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Preview: Jeju United vs Seongnam FC

Preview: Jeju United vs Seongnam FC K League 1 Round 16
The international break did very little to change Jeju United's fortunes, as they crashed out against Sangju Sangmu last weekend, conceding four times in the first half.  Seongnam fared a bit better, securing a point at home against Gyeongnam despite being reduced to ten men.  The last time the two sides met in the league it finished as a scoreless draw.  Will it be more disappointment for the islanders on Friday night, or will they manage to salvage a result?  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the match.

Match: Jeju United vs Seongnam FC
Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Friday June 21st, 2019; 19:30 KST

Last Time Out

Sangju Sangmu 4-2 Jeju United

Jeju played perhaps their worst half of football all season last Sunday night as Sangju were able to put four past them in the first half, leaving the end match result in little doubt even before the referee's whistle had blown for halftime.  

The onslaught was already underway after only eight minutes, as Kim Young-bin put the home side up after only nine minutes.  He latched on to a cross from the right from Kim Min-woo to head home from close range after the initial corner attempt had been sent back out to the flank.  It was two just thirteen minutes later as Kim Min-woo himself added his name to the score sheet.  He made a run down the left and created enough space between himself and the defender to take an attempt at goal.  His effort was hard and low, and angled well towards the post, out of the reach of Lee Chang-keun.

Former Jeju man Yoon Bit-garam would add a third for the military men ten minutes thereafter.  Lee Tae-hee played a low ball across the face of the sixteen, and Yoon took advantage of an effective dummy from Park Yong-ji, firing into the roof of the net from outside the area virtually uncontested.  Park made it four from the spot on 36 minutes after he was pushed to ground by Kim Won-il just inside the box.

Magno would pull a goal back via a penalty of his own three minutes later, and Jeju would also add another in the second half through Lee Chang-min on 72 minutes, but it wasn't nearly enough, as Sangju's run in the top half received another burst of steam, while Jeju are resigned to the bottom of the table in the playoff relegation spot.

Highlights: here

Seongnam FC 1-1 Gyeongnam FC

It was a cagey affair between the two sides, as Seongnam spent a good portion of the first half on the front foot but were not able to go into the lead.  Things would take a turn, however, when Kim Dong-jun was given a straight red card for a foul on Kim Seung-jun outside the area midway through the first half.  Jeon Jong-hyeok would have to make a lunging save from the insuing free kick, and it was the best chance of the half for either side, but they would go to the break without a change in the score line.

Luc Castaignos would give Gyeongnam the lead five minutes into the second half after he got a boot to a cross from the left flank, touching the ball past Jeon.  Despite their efforts to increase their advantage, Gyeongnam couldn't pad their lead, and almost conceded just over a half hour into the second half, but Seo Bo-min's free kick was touched over the bar by Lee Bum-soo.  

Seongnam would continue to venture forward and were rewarded very late on as Eder snatched a point for the home side late in injury time thanks to a spot kick.  The result moves them to fifteen points on the season, five more than their opponents on Friday night.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

The teams have met only once this season, back in April, and it ended in a 1-1 draw.  Tiago put Jeju ahead after 31 minutes, but Mathias Coureur leveled proceedings on the hour mark.  Seongnam enjoyed extended spells of pressure and could have well come away with all three points, but were not able to break through for the win.

Through the years, Seongnam has been a difficult opponent for Jeju, and with the islanders' form still leaving a lot to be desired, it could be a long night for them if they continue to stay with three men in the back.

Team News

Jeju were without the services of Costa Rican international Elias Aguilar who was called up by his country for the Gold Cup.  He scored from a free kick in a 4-0 victory over Nicaragua in their first group match.  They have two matches remaining in the group stage against Bermuda and Haiti, and are clear favorites to progress to the knockouts.

How Jeju will adjust without one of their star players remains to be seen, but his absence in midfield was definitely felt as Jeju struggled to create chances in the first half against Sangju and were exposed in the middle third on several occasions.

Kim Won-il in particular did not have a good outing, as he was guilty of conceding the penalty for Sangju's fourth.  His defensive liabilities are once again starting to show after he was given a chance when Choi took over the club. 

Jeju are fortunate not to have any suspensions going into the match, and, if Choi Yun-kyum decides to go to four at the back, it should give them a better chance at getting a result, but everything will be dependent on the choice of tactics.

Seongnam will be without their first choice 'keeper Kim Dong-jun because of the straight red against Gyeongnam last week.  It will be his first of a two match ban.  The visitors will also be without the services of striker Choe Byeong-chan, who picked up his third yellow card of the season last week.

Jeju will still have to contend with the likes of Seo Bo-min in the midfield who is a noted set piece specialist for the club and Eder up front.  Mathias Coureur was on the bench last week and did not play, but if he gets into the lineup either in the starting eleven or as a substitute, he will give them an added attacking presence in the final third.

The Adversary

Eder's 90th minute penalty kick earned the Magpies a draw at home to Gyeongnam last time out.
Seongnam themselves have been struggling of late, suffering some heavy defeats at the hands of the league's elite in recent times.  Their last win in the league came at the end of April away to Ulsan when they won 1-0 thanks to a tally from Gong Min-hyun.

Since then, they have managed four points from their last eight matches.  In that span, they lost to Ulsan by a count of 4-1 and FC Seoul by a final of 3-1.  When they play well defensively, they are a tough side to break down, but if their opposition can find a way through, they can be had.  Whether Jeju will be successful against them is another matter, as Friday's hosts are lacking chemistry even halfway into the regular campaign.

As already mentioned, Seongnam have had a degree of success in this head to head, so they will look to build on their psychological advantage against Jeju and secure a result.

Prediction

Jeju will be hard pressed to get a result at home based on last week's performance.  Without Aguilar in midfield, they look disorganized and there is a lack of direction in their play.  Conceding four against Sangju in the first half is just another example of what a miserable season it has been on the island.  Tactically, they look out of sorts, and really need to consider an extra body in the back if they are going to keep their defensive shape and develop some consistency moving forward.

Seongnam will be buoyed by last week's result in the sense that they were able to hold Gyeongnam at bay after going behind, and subsequently able to take a point at the death with the last second penalty.  Despite being the road team, they just may be able to inch out a win in the end.

Prediction: Jeju United 0-1 Seongnam FC

 

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