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Preview: Jeju United vs FC Seoul

Jeju United seemed to have turned a corner earlier in the summer, but have come crashing back down in a big way following heavy losses to Ulsan Hyundai and Sangju Sangmu, while they only managed a scoreless draw away to Incheon United last week.  FC Seoul have also showed some inconsistent form lately, losing last time out by a single goal to Seongnam FC, after a 0-0 draw with Gangwon the week before.  The islanders have fallen to the foot of the table and look in dire straits to make a move upwards with some tricky fixtures in the near future, while the club from the capital still have a firm grip on an ACL place for next season.  KLU's Branko Belan previews Sunday's fixture.

Match: Jeju United vs FC Seoul
Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Sunday August 25th, 2019; 19:00 KST

Last Time Out

Incheon United 0-0 Jeju United

Jeju missed a great opportunity to move themselves out of the basement last weekend when they only managed a scoreless draw away against Incheon.  Both teams had good spells of possession in the first half and had their moments moving forward, but neither team was able to threaten much in the final third.  The first forty-five was fairly even, which could have been expected, but there was no change in the score line as the teams went into the break.

Things picked up early in the second half, as Yun Il-lok had a great chance to put Jeju in front just after the break, but his effort on goal was parried aside by Jung San.  Kim Ho-nam had an opportunity to put the home side ahead after ten minutes, but his powerful drive on goal was fisted away by Oh Seung-hoon.

Both teams would have their chances late on as well, but Kang Yun-sung was denied by Jung with just over ten minutes to go, after he extended to his left to keep a shot out from just outside the area.  Kim Do-hyeok swung in a late free kick which Stefan Mugosa headed wide at the near post just before the end of regulation, and then Oh had to make a point blank save in injury time to preserve a point for Jeju.

Highlights: here

Seongnam FC 1-0 FC Seoul 

FC Seoul missed out on a chance to gain some ground on second-placed Ulsan, falling to defeat against Seongnam FC last weekend.  Seongnam controlled much of the first half and could have been ahead through Seo Bo-min midway through, but his shot on target produced a good save from Yu Sang-hun.  The best chance of the half for FC Seoul came through Aleksandar Pesic, whose left-footed strike from just outside the box was kept out by Kim Dong-jun.

Seongnam would go into the lead early in the second half thanks to Moon Sang-yun in the 51st minute.  A defensive error in the middle led to possession for the Magpies, and he took a short pass and strode forward, hitting a shot from distance which left Yu rooted to his line.  Seongnam would continue to pressure for a second, but to no avail.

The visitors could do very little in search of an equalizer of their own, as their forays forward did little to trouble the hosts' back line in the later stages of the match.  Seongnam now look as though a top half finish is a possibility following a slow start to the season, while Seoul will look to rebound when they make the trip to the island this weekend.

Highlights: here 

Previous Meetings

Jeju United have surprisingly had a leg up on FC Seoul this season, taking four of a possible six points from the first two matches, the last being a 4-2 win last month on the strength of a hat-trick from Yun Il-lok and a three assist performance from Seo Jin-su.  The first meeting of the season in March ended in a goalless draw between the two.  

FC Seoul still have a marked advantage in the overall series however, having won eleven matches to Jeju's five, with eleven more encounters ending in a draw.

Team News

While Jeju are only one point off moving up the table at least on a temporary basis, their -22 goal differential ranks worst in the division and it doesn't look to get much better when they face Choi Yong-soo's side this weekend.  There has been a lack of continuity in the side since Choi Yun-kyum took over, with the team playing with a more attacking approach in some matches, and more defensively in others, but an even bigger concern is the side's overall lack of fitness of late, causing for over-rotation in the starting eleven.

Having scored only once in their last three matches, things couldn't be worse at the moment.  There was optimism when even more talent was brought in during the summer transfer window, but the results have been mixed at best, and new number one goalkeeper Oh Seung-hoon looked shockingly bad in the losses to Ulsan and Sangju.

It seems no matter how much this team has tried to build a competent squad this season, it has always come down to an apparent need for new players to get accustomed to playing in a new system, but it has not translated into wins and consequently a move up in the standings.  Should things continue on the same path, relegation is a very distinct possibility come the end of the campaign.

For FC Seoul, Park Chu-young is out with a calf injury.  He missed last week's match against Seongnam as well, meaning that Aleksandar Pesic and Park Dong-jin will be the starting duo up front.  Cho Young-wook is still out with a hamstring injury sustained in the first ten minutes of the match against Daegu FC a few weeks ago.

Ko Kwang-min returns from a two-match ban after being sent off for a straight red against Daegu, and will likely re-take his spot at left wingback.  Yoon Jong-gyu could start opposite him on the right.  Jung Won-jin is questionable to make the starting eleven due to some unconvincing form lately, but may keep his place owing to the fact that Go Yo-han will miss the match through suspension for accumulation of yellow cards.

Kim Won-kyun is out for the year, and Ha Dae-sung also has a calf injury, so he will not be a factor on the weekend.  Centre back Kim Nam-chun has been in the club reserves recently, but has not featured for the senior team since last season.

The Adversary

Seoul were unable to find the back of the net against Seongnam.

FC Seoul are not entirely out of the title race just yet, but have a ten point gap to make up with leaders Jeonbuk Hyundai.  Aside from a head-to-head with the two-time defending champions in two weeks' time, they have a favorable schedule ahead of them to open the fall months, with home dates against Incheon, Gyeongnam and Sangju in the month of September, as well as an away trip to the Steelyard to face Pohang, before they hit the road again in early October for the next installment of the Super Match at the Big Bird.

But, in order to have a chance to compete for the title, they will need to find some consistency, as they have won only once in their last five, a 2-1 win against Daegu at home at the beginning of the month, in a match which saw both clubs reduced to ten men.  Park Dong-jin scored what turned out to be the winner on the hour mark, but things have tailed off a bit since then.


Jeju would be hard-pressed to repeat the performance which saw them pull off what most would consider a shock result the last time the two sides played at the World Cup Stadium.  Both teams are in need of three points for different reasons from this one, as the visitors would like to stay within touching distance of the leaders with the regular portion of the season winding down, while the islanders desperately need to avoid falling further behind in the relegation race.  

Even though their recent form has left much to be desired, Jeju must get at least a draw from this one to stay relevant in their bid to avoid the drop.  They have had success against Seoul this season, and they will want it to continue.

Predicted Score: Jeju United 1-1 FC Seoul

[READ: K League 1 Round 27 Preview.]

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