-needed stability and composure to the back line, Osmar has slotted right into Choi Yongsoo's starting eleven since his return from Cerezo Osaka. Whether operating as a left-sided centre back in a three, as a holding midfielder, or as was the case against Daegu an advanced midfielder, the Spaniard is merely highlighting what the Sangam faithful were missing last season. Thus far Osmar has a passing accuracy rating of 86%, of which long passes are at 73%. passes into the final third 83%, forward passes 82%, and passes backwards 86%.

Prediction

Seoul have come up against in-form teams like Pohang before this season and, bar Jeonbuk and Ulsan, have largely come out on top. The win over Daegu two rounds ago was a big of a test as any yet, following a 2-1 victory, Choi Yongsoo's men showed their resilience and that they are serious contenders for an ACL place. The same will be said if the capital club come out on top this Saturday; Pohang have won four in a row and will be full of confidence in front of their own fans. But, after Pešić's performance away to Sangju, the Serbian will be keen to keep his spot at the top of the K League 1 scoring charts. Away win.

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