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Preview: FC Seoul vs Gyeongnam FC

Preview: FC Seoul vs Gyeongnam FC K League 1 Round 31
Looking to bounce back from Saturday's defeat to Pohang Steelers, FC Seoul host a Gyeongnam FC side battling bravely against the threat of relegation this Wednesday in K League 1 Round 31. There are just three matches remaining before the league splits into two and so Seoul will be keen to ensure they still have a cushion over the ACL-chasing pack. For Kim Jongboo's Gyeongnam, a win at Sangam would put daylight between themselves and two bottom two following Jeju United's win over Seongnam and Incheon United's draw with Daegu FC at the weekend.

Overview

via Soccerway

Last Time Out

Pohang Steelers 2-1 FC Seoul

A frantic end to proceedings at the Steelyard saw three goals scored in the space of just nine minutes to see Pohang out-edge FC Seoul with a 2-1 win. Seoul defender Lee Woonghee was adjudged to have brought down Steelers striker Stanislav Iljutcenko in the box, resulting in the referee pointing to the spot. Aleksandar Paločević stepped up to convert, sending Yoo Sanghoon the wrong way in the process.

However, just three minutes later and Seoul were level; centre back Hwang Hyunsoo getting to the byline to send a ball into the box for Park Chuyoung to glance into the bottom corner. Both teams went for a winner but it was the hosts who went in to claim all three points, Wanderson turning the ball home from inside the box, latching in to Lee Gwanghyeok's cross from the right.

Highlights



Gyeongnam FC P-P Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

Gyeongnam FC's K League 1 Round 30 fixture with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors was called off due to the adverse weather conditions affecting the South Gyeongsang area.

Previous Meetings

The two previous meetings between FC Seoul and Gyeongnam FC this term have gone the way of the capital club, both matches ended in 2-1 wins. In April, a first Aleksandar Pešić goal since joining in the winter three minutes before half time gave the hosts the lead before Cho Youngwook made it two in the 85th minute. Kim Jongpil scored an injury time consolation goal for the Reds to ensure of a nervy ending but Seoul held on to seal the win.

In June at Changwon Football Center, Park Chuyoung gave Seoul an 87th minute lead before Lee Youngjae levelled in the 90th for the Reds. However, deep into injury time, turning in Park Chuyoung's pass across the six-yard box, Osmar fired in a winner to seal a dramatic win.

Last season, however, Gyeongnam's first back in the top flight in four years, it was the Reds who picked up two wins and a draw, Seoul's only win over the Changwon-based side was in the FA Cup via a penalty shootout.

Overall, from 33 meetings, Seoul have 15 to Gyeongnam's eight and 10 draws. In the capital, there have been 15 encounters between these two sides with eight wins for Seoul and just three wins for Gyeongnam and four draws.


Eulji Lewis


Team News

Versatile Spaniard Osmar Ibáñez Barba is available for selection again after serving a one-match ban. The 31 year-old is expected to slot in on the left-hand side of Choi Yongsoo's back three alongside Jung Hyeoncheol and Hwang Hyunsoo. Lee Woonghee's error, which lead to Pohang's spotkick at the weekend, the second time an FC Seoul centre back error which lead to a goal in as many games, means that the former Sangju and Daejeon man may be dropped to the bench. Left wing-back Ko Kwangmin is suspended and so Kim Hangil is likely to deputise.

The Adversary

Uroš Đerić (C) has six goals for Gyeongnam since joining in the summer.
Gyeongnam FC find themselves embroiled in a relegation battle, a stark contrast from last season when the Reds were fighting it out with Ulsan Hyundai for second place. However, An AFC Champions League campaign, not to mention the departure of last season's K League 1 MVP Marcão, and injuries to key players like Takahiro Kunimoto and Negueba, has meant that Gyeongnam have have lacked that same verve from last season. Gyeongnam's top scorer was Kim Seungjun, a versatile striker signed from Ulsan during the winter, but the 25 year-old has amassed just six league goals in 26 appearances. In just eight appearances in Gyeongnam colours, Uroš Đerić has scored that same amount.

Đerić will be key for Gyeongnam come Wednesday night as Kim Jongboo and his men look to put further daylight between themselves and the bottom two. Coach Kim has mixed it up somewhat formation wise having set his side up in a 5-3-2, 3-4-2-1, 5-4-1, and 3-4-3 in recent weeks. Serbian striker Uroš Đerić has been used as an out-and-out centre forward, either as the lone man, as was the case in the 2-0 win over Suwon a few weeks ago, during which Đerić bagged a brace, or in a two with Luc, as per the 3-3 draw with Ulsan during which Đerić also scored twice, including a 92nd minute equaliser from the penalty spot. Away from home, Kim Jongboo may want to get extra bodies in midfield and so, certainly for the first 60 minutes or so, Đerić is likely to be deployed as a lone striker relying on service from the flanks. At the opposite end of the pitch, Lee Gwangjin is still suspended having not being able to serve his one-match ban against Jeonbuk at the weekend.

What To Watch

Park Chuyoung (L) and Park Dongjin (R) have 14 goals and 10 assists between them in 2019.
What will be interesting is who starts up front for FC Seoul on Wednesday night. Since returning from injury, Pešić has gone seven games without a goal, whilst his usual striker partner Park Chuyoung has three goals and two assists during that same period. The veteran now has eight goals to Pešić's nine for the season, but also has seven assists. Should Coach Choi stick with the former Red Star Belgrade striker then it will be seen as a massive vote of confidence but time is of the essence with Gangwon breathing down Seoul's neck. 

Park Chuyoung is in a rich vein of form at the moment having scored in each of Seoul's last two games as well as laying on two assists in the Gyeongin Derby win on September 15th. However, the 34 year-old cannot be expected to play three games in eight days and so may well be rested for the visit of Gyeongnam. However, given Pešić's barren spell following the eight-week layoff, which the player himself said was the longest of his career, Park may have to start. Although Pešić's performances are improving as the 27 year-old gets back up to speed, Coach Choi may look to Cho Youngwook, Yun Jutae, or most likely Park Dongjin to start in his place should he look to rest him for the visit of Sangju on Sunday. Whilst Cho and Yun have been limited to just seven starts between them, Park is performing extremely well. The former Gwangju FC centre back as reinvented himself as an effective striker, scoring six goals for the season and laying on three assists. Whoever it is who starts start up front for FC Seoul on Wednesday night will be under pressure to deliver as Seoul push for an ACL spot.

Prediction

Seoul will have to find a way to break Gyeongnam down who will inevitably look to get men behind the ball and look to hit Seoul on the counter with the likes of Kim Hyogi and Takahiro Kunimoto outside, supplying Đerić. Seoul got caught out against Pohang by leaving space in behind the full backs and so will have to be a bit more streetwise; whoever fills in for Ko Kwangmin has big shoes to fill and, at times, Seoul will need to make a back five with Go Yohan and Ko's replacement dropping into full back. Chance creation as been an issue for Seoul and so a draw might be the most likely outcome of this match, unless Lee Myungjoo and Ikromjon Alibaev can get Seoul humming in the final third.

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