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Preview: Sangju Sangmu vs Daegu FC

Preview: Daegu FC vs Sangju Sangmu
Fourth placed Daegu FC will make the short trip to North Gyeongsangdo for a fixture against sixth placed Sangju Sangmu after a fascinating 3-1 win over Gangwon last time out. With only two points separating the pair, this tie will be a six pointer to decide their fates in the top six. Daegu FC columnist Muyeol Jung previews this clash.


Last Time Out


Daegu FC 3-1 Gangwon FC

It was a six pointer between Daegu and Gangwon for fourth place in the table, and Daegu FC successfully reclaimed the position after a 3-1 win over Gangwon at home. The hosts had such an amazing start to the first half with three goals that were coming from text book counterattacking. That was until just five minutes before the break when left wingback Kim Dongjin had to leave the pitch due to a direct red card for a stamping on the opponent’s ankle. In the second half, a 10-man side were sitting deep and rarely had a chance to create any meaning chances, while the visitors were aggressively pushing hard for a goal by making the best of their man advantage. In the end, they managed to get one back halfway into the second half but the hosts held onto the lead till the last minute and it finished 3-1.

[LINK: Match Recap]

Highlights




Ulsan Hyundai 5-1 Sangju Sangmu

Sangju Sangmu’s three game winning streak was strongly resisted by K League title contenders Ulsan Hyundai at Ulsan Complex Stadium where a Yoon Bitgaram-less squad were massively thrashed 5-1. The Horangi were ruthless from the beginning and the first goal came on 22 minutes when veteran defender Kang Minsoo headed the ball into the net from a corner kick before former Cardiff City midfielder Kim Bokyung doubled the lead with a volley. The first half ended 2-1 with Sangju managing to pull one back three minutes before the break owing to Yoon Bitgaram’s replacement Kim Minhyeok.

On 58 minutes, the hosts quickly moved the ball upfront and scored the third of the night on the counterattack through Kim Insung who made a run to put it away. Despite two-goal cushion, the hosts remained very determined offensively and substitute Hwang Ilsu added two more goals to make it 5-1 only less than ten minutes after he came on. Thanks to the win, Ulsan regained first place in the table and are one point clear of Jeonbuk.

Highlights



Previous Meetings

This season, the pair have met each other twice with one home win each. The latest meeting was played at Sangju Civic Stadium on 21st July when the Soldiers left Andre’s lads helpless after they successfully exploited Daegu’s main drawback. All the players and fans were left to rue their inability to react to Sangju’s solid game plan on the pitch. In the first meeting in May when the citizen club edged past the North Gyeongsang side 1-0 thanks to Jung Seungwon’s winner ten minutes before time, but it a was very tough for Andre’s side until they found the winner. Head to head, Daegu FC have claimed ten victories from 20 meetings with only three wins to Sangju.

Team News

Struggling Daegu FC finally got back to the fourth in the table, and atmosphere in the dressing room, not to mention the words which have been coming from the club look much more positive. However, with in a situation where a gap between themselves and six placed Sangju Sangmu is only two points, a win will certainly be welcomed to help move them further away, whilst anything other than a win could mean that they will get dragged into a heated top six battle once again.


The majority of the squad are expected to be available for selection including Kim Dongjin, who was shown a direct red card last time. However, Kim has been saved after K League disciplinary committee rescinded the card following a review this week. Therefore, Daegu’s starting line up will be similar to the previous team that won against Gangwon.

The Adversary

The fixture against Daegu FC marks the last home game for twelve soldiers before they return to their parent clubs as of 17th September after military service at the club, including Yoon Bitgaram, and Kim Minwoo.


Sangju are usually set up in a 4-4-2 diamond formation. For team selection, Sangju manager Kim Taewan will not be able to play Kwon Wankyu out after the defender picked up a third yellow card, but one of the best midfielders in K League, Yoon Bitgaram will return to the team from a one-game suspension. The 1990-born Korean has been the standout in Kim Taewan’s side this season with eight goals and four assists from 26 appearances. The midfielder will cause a lot of problems to the Sky Blues and it will be interesting how well Daegu midfielder Kim Sunmin, who perfectly nullified Kunimoto in the Gyeongnam game, can handle Yoon come Sunday.

Prediction


This will be a crucial game in terms of the top four battle and a potential ACL spot in K League. Sangju had been well organised and unbeaten until the humiliating 5-1 defeat in the previous round, while recently Daegu find themselves in good form with a great deal of synergy generated from the return of Edgar and Kim Sunmin. Even if the departing Sangju players are motivated to finish this game on a high note, an in-form Daegu side might prove too much for them.



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