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Preview: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Seongnam FC

K League 1 Preview: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

Following a prolific victory against Ulsan Hyundai, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors play host to a Seongnam FC side in good form. Can the K League champions continue their winning run or will they be undone by one of the most organised defences in the league?

Last Time Out

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 3-0 Ulsan Hyundai
A highly eventful fifteen-minute period early into the second half decided this game, with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors overwhelming the league leaders, Ulsan Hyundai. With the score goalless at the break, it took just five minutes into the second half for the home side to take the lead, with captain Shin Hyung-min pouncing on a poor pass out from the back from Ulsan's Yun Young-sun. Shin played through Moon Seon-min, only for a scrambling Yun to toe-poke the ball into his net in a bid to tackle the winger. Two minutes later and Jeonbuk had doubled their lead through a criminally unmarked Ricardo Lopes.

With the Horangi all at sea, the North Jeolla outfit continued to press and another two minutes later Lopes would strike the post. In a panic, Ulsan's Kim In-sung made contact with Moon Seon-min in the penalty area a matter of moments later with Moon easily falling to ground. The call was soft but technically accurate. Fortunately for Ulsan, Jeonbuk's Samuel Rosa would have his penalty saved by Kim Seung-gyu to keep the score at 2-0. Five minutes later, however, Jeonbuk would find their third through Lopes once more. The Brazilian found acres of space just within the area and made no mistake in converting when Moon Seon-min played the ball back to him. While Ulsan could point to individual mistakes, they were undoubtedly rattled and Jeonbuk took advantage to kill off this top-of-the-table clash. Ulsan did find chances late on including Junior striking the post, but the damage was already done by the time changes could be brought into play, such was the ferocity of Jeonbuk's attacking intent. The result moved Jeonbuk ahead of Ulsan to first in the table by a single point, with the home side knowing that they can afford no slip-ups from now on.


Seongnam FC 1-0 FC Seoul
Seongnam FC hosted FC Seoul in Tancheon and put in a fine display to see off the capital club. FC Seoul have had a number of fortuitous incidents this season, including an expected goal tally that betrays their expected position, but their luck seemed to run out against a well-organised Seongnam side. First-half chances from Seongnam's Kim Hyun-song and Moon Sang-yun should have been a big enough warning for Seoul to heed, yet Moon would be allowed to take the lead shortly after the restart. The midfielder was allowed time to drive into space and unleash from the edge of the area. After that, Seongnam continued to dominate proceedings, making light of Seoul's lofty position in the league table. However, the hosts were unable to extend their lead through some inaccurate shooting but it mattered little to the Seongnam faithful who thoroughly enjoyed a win over one of their bitter rivals.


Previous Meetings

The last time these two sides met at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium resulted in a 3-1 victory for the hosts in an entertaining affair. Goals from Kim Shin-wook, Son Jun-ho and Lee Dong-gook sealed it for Jeonbuk despite a fantastic goal from Éder in the first half.

Jeonbuk hold the upper hand in matches between these two sides, having won 21 of the 45 matches between the two sides in comparison to Seongnam's 17. The last league win in Jeonju for Seongnam came in July 2013, with a late own goal from Jeonbuk's Choi Eun-seong giving the visitors the three points on that occasion.

Team News

Jeonbuk come into this match with a fully fit squad free of suspension. Lee Seung-gi, the last of the long-term injuries, sat on the bench for the duration of the last game but should hopefully be fit enough for consideration soon. Furthermore, Ko Moo-yeol has returned to the club after completing his national service with Asan Mugunghwa. Ko leaves the K League 2 as the division's second-highest goalscorer and will provide additional power to an already strong attacking line.

Seongnam also have no suspensions coming into this match and may look to field a side similar to that which did so well against FC Seoul last weekend. Seongnam have not selected a foreign player in their matchday squad for the last two rounds due to an injury to their talismanic winger and former Jeonbuk player Éder being injured. The Brazilian remains doubtful for this encounter.

The Adversary

Seongnam FC have found form of late, winning four of their last five including scalps against local rivals Suwon Bluewings, Incheon United and FC Seoul, conceding just once over the period. Whilst they remain the second lowest-scoring team in the division, the organisation within their defence has been keen to their survival bid. The Magpies have conceded just 28 times, the third-lowest in the league, building a reputation for a solid defence which has seen them steer well away from trouble this season.

Seongnam manager Nam Ki-il has a tendency to set his team out with a back three, either sitting behind a five or four-man midfield. Against Seoul, Nam opped for the former, utilising a 3-4-3 to torment Seoul. It seems likely he may opt for this shape once more when his side travel to Jeonju.

Moon Sang-yun was fielded in place of the injured Éder and did well considering it was just his eighth appearance this campaign. Moon threatened throughout the first half against FC Seoul and delivered in the second with a superbly taken effort. The Seongnam manager will likely have little hesitation to utilise him for this match based upon his most recent performance.

Prediction

The intensity Jeonbuk demonstrated against Ulsan last Friday was perhaps the first time we have seen Jeonbuk at their ruthless best in the league this season. They need to maintain that focus coming into this match knowing that they are now in pole position in this title race, ensuring there are no silly mistakes. Seongnam have looked organised against tough opposition of recent, but are still having difficulty converting. The home side do have the tools to find a way through but expect a far more contested match than what the Ulsan game turned out to be due to Seongnam's willingness to sit back.

[READ: K League 1 Round 27 Preview.]

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