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Preview: Jeju United vs Pohang Steelers

Preview: Jeju United vs Pohang Steelers K League 1 Round 21
Jeju United got their biggest win in a very long time in midweek, doubling up on FC Seoul 4-2 on the strength of a hat-trick from Yun Il-lok who had by far his best performance in a Jeju shirt since arriving in the winter transfer window.  Pohang also picked up three points courtesy of a 1-0 win against Seongnam FC.  Both teams will be looking to build on that momentum come Saturday night.  KLU's Branko Belan has the preview.

Match: Jeju United vs Pohang Steelers
Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Saturday July 13th, 2019; 19:00 KST

Last Time Out

Jeju United 4-2 FC Seoul

Jeju United came away with its biggest win in quite some time defeating FC Seoul by a final of 4-2 on Wednesday night.  The islanders were already two goals up inside the first ten minutes of the match thanks to a quick brace from Yun Il-lok, who cleaned up a rebound from Lee Chang-min's initial shot to score his first, and then took a pass from Seo Jin-su, turned a defender and fired high into the net for his second.

It was a shock start for a team which has had a lot of trouble scoring this season, but for Yun, it was a chance to play against his former team, and he certainly looked as if he wanted to make the most of it.  Newly acquired Nam Jun-jae, the former Incheon Untied captain, made his first start and got his name on the scoresheet in the 37th minute, firing a low shot past Yu Sang-hun in the Seoul goal.  Go Yo-han would find the net for the visitors just minutes before the end of the half to pull one back, but the islanders still looked in control going to the break.

FC Seoul carried much of the play in the second half, and really could have pulled the deficit back to one on a number of occasions, but the Jeju back line held strong.  The match would be put out of reach in the 80th minute when Yun found the net for his third with a strike from distance after Seo Jin-su was once again involved in the buildup.  It was a picture goal for the former FC Seoul player who won the K League with them back in 2016.  Go Yo-han would cut into Jeju's three goal cushion a second time in injury time, but there was only one winner on the night, and Jeju are now three points clear of the bottom and have bumped up to tenth in the table with the result.

Highlights: here

Pohang Steelers 1-0 Seongnam FC

Pohang dominated the first half, both in terms of possession and chances.  They had a very good looking attacking flow about them and really should have been in front by at least a few goals before the break.  They would have been if not for the post saving Seongnam from going behind on two separate occasions.  The visitors showed they really didn't belong on the same pitch with Pohang and were extremely lucky to find themselves level at the break.

Pohang continued to press forward in the second half, and it finally paid off when Stanislav Iljutcenko put them in front on 68 minutes, heading in from Kim Yong-hwan's cross from the right flank.  Seongnam 'keeper Jeon Jeong-hyeok managed to get a hand to the ball, but the best he could do was deflect the attempt into the roof of his own net.

The goal seemed to awaken the visitors some, and they finally made an effort going forward, and could have equalized shortly after going behind, but Eder's close range header was kept out by Kang Hyun-moo.  It would be their best chance of the match as Pohang held the fort defensively until the final whistle.  It took them too long to get out of the gates, and it cost them three points in the end.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

In the first meeting of the two sides this season in Round Six at the Steelyard, it finished all square at the final whistle.  Elias Aguilar scored after twenty minutes to give Jeju the lead, but Pohang would pull level just ten minutes after the break through Lee Seok-hyun.  Pohang looked to be the team in the ascendancy for much of the rest of the match, but they were not able to make a breakthrough to take all three points on the day.

Overall, this head-to-head has been extremely close, with Pohang just edging it with thirteen wins to Jeju's twelve.  Eight matches have ended in a draw.  Traditionally, the matches have tended to be quite low scoring, although when the two teams met in the Championship Round last season, it was very much a back and forth affair, which Jeju ended up winning by a score of 2-1 margin thanks to a match-winning goal from Lee Kwang-seon inside the final ten minutes.

Team News

Hwang Seong-min made his second league start for Jeju against Seoul, and has now appeared a total of three times this season, with two wins and a draw to his credit.  He made several critical saves, including denying

Seo Jin-su has continued his upward progression since being included in the squad.  Lining up alongside Lee Chang-min in an attacking role in midfield seemed to suit him extremely well, as he was able to get forward on a number of occasions and was very dangerous in possession of the ball, assisting on Jeju's first three goals.  He has shown a lot of confidence in his ability and was once again a presence around the net despite not getting on the score sheet.  He could well be on his way to gaining a regular spot in the starting eleven if his excellent play continues.

Nam Jun-jae made a successful debut for the club, scoring Jeju's third goal in the 37th minute.  While he played only the first half against Seoul, he showed that he can be a very effective player on the right side in an attacking position.  He looked very industrious against Seoul, causing the back line more than a few problems, but was taken off at the half because of the yellow card he received shortly after scoring.  Nonetheless, he has already given off an impression that he will be a valuable piece for the team moving forward.

The young faces and recent additions may figure prominently in the summer.  If the midweek match is anything to go by, Jeju may just be ready to turn a corner.  They came out in an attacking formation, and attacked often resulting in a pair of quick goals.  They still need to shore things up in the back, but starting Kim Dong-woo in the center of defence and Jung Woo-jae at left back paid dividends in some key moments.  Kwon Soon-hyung also looked good in a holding role in midfield, and if Jeju make a habit of coming out in the formation as they did against Seoul, it could be the beginning of something special.

The match against Pohang will mark the first time Lee Keun-ho will face the club with whom he made his K League debut.  Yun Illok scored a hat-trick against Seoul (he did not play in the first match between the two teams because of injury).  Will Lee Keun-ho put his name on the score sheet against his former club?  He was among the chances in midweek, so he could be due, although he looks ready to record his first goal for the club based on the performances he has given thus far.

Nam Jun-jae and Park Jin-po were booked in midweek, but there are no players suspended for the weekend.  Elias Aguilar did not play last time out, so he could be inserted into the starting eleven as he is fresh, but it would be best to perhaps not change anything as Choi Yun-kyum's roll of the dice worked out extremely well.

Pohang have no suspensions going into the match against Jeju, and it could serve as a good chance for some of their new signings to get a taste of the K League.  A glance at their starting eleven on Wednesday night suggests they very much went with a rotated lineup, so there is a very good chance that most of the regulars will be back in action for the away trip to Jeju this weekend.

Of interest, Kim Seung-dae had his streak of consecutive matches played snapped at 58, as he was not selected for the squad.  The streak began on November 18th, 2017, and is the fourth longest streak in K League history.

The Adversary


Pohang managed to come away with three points against Seongnam, with the lone goal scorer being newly signed Russian center forward Stanislav Injutcenko, who recently made the switch to the K League on a free transfer from Duisburg in the 2. German Bundesliga, where he scored four goals in 31 appearances last season.  Pohang is hoping his return will be much greater than that of David da Silva, who left the team earlier in the season after scoring only two goals.

Another new face is Aleksandar Palocevic, who came over on loan from CD Nacional in Liga Pro, Portugal's second division.  The two-footed attacking midfielder may need a bit of time to adjust to the style of play in the K League, but he will be counted on to make a valuable contribution to the club for the remainder of the season.  It will also be a good opportunity for him to get matches and experience into his legs.

Pohang have experienced some mixed results lately, and are not all that far removed from their monumental collapse against Gangwon on June 23rd, when they had a four goal advantage in hand three minutes before the hour mark, before spilling it all and conceding five in a space of twenty minutes to seal one of the worst losses in league history when being up by three or more goals.

It begs the question that the team is having some serious issues defensively, and, if they are to go up against a Jeju side similar to the one which played in the last round, it may be a long night on the island followed by a long trip home.

Prediction

Was Jeju's four goal outburst a sign of things to come, or just a a one-off?  Choi Yun-kyum would be mindful to heed the message sent by his players in securing their biggest win in quite some time.  The good news is that the players which have now just become part of the side recently have shown that they can contribute towards better performances and results as the team moves forward, but they have to start doing it with a measure of consistency.

Pohang will also be hoping that their new faces will help to keep the club respectable.  They are only six points out of fourth at the moment, and if they can string some results together, a top six finish is definitely not out of the question.  They will most likely have their regulars back in the starting eleven, so they will be looking for three points from the match.

It looks as if it will be another tight affair between the two, but Jeju is still the team who should approach the match with a bit more urgency compared to their opposition ahead of a potential relegation six-pointer away to Gyeongnam next weekend, so they will want to try to distance themselves further from the drop zone, knowing it could well be possible as Incheon host Seoul in the latest edition of the Gyeongjin Derby this weekend.  If Jeju bring out the same eleven as against Seoul, three points could be a distinct possibility.

Predicted Score: Jeju United 2-1 Pohang Steelers



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