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Preview: Jeonnam Dragons vs Daejeon Citizen

Two teams with lofty preseason ambitions meet for the third time in 2019 looking to get their season back on track. The Dragons enter with a bit of momentum, but have already suffered defeat to Daejeon on home soil once this season. Ryan Walters previews this Round 19 clash to see if either team can walk away with full points. 


Last Time Out

Jeonnam saw out a rather eventful 1-1 draw at fourth placed Asan Mugunghwa last weekend where only took Bruno Nunes 22 minutes to put the Dragons on the board. The embattled forward capped off a decent run through the midfield and finished it with a slow-paced shot that caught keeper Choi Bongjin wrong-footed. The goal was Bruno's third of the season and first in over a month; a tally that may be enough to keep him in yellow for the rest of the season, or possibly too little too late. Not to be outdone, Asan's Ko Mooyeol struck for his eighth of the season to level things just five minutes later. The goal put Ko just one away from his career high mark of nine. Although that's where the scoring ended, there was plenty left in the match.

In his second straight start and seemingly rounding into form, Australian center back Nick Ansell was shown red in the 39th minute for a tackle from behind. The shorthanded Dragons would later concede a penalty after VAR confirmed a handball in the box in the 58th minute, but goalkeeper Park Junhyuk was up to the task and denied Ju Sejong the go ahead goal that likely would have seen Asan take full points. Still clinging to the away point, Lee Youhyeon picked up his second yellow in stoppage time and was sent to the locker room early. Lee and Ansell will both miss this weekend's match against Daejeon as a result.

Highlights: here

Daejeon were the latest team to fall to Anyang during the Violets three game winning streak, this time a 2-1 victory over Citizen. 21-year-old Cho Kyusung bagged a brace on opposite sides of the halftime whistle to continue a truly stellar rookie season. The first goal came from a cutting through ball that dissected the Daejeon defense that was deftly handled by the youngster and slotted just inside the far post. The second was scored in drastically different fashion as Kim Sangwon curled in a cross and Cho rose above two Daejeon defenders to head it home. Citizen were not without their chances though. Substitute Yoo Haesung hit the post shortly after coming into the match and Ahn Sanghyeon eventually buried a penalty kick late on. With a few more lucky bounces, Daejeon may have split the points Monday night.

Highlights: here

Previous Meetings

This will be the 39th meeting between these sides and just their third in the second division. Jeonnam own the series edge with 17 wins compared to Daejeon's 12, but this year has seen the spoils shared. Daejeon struck first this season with a thorough 3-1 victory in Gwangyang that wasn't even as close as the scoreline suggests. Park Inhyeok bagged a brace that day and Daejeon looked comfortable the entire time. Just over two months later, the pair would meet again on a rainy afternoon in Daejeon and it was the Dragons turn to play spoiler. After initially taking a 1-0 lead through Yoo Haesung just before the half, Daejeon conceded twice in the second with Han Chanhee burying the game in the 88th minute. With an even season series and both teams desperately needing points to regain any realistic shot at the playoffs, look for both managers to go for the win this Sunday.

Team News

New acquisition Yoon Yongho was on the bench against Asan last weekend, but has yet to see any minutes to start his loan spell away from Daejeon Citizen. Oddly enough, his debut may come against his former club as both Lee Youhyeon and Nick Ansell will miss action due to red card suspensions and manager Fabiano Soares will need all hands on deck to plug the holes. Similarly, 23-year-old Brazilian forward Bruno Baio may see his debut for Jeonnam after making the move over from CA Votuporanguense in Paulista Série A2, the second division state professional football championship in Brazil. He scored two goals in limited minutes there and is largely an unknown quantity here, but given Jeonnam's anemic attack, any help will do.

The Adversary

Things have gone from bad to worse for Daejeon of late. Already struggling with off-field issues and rumors of key players moving away, the on-field results have started reflecting that turmoil. Currently mired in an 11 match winless streak, the Purples have lost four straight, been held scoreless an astounding nine times already, and desperately need to figure out something soon. Newly appointed manager Lee Heungsil has made a few changes, namely at the back where he has elected to go with experience. Lee has also given the captain's armband to goalkeeper Park Juwon despite Ahn Sanghyeon being the official club captain and playing in the match against Anyang Monday night. The changes may seem minor, but anything new could do the trick for the Purples.

Regardless of who's on the field or wearing the armband, the fact remains Daejeon simply are not a goal scoring threat. They were limited to just one shot on target in three of their previous five matches and unsurprisingly have the league's lowest scoring record with just 12 goals through 18 games. Aurelian Chițu was believed to be that answer, but the Romanian's four goals haven't quite been enough this season, largely because defenses known they can key in on him and almost entirely shut down Daejeon's attack. Luckily for Jeonnam, Chițu is suspended for the match this weekend, giving them one less attacking option to worry about.

What To Watch: Midfield Battle

With no true goalscoring threat up top for either team, this match will be won by whichever side can control the middle of the pitch to create their own chances from the midfield. Jeonnam's Kim Youngwook has been leading by example here to lead the team with four goals. The vice-captain has also set his teammates up well connecting on 83% of his passes overall, and 76% of balls into the final third finding their mark. Knowing Daejeon's weakness is in attack, look for Kim Youngwook to roam a little further forward than he usually would in an attempt to set the table for the forwards.

Kim Seungseop is the man to watch on the other side of the pitch. He leads the Purples in assists with three this season and will need to have a stellar match given the lack of scoring options at Daejeon's disposal. Whether he's deployed out wide or up top, Jeonnam's midfielders will look to stall efforts in the middle of the park before he can get on the ball and use his pace on the wings.


The Dragons seem to be catching Daejeon at the right time and have been in decent form themselves of late. On paper, they should be able to see out a home win here, but as they've proven all season long, stranger things can happen. In the end, Daejeon just don't have enough attacking prowess to beat the in form Park Junhyuk in net and he will likely be the reason Jeonnam prevail.

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