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Preview: Pohang Steelers vs Seongnam FC

It's been a particularly trying season for both Seongnam FC and the Pohang Steelers who both enter this match struggling to score goals and struggling to move up the K League 1 table. The Magpies hope to recover after a big loss to powerhouse Jeonbuk while the Steelers hope to do what they couldn't do last week and take advantage of one of the league's weaker teams. 


Last Time Out

The Magpies had a tough, albeit somewhat expected, match last time out losing 3-1 to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC. Jeonbuk's superior offense kept control of possession and brought on a constant barrage of attacks to the Magpie defense. The score in fact could have been quite a bit higher if it weren't for some very close offside calls that negated a pair of goals. However those calls can also be credited to Seongnam's back line for keeping Jeonbuk offside.

Seongnam didn't have many chances with only 4 shots the entire match but Eder made sure to make the most out of the one shot he had. After jostling the ball away from a pair of defenders Eder found himself a few steps outside the box with a ton of space. He hit an absolute laser off his right foot that just curved into the top right corner. The keeper stood no chance as it was just perfectly placed. At the time the goal gave Seongnam some hope as it was still early on.

Check out full match highlights here

Meanwhile the Steelers visited Sangju last weekend and played the resilient and surprising Sangju Sangmu side to a 1-1 draw. The scoreline doesn't entirely do the match justice as Pohang dominated possession at 61.5% and had 7 shots to Sangju's 4 but Sangju's defense kept Pohang to one goal and sent the Steelers, who were riding a 1-1 draw against Jeonbuk a week before, frustrated and disappointed.

Check out full match highlights here

Previous Meetings

The last meeting between these two sides (and the first since 2016) took place in mid-April in Seongnam and has been one of the Magpies' better performances this season as they scored 2 (a true rarity) and kept Pohang scoreless. That victory is one of only 5 victories they have had all season though it came a Pohang side that only have 6.

It was a game where neither side entirely dominated but Seongnam was able to go ahead 1-0 on a nicely set up goal from outside the box by Kim Min-hyeok. The second goal came off a handball penalty. Late Pohang substitute Kim was battling it out with Seongnam's Kim Min-hyeok to gain possession of a header coming down in the Pohang box and his arm ended up tangled under Min-hyeok's and the ball fell right onto his hand. An argument ensued but ultimately the referee awarded the penalty and Kim Jung-hyun put it in the back of the net.

Team News

Seongnam FC will be without Lee Hyeon-il this weekend as he earned his 3rd yellow card of the season this past weekend. It's his third yellow in only 4 appearances as well. Additionally Mun Ji-hwan, Ahn Young-kyu, Kong Min-hyu, Lee Hyeon-il and Kim Hyun-sung all have 2 yellows each and so they may be in danger of suspension. In particular Kong Min-hyun is an important player and with a tougher match next week against Daegu Seongnam might try to limit his play.

The Adversary

The Pohang Steelers have so far not been able to replicate the somewhat successful season they had last year (they finished a respectable 4th) and currently find themselves out of the top 6 down in 8th place in the K League 1 table. In late April they fired their manager and promoted then senior assistant Kim Gi-dong to fill the spot.

And the move was an initial success as Pohang went on to win 4 straight matches under Kim Gi-dong. However they then hit reality and drew against Seoul and then losing their next 4 matches. They haven't won a match since that stretch though as mentioned earlier they did have an impressive 1-1 showing against Jeonbuk a week ago.

Pohang and Seongnam have a common struggle; scoring goals. Pohang has scored only 2 more than the Magpies this season (averaging exactly 1 per match while Seongnam sits below that).Their big scorer is Wanderson who has 6 of their 19 goals in the season and so he will be a player that Seongnam will need to contain up front.

Pohang like to line up in a 4-5-1 formation with Kim Seung-dae up front and Wanderson set up on the left wing. It seems the set-up is designed to bring the ball in from the wings and have Wanderson converge as Seung-dae sets up the shot for him.

As far as suspensions go Pohang is at full strength but Lee Soo-bin, Kim Seung-dae, and Lee Sang-gi are all in yellow card jeopardy with two yellows each but with their next opponent being Jeju they may be able to afford some risks.

What To Watch

It was a given last week that Seongnam would spend a large chunk of the match on the defensive however this week they have a very similar opponent. Last time they played, Pohang still had a slight advantage when it came to possession as Seongnam bided their time. This time out it'll be interesting to see how Seongnam attacks. Eder has recently found his groove especially last week and there is potential among these players to set up chances when they have possession.

Equally as important will be how Pohang attacks Seongnam. Pohang had a very different look last time out coming out with a 4-3-3 and David up front. This new setup seems to have worked better and it'll critical for Seongnam to look out for Seung-dae and Wanderson.

Prediction

Two somewhat evenly matched squads who both look a little different from the last time they met. Seongnam's potential for scoring is there however they tend to rely on the defense a lot. Pohang for their part though have also struggled and are still picking up the pieces after sacking their manager. It'll be a low scoring match.

Pohang 1 - 1 Seongnam



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