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Preview: Seongnam FC v Gyeongnam FC

Preview: Seongnam FC vs Gyeongnam FC K League 1 Round 15
K League is back this weekend following the international break and the struggling Magpie's will be facing off against another struggling team, Gyeongnam FC. Seongnam entered the break with a prime opportunity to end their goal scoring woes against Incheon United but could only walk away with a scoreless draw. This week they are provided yet another opportunity to build some offensive momentum against one of the K League's weakest defenses. Gyeongnam for their part will be facing the league's second lowest scoring team and are hoping to come away with a result and separate themselves from the current 3-way tie at the bottom of the table. 

Last Time Out

Last time out Seongnam had a great opportunity to enter the international break on a positive note up against last place Incheon United but could only come away with a 1-1 draw and one point on the table.

The match played out a lot like Seongnam's season. Seongnam's defense was strong as it has been for most of the season allowing only five shots (and only two of them on target). However against a team with as weak an offense as Incheon this is somewhat to be expected. The real question entering this match was would the Magpie offense finally wake up?

After looking at the 0-0 scoreline one might be inclined to immediately answer no however Seongnam's offense did take control of this match with nearly 60% possession and 12 shots (six on target). There were quite a few great opportunities were created up front including a couple that should have been finished by the men up front Eder and Mathias. Its also worth mentioning the effort given by the Incheon keeper who made a few fantastic saves to keep Seongnam off the board.

But at the end of the day Seongnam failed to score against the league's weakest team and that was not how they wanted to enter the international break.

Gyeongnam on the other hand entered the break with a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to a strong FC Seoul side. It was a heartbreaking loss for Gyeongnam who tied the match in the 90th minute to see the point slip away in added time when Seoul netted the game-winner.

Previous Meetings

The last time these two teams met was in Gyeongnam for the season opener last March where Gyeongnam won match 2-1. It was a back and forth game in the first half but Seongnam's defense still wasn't yet at the form we have become used to seeing them at and conceded two goals in the second half, both within 15 minutes of each other. The Magpies were able to put one on the board in the 84th minute which put Gyeongnam's defense somewhat on edge but they were able to hold off the Magpie's final attacks and claim the victory.

Before that they both played in the K League 2 in 2017 where Gyeongnam went undefeated in four matches with three victories and one draw.

Team News.

Seongnam can take some pride in midfielder Park Tae-jun who, along with the rest of the Korea Men's National U-20 team, will be at the World Cup final this weekend. Park Tae-jun, while not consistently starting, has started one match and come on as a substitute in two others for a total accumulated time of 110 minutes.

With no suspensions Seongnam will have the majority of their entire roster available for this weekend's match. However the number of players now in yellow card jeopardy is at three. Choi Byeong-chan, Gong Min-hyun and Kim Hyun-sung are all in danger of facing a one-game suspension.

The Adversary

Gyeongnam FC had nearly two weeks off due to the national team match, with time to
reorganize. This rest will have been very important considering the large needing to bring home the victory, reminiscing about the 2-1 win at home against the
Magpies in the opening game game of the season. Although the Reds have not been producing good results in their away games, they will be expected to bounce back following plenty of rest.

Seongnam is ranked 9th in the league with a four-points lead over the Reds, while Gyeongnam is ranked 10th in the league with 10 points. In this match, the Reds will still remain as 10th in the league table even if they win. However, Jeju and Incheon also have 10 points each, so Gyeongnam will be desperate to defend their 10th place by picking up three points on Saturday. If the Reds lose this game, they could
go straight down to the bottom of the league table.

Striker Luc Castaignos has returned and Jordon Mutch appears to have
recovered from an injury. However, Kunimoto is still injured, and Negueba is out of the
season therefore the visiting team will not be able to face Magpies with their full strength. Fortunately, for the Reds their next league game is a full week after their match against Seongnam and so Gyeongnam will be able push hard for the win.

Manager Kim Jongboo will probably use a 4-4-2 formation, yet there will be some
minor changes to the starting lineup; Luc Castaignos and Kim Seung-joon will
lead the attack, and Jordon Mutch will be the key player in the midfield with Ko Kyung-min. Lastly, Lee Kwang Seon and Yeo Sung Hae, will probably be in charge of the defense.

By Chris Jun Yong Park

Who To Watch

This week the spotlight is back on Eder who played up front along with Mathias against Incheon and though he couldn't finish had a few close chances. Both Eder is tied with both Mathias and recent departure Kim Min-hyeok (a player who left for military duties after round eight) for the team lead in goals scored with two each.

The truth is that Seongnam has no real striker up front and it's become evident that if this offense is going to turn it around Eder will need to step up and start scoring goals. Gyeongnam have allowed the most goals this season at a whopping 32. That's just over two goals per game and 10 more than last place Incheon. Seongnam need to take advantage of this team's weak defense and the person with the best ability to do so is Eder.


Seongnam's offense has to click eventually. (They have scored 12 goals in 15 matches) and against the league's worst defense they have their best chance. I expect the team to come off well rested and motivated with a strong attack. If they can set up chances well especially with Eder and/or Mathias up front they have a good chance to score some goals and walk away with three points.

Predicted Score: Seongnam FC 3-1 Gyeongnam FC

See also: K League 1 Round 15 Preview

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