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Preview: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC vs Seongnam FC

Having netted only 16 goals in 19 matches this season Seongnam FC are looking for any way to spark their offense. However, this week they face a david and goliath situation as they travel down to Jeonju World Cup Stadium to take on 1st place Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC, a team that is looking for a strong victory to build some momentum after a somewhat tough past few weeks. They ended in a scoreless draw last time. Could it happen again?

Last Time Out

The Magpies played host to the K League's military side Sangju Sagmu last week out in Seongnam Sports Complex. It was yet another low-scoring, low offense affair which is basically what we have come to expect from both of these teams. Seongnam scored early on when a shot was saved by the  Sangju keeper but deflected to his right and into the path of Kim Hyun-sung who essentially had an open net in front of him. That goal was one of only 6 shots Seongnam took all match.

Seongnam seemingly shocked that they actually scored played very defensively for the rest of the match hoping that Sangju's weak attack would be stifled by their strong defense. The strategy worked, despite allowing Sangju over 60% possession Seongnam was able to keep them to only 8 shots with only 2 of them on goal.

Full match highlights can be found here

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC have had a tough few weeks not having won a match since their weak 1-0 victory over last place Incheon United. They were eliminated from the AFC champions league a week and a half ago as well, losing to Shanghai on penalties. Their last time out however was a 1-1 draw against the Pohang Steelers.

Despite Pohang playing a man down after Ha Chang-rae's red card in the 24th minute, the match remained scoreless deep into the second half. That was until Jeonbuk's Lim Sun-young scored in the 70th minute to give Jeonbuk a 1-0 lead. That lead was short lived however when Wanderson scored in the 74th minute to equalize. The match ended 1-1 continuing Jeonbuk's recent stretch of mediocrity.

Full match highlights can be found here

Previous Meetings

The last time these two teams met was in early May and Seongnam managed to impress defensively and kept Jeonbuk scoreless to earn a crucial point against the league's best offense. Part of it came down to Jeonbuk's somewhat predictable offensive strategies where everything goes down the sideline and gets crossed into Kim Sin-wook and the other part of it was just the strong ability of Seongnam's back line to stifle attacks in the final third.

There was some excitement however as both teams had goals taken back. Kong Min-hyun scored early on for Seongnam only have it taken back for offside. However, the true controversy was Jeonbuk's canceled goal. A ball went in from the right wing bounced around in the box and happened to hit the back of Moon Seon-min's upper arm right before he passed it to the front of the box for Lee Seung-gi to easily tap in.

Ultimately the match ended 0-0 but the result meant different things to both sides. For Seongnam, it was a hard fought point that no one had expected them to get and so it felt like a victory. For Jeonbuk, on the other hand, a 0-0 draw against one of the leagues lower teams felt like a missed opportunity and now that the race for 1st place is tight they will want to make sure this weekend ends with them earning 3 points.

Team News

The Magpie's will have their full team this week, however there are 5 players in yellow card jeopardy. Mun Ji-hwan, Ahn Young-kyu, Kong Min-hyu, Lee Hyeon-il and Kim Hyun-sung all have 2 yellows each and could be in danger of a suspension next week. With that said next week's opponent is Pohang and though not a weak team they are much weaker than Jeonbuk and so the Magpies should be putting their best team forward regardless of yellow card accumulations.

The Adversary

Though they have been going through somewhat of a slump the past couple of weeks reigning K League champions Jeonbuk are not a team to take lightly. Currently tied with FC Seoul atop the table Jeonbuk is looking to put some separation between the two teams with a victory over Seoul.

On paper this match should easily end in a Jeonbuk victory however last time out Seongnam's defense was able to keep them scoreless. As stated above this was both a testament to Seongnam's strong defense keeping them in games as well as Jeonbuk's somewhat predictable offensive strategies.

Jeonbuk will go with a 4-1-4-1 formation as they have had all season. According to their press release the starting 11 will look like this.

GK: Song Beom-keun
DF: Kim Jin-su, Hong Jeong-ho, Kim Min-hyeok and Lee Yong.
MF: Ricardo Lopes, Han Seung-gyu, Son Jun-ho, Lim Sun-young and Bernie Ibini
FW: Kim Shin-wook

One can expect they will employ their familiar strategy of sending long balls down the wings and having the wingers send it to the box to Kim Shin-wook, who will have plenty of help as the rest of the midfield converge on the box.

In team news there will be quite a few players out this week. Choi Chul-soon is suspended because of yellow card accumulation. Additionally Han Kyo-won, Lee Seung-gi, Choi Bo-kyung and Adriano will miss the match due to injuries with Adriano's still a long term injury.

What To Watch

Seongam have scored 16 goals in 19 matches this season so to expect a strong attack from them against Jeonbuk would be a losing endeavor. The key to this match for them is how well the back line can keep Jeonbuk at bay. They need to contain Kim Shin-wook as well as defend the wings tightly. Offensively they will likely need to rely on the counter-attack as Jeonbuk will no doubt control possession of the ball.

A player to watch for Seongnam will be Ahn Young-kyu who has two yellow cards but will also need to play a strong and aggressive game against Jeonbuk. It'll be interesting to see how he fares.

Prediction

It's always fun to speculate the underdog taking down the top team but this just isn't a situation where one can reasonably make that claim. Jeonbuk is hungry for a victory to end their streak of mediocrity and will be attacking hard. Seongnam's defense is strong but with it's offense as weak as it is, all it takes is one goal to make the lead insurmountable.

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC 3 - 0 Seongnam FC


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