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Preview: Gyeongnam FC vs Ulsan Hyundai

K League 1 Preview: Gyeongnam FC vs Ulsan Hyundai

Half of the 2019 K League season has passed and Gyeongnam FC remains in the bottom of the lower split, contrary to expectations early in the season. It is not wrong to suggest that the Reds are having one of their worst ever seasons. Tuesday evening sees them welcome title-challengers Ulsan Hyundai in what will be yet another difficult task for the home side. Can Gyeongnam somehow find a result against difficult opposition and get their season back on track?

Last Time Out

Daegu FC 1-1 Gyeongnam FC
It was the match of Cesinha, by Cesinha, for Cesinha; yet Daegu were not victorious come full-time. On the other hand, Gyeongnam, which recently earned good results against Daegu, collected a point at the DGB Park. The visiting team used a 3-5-2 formation instead of their usual 4-4-2 formation.

Early in the game, Daegu's offence, centred on Cesinha, was very powerful. In the 24th minute, Daegu got a foul from a good spot, and K League's top free kicker Cesinha took a shot but failed to score with a slight miss. On the other hand, Gyeongnam’s counterattack showed no threat at all, and Woo Joosung's mid-range shot was also blocked by Jo Hyeonwoo. The home team kept attacking hard to score and at the centre was Cesinha. In the 43rd minute, Cesinha's powerful mid-range shot came off the crossbar, putting Gyeongnam FC on edge, ending the first half.

At the start of the second half, Cesinha finally scored. Seeing goalkeeper Lee Bumsoo coming forward, the Brazilian scored on a shot that chipped the goalkeeper. It was a goal that highlighted Cesinha's calmness. Sky Blues didn't miss this momentum and moved aggressively to score even more. The visiting team showed frequent attempts at mid-range shots as the match progressed frustratingly. In the 68th minute, the Red's first shot inside the penalty box led to a goal, equalising the score. In the 71st minute, Kim Daewon's shot came off the post, missing an opportunity for Daegu to get ahead. In the 89th minute, Gyeongnam’s super-sub Bae Kijong's powerful shot was blocked by Jo Hyeonwoo, and just before the end, the game ended with Kim Daewon being sent off due to a horrible tackle.

Highlights: here

Ulsan Hyundai 1-0 Incheon United
Ulsan welcomed Incheon, the lowest-ranked team in the league, and, unfortunately for Incheon, they failed to obtain a point once more. Ulsan attacked strongly from the beginning, as expected, but failed to get past the goalkeeper Lee Taehui. Rather, Incheon aimed to attack Ulsan through a quick counter, with Jung Hoonsung's mid-range shot bouncing off the crossbar strongly in the 26th minute. Junior was put in place of Lee Donggyeong in the 28th minute. Junior showed flashes of his quality as soon as he came in, putting Incheon defenders in troubling positions through their front-line pressure. However, with Lee Taehui's several saves, the first half ended in a 0-0 draw.

From the beginning of the second half, Joo Jongdae's shot came off the post. The home team’s constant offence was blocked by the goalkeeper saves and defenders’ body. Ulsan continued to show good performances but showed a lack of finishing. In the 85th minute, Junior's shot finally went past Lee Taehui, and Ulsan finished the match with a victory by earning three points.

Previous Meetings

Ulsan won this season's showdown with a 2-0 win, and last season, Ulsan had one win and three draws against the Reds. Looking at further past records, it was in 2012 that Gyeongnam last recorded a victory over Ulsan Hyundai. In other words, it seems obvious that Ulsan has an overwhelming record against Gyeongnam. Furthermore, the Changwon based team has not done well against Ulsan at home. The Reds have three wins, three draws and seven losses at home against Ulsan.

Team News

Could it be worse? Jordon Mutch, who led Gyeongnam's midfielder with Kunimoto, left the team this week through termination of his contract. Luc Castaignos is again on the injured list and is unable to play against Ulsan, whilst Kim Junbeom is also injured and cannot play. Additionally, Choi Jaesoo and Ko Kyungmin are not allowed to play against Ulsan due to accumulated bookings. It seems that a draw for Gyeongnam FC would be ideal, considering that their next match after Ulsan Hyundai is an away match against Gangwon FC. The match will probably have to be led by veteran players such as Bae Kijong and Kwak Taehwi.

In the case of the away team, unlike Gyeongnam, none of Ulsan’s players will miss the match due to accumulated warnings. Also, the motivation of the players will be clear as they can move up to the top of the league if they win the game. If the team is held to a draw in this match, Ulsan will continue to fight Jeonbuk in the standings in their next match.

What To Watch

The most important point of this match is to watch manager Kim Jongboo try to overcome this crisis tactically. Since Kim’s tactical core players are almost all out with the injuries and accumulated warnings, veteran players' experience, Kim Seungjun and Kim Hyogi will be heavily relied upon.

For Ulsan, watching their spectacular attacking talent will be key. Ulsan possesses lots of players who can score from any position such as Kim Bokyung, Junior and Kim Insung. Also, Ulsan is a strong team which has scored 30 goals in 18 matches this season. Given that Gyeongnam has the weakest defence with 35 conceded goals in the league, along with Jeju United, many goal-scoring opportunities may well be available if Ulsan succeeds in scoring an early goal.


It will be a tough game for Gyeongnam. Since Jordon Mutch terminated his contract, Gyeongnam are in urgent need of strengthening their midfield. Also, Luc Castaignos will not play against Ulsan as manager Kim Jongboo announced; and Kim Junbeom is also out of the game with an injury in the last game.

Ulsan, on the other hand, are the second-ranked team in the league. Although they haven't shown an overwhelming performance in recent matches, Gyeongnam will face lots of problems. Considering that the match after Gyeongnam is Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, Ulsan may start with several rotated members, but they will outrun Gyeongnam easily enough.

Predicted Score: Gyeongnam FC 1-3 Ulsan Hyundai

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