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Preview: Seoul E-Land vs Jeonnam Dragons

We return to K League 2 life this weekend after what seemed like a very lengthy international break. Monday will see Seoul E-Land take on fellow strugglers Jeonnam Dragons in a bottom of the table clash. Both teams have had rather flat campaigns so far, and desperately need to start picking up points. Can the leopards finally get a by now vital win or will Jeonnam make the gap even further between the two sides and leave the capital club dead in the water?

Overview

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Via Soccerway

Last time out

The last fixture was a derby of sorts for E-Land as Asan Mugunghwa made the short journey to Cheonan Stadium. Seoul can proudly boast about the attendance that day as it was the highest in club history with 4,752 paying to see the side. That, however, was where all the good news stopped. Seoul were up against last years champions, and Asan failed to disappoint on the road.

Asan didn't exactly come out strong, and the recurring theme of E-Land actually being the better side showed through to start the match as they piled on pressure and looked more confident at the back. Any danger was quickly dealt with, and they had no shame in kicking the ball out of play if there was any heavy Asan presence. The Leopard's luck, as always, ran out in the 39th minute as Lee Myung-joo put Asan one up. The half time score suggested that Asan were the better side, yet Seoul actually had the better of the chances.

The second half saw Seoul constantly pushing for an equalizer, taking shots with a few clear cut chances that just didn't come off. The final nail in the coffin for the capital club was in the 90th minute as a heavily attacking presence from the home side left them wide open at the back. A well-worked counter-attack from Asan made it 2-0 courtesy of Song Hwang-yeong. It has now been four losses in a row for the Leopards (including FA Cup), and they appear nowhere near the end of this treacherous run.

Full Time: Seoul E-Land 0-2 Asan Mugunghwa



The Dragons actually managed to fair the same fate at the hands of Ansan Greeners in the last round of K League 2. Proceedings got underway in the 21st minute as an own goal by Kim Gyeong-min put the Green Wolves ahead. Park Jin-sub later doubled Ansan's lead in the second minute of injury time, and Jeonnam had a long way to come back in the last 45.

The second half saw more of the same from Ansan however, as they came flying out of the blocks and made it 3-0 only seven minutes into the restart. Kim Jin-wuk was the man on the scoreboard, and the game was done and dusted with still a lot of time left to play. Jeonnam did manage a consolation goal in the 90th minute by Lee Ji-nam, but it was too little too late and Ansan came away with all three points.

Full Time: Jeonnam Dragons 1-3 Ansan Greeners

Previous Meetings

These two sides met earlier in the season and played out an entertaining game in which Jeonnam took the lead early on via Kim Young-uk in the 3rd minute. Seoul have made an unfortunate habit of conceding early goals, and it was no different the last time these teams squared off. The Leopards played okay in the game, but the possession and chances mostly fell to Jeonnam.

However, just when the home team thought they came away with the victory, Wesley Alex popped up at the death and headed the ball into the back of the Dragon's net. A game where points were shared between both teams, it could be said that Seoul were lucky to come away with anything at all.

Full Time: Jeonnam Dragons 1-1 Seoul E-Land

[READ: Official K League 2 Round 15 Preview]

Team News

Seoul E-Land went with a 4-3-3 formation in the game against Asan Mugunghwa, with youngster Kwan Gi-pyo keeping his position up top. The Korean was recently called up to the U-22 training camp and has shown great promise for E-Land this year.

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The formation of Seoul E-Land in Round 14 of the 2019 K League 2 season against Asan Mugunhwa. Photo Credit (www.facebook.com/seouleland)
Another good performance came from Duarte in the tie. He was quick on the ball and did some nice long passes linking the ball into a threatening position. In the middle of the pitch, Kim Min-gyun got stuck in against the former military side. Masuda was also present and helped the flow of play. In defense, Kim Dong-cheol has really started to shoe in for the absent Ahn Ji-ho, and has been the first pick in the back for a number of games. The defender is strong and isn't afraid to work for the ball if Seoul loses possession.

One obvious name absent from the team in the last two fixtures is Douglas Coutinho. The Brazilian scored in his last outing, but has looked a bit sluggish to say the least. Perhaps he is carrying a slight injury and was playing through. Fans will hope to see him back in the team, and in-form very soon.

The Adversary

Jeonnam being off the bottom of the table has more to do with Seoul being poor than it does with the Dragons being decent. The 2-1 win against Daejeon in Round 12 offered a glimmer of hope in an otherwise truly break stretch of games that has not only seen Jeonnam lose five of six, but also get outscored 11-4 and held scoreless three times. The lack of a true goalscoring threat has haunted Jeonnam all season, and will likely be an issue Monday night as well. Manager Fabiano Soares has tried to counter this by lining his men up in a 4-3-3 most nights and attempting to spread the ball around. The problem with this is the Dragons' inability to complete passes regularly with just 77% finding their mark this season. With that in mind, and considering Jeonnam had less than 40% possession in two of their three wins, it may be best for the Dragons to allow Seoul to keep the ball and exploit the gaps the E-Land defense has opened so many times when moving forward. As has been the case all year, look for Kim Young-wook to be vital in that transition and perhaps even put the ball into the back of the net on his own.

- Ryan Walters

Who To Watch

Yet to score in an E-Land shirt, Robson Carlos Duarte has been waiting patiently for his time to come. In recent weeks, his performance has gradually built and he is starting to pile on real pressure for his opponents. If he can be more instinctive on the ball, and take fewer touches in promising positions, he could well get on the scoresheet within the next few games. Seoul have a midfield who can supply him well with a good ball in, and his speed continues to get him into open positions. If all these factors can click on Monday, we could see a very close game between the two sides. The Brazilian needs more game time though, and management constantly takes him off early into the second half. Let the forward play and see what he can produce in a full 90 minutes.

Prediction

It's very difficult. Seoul are just not winning, but they are playing some okay football. I have said it for the past month now, Seoul plays amazingly for the first half hour, then drop off the face of the earth. However, the game against Asan was even more painful as they played a lot better for the full 90. That said, Asan were clinical in their chances and it only took two to win the game.

Seoul needs to push forward to score, but it is also important to stay defensively conscious for the entire game. This game is vital in trying to catch up to the rest of the pack, and it might not be the best football this weekend, but the stakes are certainly high for both sides.

Seoul E-Land 1-2 Jeonnam Dragons

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