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Preview: Daegu FC vs Gyeongnam FC

After a 1-1 draw against K League leader Ulsan Hyundai on the road, Daegu FC will return home on Saturday night to host relegation contenders Gyeongnam FC at DGB Daegu Bank Park. With the hosts' last home win back in mid-May, can the Sky Blues present winning feelings to their thirsty home fans, or can the Reds throw a spanner in the works? K League United Daegu FC Correspondent Muyeol Jung previews this clash.

Last Time Out

Ulsan Hyundai 1-1 Daegu FC

It was a clash which caught football fans’ eyes as competitions between Korea international goalkeepers Kim Seunggyu and Jo Hyeonwoo, but Kim nor Jo had a simile in full time after 1-1 draw in Ulsan Complex Stadium.

After the host’s dominance for the first 15 minutes from the kick off, Cesinha earned Daegu a penalty after he was tripped over inside the box at 17 minutes. However, unfortunately, the Brazilian surprisingly failed to hit the target. A good chance always comes right after a crisis. Just three minutes after that, Ulsan immediately backfired with the opener on speedy and decisive counterattack. Frontman Joo Minkyu’s low strike near the box went into the net after hitting Daegu’s shot stopper Jo’s back off the post.

In the second half, Daegu had another conversion after VAR review pointed out Yoon Youngsun’s handball inside the box, however, this time Rildo blasted in over the bar. Afterwards, Daegu continued to attack through Brazilian trio upfront, but they looked unfortunate when Cesinha’s effort hit the foot of the post. Their constant efforts made a result in the end. Returner Edgar, sidelined for shoulder dislocation, levelled the game inside the box with his individual skills between the defenders seven minutes before the time. Next, league leader Ulsan tried to find the second of the night by bringing in former Daegu striker Junior Negrao who put it away in stoppage time, but it was chalked off for a deliberate hand ball, which was right call.

Highlights




Gyeongnam FC 2-0 Seongnam FC

Much strengthened Gyeongnam FC beat Seongnam at Changwon Football Centre and registered their third win in the K League since last March.

For the first half, the hosts were all over the visitors, but none of chances they created were not enough to past through Seongnam shot stopper Kim Dongjun. With the Magpies’ first choice replaced by Jeon Jonghyuk due to knee injury, the second half started in a similar fashion to the first half. Just seven minutes into it, the opener came from a critical error from the substitute who had a misplaced pass to the Reds’ striker Kim Hyoki. The attacker blasted the ball with his left foot which bounced off the goal post and into the net. Afterwards, the goal scorer added his second of the night with a left foot again in a similar situation. Despite constant efforts from the visitors, the hosts held on the 2-0 lead to record overdue win in their tally.

Highlights



Previous Meetings

Historically, Gyeongnam FC have been always troublesome for Daegu FC. The citizen club managed to pull off only eight wins from 33 games with six draws compared to Gyeongnam’s 19 wins. Daegu’s home records look intimidating. Daegu’s last home win against Gyeongnam amazingly goes back to 2015 August in K League 2, even further to 2013 July when it comes to the one in top tier. Results for latest ten games similarly see lopsided tendency with only two wins and four draws for the citizen club.

In 2019 season, the Sky Blues and the Reds had two meetings in K League with one win for the Reds in March at Changwon and one draw in July at Daegu’s home. The recent match played at Daegu’s turf probably would be remembered very disappointing one as the tie looked much easier for Daegu to win against heavily struggling side at the bottom of the table, but surprisingly, the hosts’ hope evaporated when left wingback Choi Jaesoo cancelled out Cesinha’s goal.

Team News

The most sensational team Daegu FC during the first half of the season now found themselves at the edge of top six in the table following four game winless streak. Depending on results for coming few games, Daegu still could push themselves for top four or directly get involved with mid-table battles for top six.

In spite of their recent poor results, the situation around the team look quite inviting. First of all, in a circumstance where Daegu suffered from three losses in a row, they walked away with a point from Ulsan, which could have been vital three points if the two missed penalties were successful. It looked much promising as nearly two month sidelined Edgar not only returned to the team, but also found an equaliser. Although his current form wasn’t sharp as he would, but his presence upfront certainly posed a threat for the opponent as well as a good target man for linking up with other players. Particularly, Cesinha looked much comfortable behind him with so much free movement with the ball.

Also, there’s another good news that certainly amazes the team and its fans. Left wingback Kim Dongjin and central midfielder Kim Seonmin officially joined the team on Tuesday after their military service spell at Asan Mugunghwa. They were both regulars in 2017 when Daegu surprisingly finished eighth in the table in K League 1 right after the promotion. Considering they were involved in Asan’s action in K League 2 until the move, they must be physically available for selection.

Coming into the match, young defender Kim Wooseok will return from one game suspension, whilst young right wingback Jang Sungwon will miss this game due to accumulated yellow cards. In terms of injury, with long term absentees Hong Jungwoon and Tsubasa, diligent midfielder Jung Seungwon remains uncertain after he completely dropped out of the squad with suspected injury.

The Adversary

A 2-0 win over Seongnam finally saw Gyeongnam FC see the light at the end of the tunnel by recording their first league win since late March, which took 20 K League games and 134 days.

In a post match interview after the overdue win, the Reds’ gaffer Kim Jongbu happily expressed his satisfaction by saying “overall, our attacking was spot on by playing wide with new signing Brazilian winger Osman, while young Japanese midfielder Kunimoto, who returned from a hamstring injury, possessed the ball and distributed well all over the pitch on build up”. He also added “we conceded a lot of goals this season from turnover in the middle, but having the Japanese back on the pitch enabled us to have more stable game management”.


The Reds look much more comfortable in a 3-4-3 formation, switched from their usual 4-4-2 through the summer. And their summer signings Uroš Đerić from Gangwon and Brazilian midfielder Osman are getting mixed well with the team. Particularly, the Serbian striker poses a huge threat in a spearhead by winning the header or making space for teammates Kim Hyoki and Kim Seungjoon behind the line. However, unlike promising perspective in attack, their defence remain very leaky. The clean sheet they achieved in previous game is a good sign for them, but the defence was not tested enough considering Seongnam’s attacking is generally viewed weaker than Daegu in K League. At the back, veteran defender Kwak Taehwi has been a key figure along with Lee Kwangseon and Woo Juseong. This season, they have 45 goals conceded with only two clean sheets from 25 games. Ahead of Daegu away, 10th ranked side have no players suspended and the line-up will be as similar as the team beat Seongnam unless there’s any injury.

What To Watch

It will be a very entertaining match to watch for fans as Daegu and Gyeongnam look less solid at the back, but have quite attacking football.

The hosts showed off watertight defence until they lost central defender Hong Jungwoon due to ACL injury. Although, Korea international goalkeeper Jo Hyeonwoo remains between the sticks, but the recent form at the back is worry for the hosts. However, attacking wise, as shown in previous game, having Edgar back revitalises and diversifies their attacking options.


The visitors Gyeongnam also boast good attacking football through the Serbian forward and other Korean talents Kim Hyoki, Kim Seungjoon, and Bae Kijong on bench, not to mention the Japanese Kunimoto.

Prediction

It will be a very interesting tie as both teams will take on each other with much strengthened squad unlike their latest meeting when key attacking talents Brazilian Edgar and young Japanese Kunimoto from each team didn’t feature due to injuries.

Their positions in the table are still far away, but the rank doesn’t necessarily mean Daegu can ease past Gyeongnam at home given their history. For the hosts, it will be very tough and challenging.

[READ: K League 1 Round 26 Preview]

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