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Preview: Suwon Bluewings vs Seongnam FC

Seongnam FC will make the short trip to Suwon this weekend when they face the Suwon Bluewings in Round 22 of the 2019 K League 1. The Bluewings come into this on a run of four straight wins whilst their opponents will be looking to break a three game losing run. Something will need to give as these two old rivals go head-to-head once more. 

Last Time Out

Sangju Sangmu 0-2 Suwon Bluewings
The weather and the referee took centre stage on Sunday evening in a game that in any other league would have been called off due to unplayable conditions. With puddles forming all over the pitch and the ball struggling to roll and bounce, the referee should have postponed the fixture but somehow saw the conditions to be playable. Understandably, there was very little goal mouth action in the game but Suwon were fortunate enough to grasp the two opportunities that did come their way.

Suwon scored their first of the night in the 8th minute when Adam Taggart, collecting the ball near the halfway line, turned and drove at the Sangju defence. As the defender's backed off Taggart struck a firm shot at goal but the ball was spilled directly into the path of Han Seok-hui, the young forward scoring on his first ever professional start.

Suwon extended their lead midway through the first half and it was that man, Taggart, again. The Australian found himself in a shooting position and with Sangju defenders backing away the striker struck a thunderous shot that was too powerful for Yoon Bo-sang to handle.

Full match highlights can be found here. 

Seongnam FC 0-1 Daegu FC
Seongnam slipped to their 3rd consecutive defeat last weekend going down by a goal to nil at home to Daegu FC. In a game of few chances it was Seongnam who had the majority of the clear cut opportunities to score in the game, however, they came up against an inspired performance from Jo Hyun-woo in the Daegu nets.

Daegu's Cesinha scored the only goal of the game in the 48th minute. Seongnam failed to deal with a weak, bobbling cross from the left by Hwang Soon-min, and whilst the Seongnam defence stood statuesque the Brazilian arrived to hook home a half-volley into the bottom corner.

Full match highlights can be found here. 

Previous Meetings

Seongnam deservedly beat Suwon the last time these two met back in mid-March. Suwon took the lead early in the first half via a Yeom Ki-hun penalty, but goals from Éder and a last minute thunderbolt by Jo Seung-joon ensured that Seongnam took all three points.

It's been a long rivalry between these two teams and interestingly they both have the exact same record when facing each other with 17 wins, 12 draws and 17 losses a piece. Seongnam have also had some reasonable success when visiting the Suwon World Cup Stadium over recent history, only losing twice in their last eight visits.

Team News

Lee Lim-saeng's selection problem will continue for yet another week with more first team stars unavailable for visit of Seongnam. Yeom Ki-hun, Jeon Se-jin and Jo Sung-jin are all still injured and won't feature in this game. Koh Myeong-seok will also be unavailable after picking up his 3rd yellow card of the year last time out. Koh's absence leaves a gap in the centre of defence which Yang Sang-min or Kim Min-ho will plug. Elvis Sarić left the club this week after completing a transfer to Al Ahli, leaving Lee without a creative midfielder to choose from. Song Jin-kyu could be the man to replace Sarić short term and the youngster has been in good form as of late.

Lee did receive some good news last week though when Dejan Damjanović returned from a muscle injury. The return of the veteran gives Lee an extra choice in attack and the manager might be tempted to play the Montenigrin with Adam Taggart from the start of this match.

Nam Ki-il will have his own selection issues as Seongnam travel without the services of Ahn Young-kyu.

The Adversary

Seongnam might be satisfied with their current position in the table after a positive start to the season. However, three straight defeats and only two victories from their last thirteen games see's them on a clear downward trajectory. With Gyeongnam and Jeju both strengthening well in this transfer window the Magpies might feel their breath on the back of their necks sooner rather than later.

For the most part, Nam Ki-il owes their limited success this year to his defence and the manager has built a strong defensive unit. Seongnam have allowed the 4th fewest shots on their goal in the league and also average the second most interceptions per match. But the Magpies should be concerned about their attack as they have struggled in this area all year. Only Incheon have managed less goals than them in 2019 and they rank 2nd to last in shots per match with 9.9, with only 34% of those shots finding the target.

What To Watch

The battle for the centre of the pitch will most probably be where this game is won and lost and with both teams being less than prolific at creating opportunities, the chances are that that midfield battle may be a little more literal than it should be.

The stats don't make pretty reading for either teams' midfield with Suwon and Seongnam among the bottom four clubs for not only passes made but also for the accuracy of those passes. Both sides have also struggled to control the ball for long periods throughout the season and they, again, rank among the four worst sides in the league for ball losses.

This may all result in both managers conceding a progressive style for a combative approach in the centre of midfield and it would appear that the departure of Elvis Sarić earlier this week couldn't have come at a worse time for the Bluewings.

Prediction

Suwon have had a grueling period with limited numbers in their squad and will have welcomed a full weeks break, but the loss of Sarić will hit them hard. Without the Bosnian playmaker the Bluewings will have limited creativity in their midfield and this game might well be settled by a single chance. Out of the two teams you might expect Suwon to have the personnel to convert the chances that come their way but it will be difficult for the home side against a tough Seongnam defence.

K League 1 Round 22 Preview: here

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