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Preview: Gwangju FC vs Daejeon Citizen

K League 2 Preview: Gwangju FC vs Daejeon Citizen

Lee Euddeum's last-gasp free-kick against Busan IPark last weekend helped to maintain Gwangju's five-point lead at the top of K League 2. In uncharacteristically jittery form, Park Jinseop's side must take advantage of a dismally out of form Daejeon Citizen heading down to Jeollanamdo this Monday. 

Last Time Out

Gwangju 1-1 Busan IPark

With Willyan absent Lee Heegyun returned to his favoured position on the wing while play-maker Lim Minhyeok slotted back into midfield. Title rivals Busan knew that a win at the Guus Hiddink Stadium last Saturday would see them close a once seemingly insurmountable gap to just two points. They looked on course after IPark talisman Romulo picked his spot from 20 yards curling past a helpless Yoon Pyeonggook on 59 minutes. However, from a similar distance Lee Euddeum's short run-up seemed to fool Choi Pilsoo in the Busan net with a fairly tame free kick sailing home as the game entered stoppage time. Both sides pressed for a win but to no avail, with Romulo this time denied by keeper Yoon from range in the closing seconds. 


Daejeon Citizen 1-2 Bucheon 1995

Ramazotti de Quadros' first goal for his new club wasn't enough to claim Daejeon's first home point since April as Bucheon striker Marlon de Jesus grabbed a second-half brace. Bucheon thought they had taken the lead on 18 minutes but Jang Hyunsoo was rightly ruled offside after his instinctive finish. De Jesus then wasted a gilt-edged opportunity on the half-hour mark before former FC Seoul left-back Park Mingyu stormed down the wing and put in a cross for Aurelian Chitu to link up well with Ramazotti, hopefully a sign of things to come for the Purples. Brazilian Ramazotti put Daejeon ahead on 41 minutes in style with a firm strike from outside the box into the bottom-left corner. Presumably wanting to keep things tight considering their recent defensive record, Lee Heung-sil's side did the exact opposite as Park Jaewoo punched Lim Donghyuk's header directly into the path of De Jesus two minutes after the break. Matheus Pato was denied his second goal in three games for the Purples thanks to an expertly executed tackle inside the box before De Jesus fired home his second latching onto Kim Jaewoo's through ball and slotting into the near post.



Previous Meetings

The pair last met in June in a match devoid of quality that was settled by Felipe de Sousa's strike from range early on. Neither team particularly inspired with hosts Daejeon unfortunate not to get a share of the spoils. Prior to that the Purples showed once more that they perhaps have the potential to frustrate Gwangju with a stalemate 0-0 draw at the Guus Hiddink. The match was notable for Doo Hyunseok making an impression from the bench and pushing himself into the fold but the Yellows ultimately failed to break a Ko Jongsoo inspired Daejeon side down. Meeting in the play-offs last season also saw Daejeon enjoy themselves with a 1-0 win thanks to Chitu's strike.

The Adversary

Daejeon's catastrophic slump to basement boys has seen a dismal run of just one win in 17 league fixtures. Combined with Seoul E-Land's recent upturn of fortunes, Lee Heungsil's arrival in July doesn't seem to be having the desired effect. A raft of new signings need time to settle in and while there was some promise in a decent first-half showing against Bucheon, defensive woes resurfaced in the second half with the visitors missing some glaring opportunities on top of those they missed. Visiting the league leaders on Monday night, surely the Purples boss must prioritise defence and look to grind out a dull point to try and regain some stability. Perhaps manager Lee still feels he doesn't have the strength of depth in his squad despite those recent signings. This became apparent when chasing the game against Bucheon and the former Ansan Greeners boss brought on a central defender despite being behind in the game. The visitors will also be without veteran midfielder An Sanghyun for their journey south.

What To Watch

On the back of three consecutive 1-1 draws which represents somewhat of a slump for such a dominant force as Gwangju this season, you would suspect that Park Jinseop will opt for an all-out-attack approach to the game. With Yeo Bonghun picking up one too many bookings against Busan, Yellows legend Yeo Reum can expect to be brought back into the starting eleven. This could be an important fixture for the 30-year-old, who has seen his involvement limited of late thanks to Yeo's improvement. With a more attacking-minded reshuffle expected in midfield, new signing Ratinho will also be hoping for more than his 32 minutes so far. While Park must once more choose a new defensive partnership thanks to Lee Hando's absence through suspension, Yeo Reum's performance will be the most scrutinised. The midfielder needs a strong second half to the season if he is to retain his place at the club going into a potential KLeague 1 campaign next year.

Yeo Reum in Gwangju's home fixture against Daejoen in April.


Prediction

On the face of things, this appears to be terrible timing for a struggling Daejeon side to be visiting the potential champions. With Busan playing before Gwangju this weekend, the Yellows will know just how many points they can move clear at the top and will want to take full advantage, especially not having claimed three points since July. With three games out of four to come at home, Gwangju could really lay down a marker and regain some of the gap they lost at the summit. Scoring just twice in his last seven, talisman Felipe will see this as a great opportunity to give himself a personal boost with tougher fixtures to come and get back on the score sheet.

Gwangju 3-0 Daejeon Citizen

[READ: Fall season preview for FC INTS]

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