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Preview: Jeju United vs Daegu FC

Preview: Jeju United vs Daegu FC K League 1 Round 18
Jeju United are officially in last place in K League 1 going into Saturday night's encounter with Daegu FC.  Another loss last time out, this time against Seongnam FC, has put them at the root of the pecking order in the top flight with relegation looking like a very realistic possibility in 2019.  Daegu, meanwhile, came up short against FC Seoul last weekend at home and will be looking to get back in the win column against a team they have already beaten this season.  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the match.

Match: Jeju United vs Daegu FC
Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Saturday June 29th, 2019; 19:00 KST

Last Time Out

Jeju United 1-2 Seongnam FC

Jeju once again did not put in a solid performance against Seongnam last weekend.  They failed to register a single attempt at goal in the first half and went behind just past the hour mark when Eder was given all kinds of time and space to have an effort at goal from some ways out.  His shot clipped the underside of the crossbar on the way into the back of the net and it looked like Jeju were ready to call it a night.  How the Brazilian was given so much real estate in front of him is a perfect example of why the islanders cannot continue to play three defenders in the back, as they don't have the personnel to cover that kind of ground on a consistent basis.  It is perhaps the number one reason why Jeju's back line is the worst in the league at the current time, and things really need to change if there is going to be anything left to save this season.

One bright spot for United has been Lee Chang-min, and he leveled the match in the 75th minute with a cracker of his own from outside the box.  He is one of the few Jeju players who has not been shy to have a crack at opponents' goals this season, and he did it once again with yet another beautiful strike to restore parity between the sides.

It would not last long, however, as Kim Hyun-sung scored what turned out to be the winner only five minutes later when he volleyed first time from a cross in from the right, striking his shot hard and low past Lee Chang-keun.  The loss leaves Jeju in last place, and in a position they have never found themselves before - with the possibility of dropping down a division for the first time in team history.

Highlights: here

Daegu FC 1-2 FC Seoul

A pair of first half goals from Ikromjon Alibaev and Jeong Hyeon-cheol were enough for third-placed FC Seoul to see off Daegu FC, who entered the match just a spot below them going into the match last Saturday.  

The absence of Edgar makes Daegu look like a different team, as the Sky Blues started with three up top, with Jung Seung-won playing in behind Cesinha and Kim Dae-won.  Daegu enjoyed much more of the possession and had several more attempts at goal and shots on target, but they couldn't make their opportunities count to come away with points.

After dominating the first half hour of the match, it was Seoul who would hit the front thanks to a magnificent strike from Alibaev, who found himself in space outside the box, and his shot finished in the top of the net.  It would be two just minutes later, when Jeong converted Osmar's glancing header from close range and the capital club went to the break with a two goal cushion.

Hwang Soon-min would get one back for the hosts in the early stages of the second half, tapping in from close range after Cesinha was released into attack following a turnover in possession.  Daegu could have pulled level on 74 minutes from a corner, but Jeong Tae-wook's shot from the top of the six yard box hit the crossbar and stayed out.  Cesinha also had a goal called back for offside in the second half, thus, the hosts could feel a bit hard done by not having come away from the match with at least a point.

FC Seoul was saved, literally, in the match by 'keeper Yu Sang-hun, who made several saves to deny the hosts from turning the score line in their favor.  In the end, Seoul was able to hold on for all three points, and have now moved up to second, level on points with Jeonbuk, but behind the leaders on goal difference.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

Jeju and Daegu have met already once this season, in Round 2, the opening match of the season at DGB Arena, which the home team on the day won by a score of 2-0, thanks to goals from Kim Dae-won and Edgar.  Daegu was very much the dominant team on the day and were full measure for the win.

They also had a lot of success against Jeju last season, winning two of three overall, including two consecutive wins on the road after Jeju had won the first meeting between the two in April.  The home team lost all three matches last year, meaning that Daegu not only has an edge based on form, but also in terms of the pattern of results going back to 2018.

Team News

With Costa Rica progressing to the knockout stages of the Gold Cup, it means that Elias Aguilar will continue to be unavailable for the islanders for the time being.  His absence was severely felt last Friday night, as Jeju struggled mightily to create anything in the middle of the park in the first half.

Choi Yun-kyum looked quite disinterested for long stretches during the match, choosing to remain seated in the dugout rather than shouting instructions to his players on the touchline.  Could it mean that the season is already lost for Jeju?  The team is in a serious crisis of form going back to the very beginning of the season, and despite changes at the club with the appointment of the former Jeju defender, things have not taken a turn in a more positive direction.

It is also curious as to why Kim Ho-nam did not start against Seongnam last week.  He did come on as a substitute at the beginning of the second half, but he is a very important player and needs to start at all costs when healthy.  As a player who has worn the armband for the club this season, there is no questioning his value to what has been a poor team overall this season despite efforts to improve the squad in the off-season.

It seems however that Jeju have found a good prospect in Seo Jin-su who signed on as a rookie over the winter.  He made his season debut against Seongnam, and was quite active in attack.  He would have had a late equalizer had it not been called back for offside.  With Jeju nowhere near being in a position to challenge for anything meaningful, he could well get much more opportunities to play in the coming months.

Finally, Jung Woo-jae came on as a substitute playing for Jeju's reserves against Suwon FC earlier in the week says Ross Davis, hinting that he may be ready to face his former club this weekend.  If he does play, it would be his first action for Jeju since the match against Incheon United on May 28th when he went off injured in the 37th minute with a rib complaint.  Lee Eun-beom and Im Chan-ul may also be available as well.

There are no suspensions for the club, so it remains to be see if Choi will field the best possible eleven or if he will continue to rotate as he has done quite often recently.

For Daegu, their loss at home last weekend to FC Seoul was their first at their new stadium.  Edgar did not feature for them last weekend after succumbing to injury against Gangwon.  He has officially been put on the injury list and will miss the next three weeks with a break in his right shoulder according to our Muyeol Jung.  Tsubasa Nishi had knee surgery a few days ago and will undergo a long period of rehabilitation, meaning he is lost for the remainder of the season.  Hong Jung-woon suffered an ACL tear in his left knee in the loss to Seoul last week, meaning he will also be out for an extended period of time, but the thought is that his 2019 campaign is also done.

Daegu will now have to add players in the summer transfer window as they are thin up top at the moment, so how Andre approaches the situation over the next month or so will have a direct impact on how they finish the season.

There are no suspensions in the team, so in all likelihood, they will line up in the same 3-4-1-2 alignment as last week with the same starting eleven. meaning that Cesinha and Kim Dae-won will partner up top with Jung Seung-won sitting in behind them as an attacking midfielder.  They will deploy three in the back with Kim Woo-seok, Jeong Tae-wook and Park Byung-hyun and four in the middle with Hwang Soon-min, Ryu Jae-moon, Han Hee-hoon and Kim Jun-yeop.

The Adversary


Daegu come into the match badly hobbled, but still have a lineup capable of getting points against a Jeju side that has still only won twice all year.  Prior to their loss last week, they had been on a four match unbeaten streak, which was highlighted by a 2-0 away win against Pohang at the Steelyard at the beginning of June.

Edgar scored a late brace in that match, finding the net with strikes just three minutes apart to give the Sky Blues all three points from the match.  How the club is going to replace his production remains to be seen, but Kim Dae-won and Cesinha have shown that they have good chemistry and should be able to function well enough together in attack.

If there is any good news to consider at the moment, it is that Daegu have a reasonable schedule in July, with the standout fixtures being Jeonbuk at home and a potentially tricky away test to Sangju.  Other than that, the remaining three matches look at least winnable on paper, and, if there are any new reinforcements to join the fold in the near future, it should help to alleviate some of the pressure on the rest of the team to perform with some key names now gone for the rest of the year.

Prediction

Both teams need a result from the match for different reasons.  Jeju surely would not like to make a habit of occupying the bottom of the table, while Daegu would like to stay within at least touching distance of the top three for the time being as it would guarantee them a place in the ACL for next season.

Overall, Daegu have the better squad and of course better results of late, so they will have enough to get over the line in this one.

Predicted Score: Jeju United 0-2 Daegu FC

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