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Preview: Suwon Bluewings vs Jeju United

A struggling Jeju United make their way north as they take on a Suwon Bluewings team plagued by injuries on Saturday night in the K League 1. Jeju may have struggled so far this season but some new additions to their squad might just breathe life into a team who has some fond recent memories of their trips to the Suwon World Cup Stadium, whilst the Bluewings might just be grateful to make it though a game without accumulating any further injuries. 

Last Time Out

Suwon Bluewings 2-2 Gyeongju HNP AET (Suwon win on penalties)
Suwon narrowly progressed to the Semi Final stage of the FA Cup on Wednesday evening as the National League's Gyeongju HNP took the Bluewings all the way to a penalty shootout.

Things started well enough for the home side and Adam Taggart put them into the lead in the 12th minute. A well timed one-two with Waguininho saw the Australian find some space to cut in on his left foot and he steered an accurate shot around Jung Gyu-jin in the Gyeongju net.

However, the National League side came back into the game and scored a deserved equaliser with the last kick of the first half. After making an intelligent run around the back of the Suwon defence, Lim Seong-taek latched on to a through ball and steered the ball under the body of No Dong-geun.

The second half continued much as the first half had finished, with Gyeongju on top and Suwon having no answers to their stern defence. Gyeongju had all the best moments of the second half and could have snatched a historic victory in injury time. A cross, from the right side of the penalty area, was met by Cho Gyu-seung but the substitute sent his shot wide when it seemed easier to score.

Gyeongju weren't to be stopped in extra time though and the away side fired themselves ahead in style when Kim Min-gyu's run and powerful shot slid under the body of No Dong-geun to send Gyeongju's traveling supporters into delirium.

Suwon leveled the game up shortly after when Go Myeong-seok, playing as an auxiliary striker, superbly volleyed home a knock down from the edge of the area.

With both teams tiring the remainder of extra-time played out without any chances for either team and the game went to a penalty shootout. But after having played so well Geyongju missed their opening two spot kicks whilst Suwon converted all theirs and No Dong-geun saved the defining kick to send Suwon to the Semi Finals.

Full match highlights can be found here. 

Jeju United 1-1 Daegu FC
Jeju arrested a run of four straight defeats last weekend when they drew at home to Daegu FC. An entertaining and open first half saw both teams spurn good opportunities to score, but it was the home team who took the lead in the 54th minute. A forward pass from Lim Chan-wool deflected into the path of Yun Il-lok and the winger expertly dribbled beyond Daegu's Han Hee-hoon before firing a ferocious low effort into the bottom corner of the goal.

Jeju looked to be on course for three points that would propel them away from the bottom of the table but were left ruing their luck as Daegu stole an equaliser in stoppage time. After collecting the ball centrally Daegu's Oh Hoo-sung sprayed a lobbed pass out to Cesinha on the edge of the area and the forward beautifully chested the ball into his path before firing a right footed shot home to break Jeju hearts.

Full match highlights can be found here. 

Previous Meetings

Suwon and Jeju last met in early May with the Bluewings winning by three goals to one. Jeju had taken the lead through a Kwon Soon-hyung goal, but a brilliant fight back Suwon saw Dejan Damjanović, Koo Ja-ryoung and Adam Taggart all score to extend Suwon's unbeaten run on the island to five.

Suwon have just edged the head-to-head with Jeju, picking up 24 wins to the Tangerines' fifteen. However, Jeju have traveled well to Suwon in the past and have picked up some notable victories at the Suwon World Cup Stadium over recent years. Last season they won two of their three visits there and they have amassed maximum points on their last three league visits to Suwon.

Team News

Suwon's long injury list continued to grow in midweek as Han Eui-kwon, Choi Seung-geun and Elvis Sarić joined Dejan Damjanović, Jeon Se-jin and Jo Sung-jin on the sidelines. And with the Bluewings going the distance in midweek there will be some tired legs in that Suwon camp.

Lee Lim-saeng has his hands tied as far as selection goes and unless he is willing to put some more trust in the younger players at the club Suwon's starting line-up will most likely be similar to the one that began that midweek game.

However, central midfielder, Song Jin-kyu impressed in his 50 minute cameo on Wednesday night and has shown glimpses of potential in his brief appearances over the season. If Choi Seung-geun and Sarić are unable to line-up in this game then Lee may well be forced to hand the 21 year old only his 2nd start of the season.

Jeju United have no suspensions for this game and very little by way of injuries so manager Choi Jun-kyum has almost a full squad to select from. Midfielder, Elias Aguilar could be available as Costa Rica were knocked out of the Gold Cup on penalties against Mexico in the Round of 16, but convention would have it to keep him out of the starting lineup and use him from the bench if he does indeed get into the match, as travel across time zones will have had considerable physical drain on him. Jeju also bolstered their attacking options this week with the acquisition of Nam Jun-jae from Incheon and the winger could be in line to go straight into the starting 11.

Kim Hyun and Tiago Marques left the club this week so Jeju will be without their services.

The Adversary

Jeju are now winless in five matches and it remains to be seen how much mental damage that last minute Cesinha equaliser will have done to them. They need to bounce back quickly from that, however, as their flirtation with relegation continues to haunt them.

Much of the rest of their season may come down to how well the new faces in the squad can bed in. One of those new faces is that of Seo Jin-su who made his debut on June 21st against Seongnam FC in a 2-1 loss, and performed well enough to earn a start last week.

The Jeju native who is only 18 years old has already shown a prowess for scoring, winning the National High School Football Championship last March while scoring nine goals in the process. He also had eleven goals in the R League last year. His advantages as an attacker include an ability to hold onto possession well and get shots off quickly in front of goal.

Jeju also welcomed another new face into the fold with the acquisition on loan of Lee Keun-ho from Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, who will be with the team until the end of the season. He didn’t get a lot of playing time with the league leaders this season, appearing only twice in the league, but was brought on as a substitute against Daegu so the thought is that he will receive a lot of playing time while on the island as a way to help him develop his game further.

Nam Jun-jae is Jeju's final new acquisition and comes with a wealth of experience and talent. He is able to play both wing positions and as a center forward. He made thirteen total appearances for the Durumi this season, eight of them starts, and has one goal.

Fixtures against Seoul, Pohang, Gyeongnam and Jeonbuk await for Jeju and with three of those four fixtures either being an uphill struggle or a relegation six-pointer the Islanders will surely be targeting this fixture as one that they must not lose.

What To Watch

Can that Jeju United backline hold out? 

Boasting the second worst defensive record in the league and having kept three clean sheets all season it is no wonder why Jeju are languishing at the bottom end of the table. Their two victories over the last two months have been the only cleans sheets that they have kept in that period and the Islanders will hope that they can emulate that again against a Suwon team that are lacking firepower.

Jeju are rank bottom of the league in defensive duels won and are among the lowest ranked teams for successful aerial duels, ball losses, and shots faced. And the man who will be looking to capitalise on that weak defence, Adam Tagagrt, is in form having score three goals in his last four appearances. Suwon will need the Australian to be firing on all cylinders again as their makeshift team look to expose a flimsy Jeju defence.


Prediction

Jeju have been bad this season and although they have recruited wisely in this summer transfer window it is going to take a monumental effort to turn around their season. Suwon's injury crisis makes it difficult for them at the moment and Lee Lim-saeng might just be trying to avoid defeat and further injuries to his squad in this game.

Suwon Bluewings 1-1 Jeju United

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