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Preview: Suwon FC vs Daejeon Citizen

Preview: Suwon FC vs Daejeon Citizen K League 2
Four games unbeaten with four successive cleansheets, Daejeon Citizen make the short trip north to Castle Park to take on a Suwon FC side who still harbour hopes of a place in the playoffs. Suwon's 2-0 win over Anyang in midweek kept Kim Daeui's side in the hunt for a fist playoff campaign in four years, but given the six-point gap between fourth, a win at home to the Purples will be seen as a must. Citizen, meanwhile, are fighting it out with Seoul E-Land to avoid finishing bottom of the the table.

Overview

via Soccerway

Last Time Out

FC Anyang 0-2 Suwon FC

Testament as to just how unpredictable K League 2 can be, Suwon FC, who had gone seven games without a win, picked up an impressive 2-0 away victory over third place FC Anyang on Wednesday night. Chisom Egbuchunam added his 13th of the season to move within just three goals of the league's leading scorer Felipe of Gwangju FC. Following Chisom's effort just after the restart, club captain Baek Sungdong added a second on the hour mark to seal a long overdue win for Kim Daeui's men, their first since Suwon last faced Saturday's opponents Daejeon Citizen.

Highlights




Daejeon Citizen 0-0 Busan IPark

A spirited performance at Purple Arena on Tuesday night earned Daejeon Citizen a point against automatic promotion hopefuls Busan IPark. Whilst the visitors dominated large spells of the match with 60/40% possession, the south coast side failed to carve out any real clear-cut chances. The result of which was manager Cho Dukje look to his substitutes bench, introducing Rômulo, Lee Jeongheop, and Lee Dongjun in the second half in a bid to find that elusive goal.

Daejeon themselves showed promise; Park Sooil tested goakeeper Choi Pilsoo with a long ranger and seemed determined to find the back of the net from distance thereafter with a couple of speculative efforts. Former Jeju United midfielder Park Suchang also thought he'd found a breakthrough late on but his half volley from an acute angle hit the side netting and went out for a goalkick.

Much like his opposite number, Daejeon manager Lee Heungsil also looked to the bench to go for a last gasp winner, bringing on Ramazotti and Antonio. However, neither could find a way through, despite Antonio's best efforts to round Busan's entire defence instead of laying the ball off, and the game ended as an entertaining 0-0 draw. The result meant that the Purples, and goalkeeper Park Juwon, have gone four games without conceding a single goal. Four points from their last two outings now puts Daejeon level on points with Seoul E-Land as the two teams battle to avoid the K League 2 wooden spoon.

Highlights



Previous Meetings

For the Purple Arena faithful, Daejeon's record against Suwon FC of late does not make for great reading. Daejeon have lost each of the last four meetings between the two clubs and have often done so in such excruciating circumstances. When Daejeon hosted Suwon in July, Citizen actually took the lead via an Aurelian Chițu penalty but goals from Baek Sungdong and Cho Yumin for Suwon saw the game turn on its head. A long range free kick for Park Sooil, his first goal as a professional, restored parity but Daejeon conceded twice in time added on to condemn the downtrodden side to defeat, An Byongjun and Baek Songdong with strikes deep into injury time.

Furthermore, in October last year, Daejeon came back from behind not once but twice and thought they had done enough to earn a valuable away point only for that man again, Baek Sungdong, to break Daejeon hearts with a headed winner in the dying embers.

Park Inhyeok (L) celebrates scoring his first ever K League goal during the 2-1 win over Suwon in April 2018.
Daejeon's last win over Suwon was a 1-0 victory at home almost exactly a year ago, Ko Myeongseok with the only goal of the game. However, Daejeon's last win at Castle Park was April last year when goals from Shohruh Gadoev and Park Inheok gave what was then Ko Jongsoo's side a 2-1 win.

Team News

Daejeon Citizen will be without young centre back Lee Jisol through suspension after the U20 World Cup runner up picked up a sixth yellow of the campaign against Busan. Yun Kyungbo or Lee Jungmoon will perhaps be seen as Lee Heungsil's preferred replacements for Lee. Elsewhere, Kim Seungseop, Hwang Jaehoon, Yoon Shinyoung, Yun Kyungbo, Park Inhyeok, and Shin Hakyoung are all just one yellow away from missing Daejeon's next game.

Manager Lee Heungsil seemed to have found a settled defensive line, opting for Lee Jisol in the middle of a back three with 19 year-old Kim Taehyun and Lee Ingyu on each side in a back three, and so a forced change to a suddenly much tighter defence will be an irritation for the former Ansan Greeners coach. The three centre backs are flanked by Park Mingyu, on loan from FC Seoul, and Park Sooil who will be expected to offer just as must going forward as in defence. The defensive midfielder role in Coach Lee's 3-1-4-2 has been wing-back Hwang Jaehoon in recent weeks, but former captain Ahn Sanghyeon came off the bench in place of Hwang to shore things up in the latter stages of the 0-0 draw with Busan.

Kim Seungseop, normally a winger or outside forward, has been deployed as an attacking central midfield, and Lee Jungmoon, a first year professional once dubbed the 'Yonsei Pogba' having shown great promise whilst with Yonsei University, has been asked to partner Park Inhyeok up front, despite being a centre back or defensive midfielder by trade. It is clear, then, that Lee Heungsil is still unsure of what his best team is, nor indeed which positions his players should be deployed.

Summer imports Ramazotti and Antonio have had to make do with appearances from the bench, but after a positive showing on Tuesday night, may be called upon for the trip to Suwon. Ramazotti's ability to hold the ball up and lay it off will be key if selected against Suwon, likewise the direct nature of Antonio. However, Antonio has to learn when to release the ball instead of attempting to do it all by himself. Daejeon like to pass the ball and, at times, can play some attractive football but have had some rotten luck with defensive mishaps. Finishing has also been an issue, however, as the Purples are the lowest scorers in the division with just 18 and so it might be time to install Ramazotti and Antonio to the starting lineup once again.

Daejeon Citizen starting lineup versus Busan IPark, K League 2 R29.


The Adversary

Suwon FC's 2-0 win over Anyang in midweek puts them on a goal difference of zero but, because Kim Daeui's men have a superior goals scored record to both Asan Mugunghwa in fifth and Ansan Greeners in fourth, a late surge for the playoffs could be possible. At present Suwon are six points behind Asan, and with just eight games remaining and so time is of the essence for the 2015 K League Challenge (K League 2) playoff winners to achieve promotion once again. During the 2015 playoff run-in, Suwon lost just twice in their last 10 with five wins and three draws. To do something similar, Suwon would need to pick up points against fellow promotion hopefuls Asan Mugunghwa and Ansan Mugunghwa as well as tricky trips to Jeonnam, and Busan not to mention the visit of Gwangju in Round 34. Suwon's next three matches could determine whether they have anything to play for thereafter; Daejeon and Asan at home will be matches they will be expected to win, like wise the trip to ninth placed Jeonnam on 2nd October. For Kim Daeui's men, it is now or never.

Coach Kim has set his side up in a 4-3-3 for the 2-0 win over Anyang and so, given that it was his side's first win in seven, the former Suwon Bluewings scout may opt to stick with it. Prior to that, Suwon had been set up in a 4-1-4-1 for the 1-1 draw away to Bucheon, a 4-2-3-1 for the 2-2 home draw with Jeonnam, a 4-3-3 for the 1-1 away stalemate with Asan, a 4-2-3-1 for the defeats to Ansan and Seoul E-Land. Despite the varying formations, Baek Sungdong has been constant, predominantly operating as a central midfielder, whilst Chisom has either been ushered out on the flanks despite being the team's leading goalscorer.

Goalkeeper Jeon Suhyun has managed to earn himself a place in the team after playing understudy to Park Hyungsoon for most of the campaign. The 33 year-old could face two former clubs in as many matches having kept a cleansheet in the 2-0 win over FC Anyang, where he was first choice last season, and so will be expected to keep his place for the visit of Daejeon with whom he had a spell in 2017. Former Daejeon Citizen defenders Yun Junsung and Jang Junyoung may not feature, however. Yun, who has started 17 games for Suwon, was on the bench against Anyang and has sat out Suwon's last three whilst Jang has made 21 appearances this term but was absent from the matchday squad on Wednesday night.


Suwon FC starting lineup versus FC Anyang, K League 2 Round 29.


What To Watch


Should Daejeon manager Lee Heungsil stick with a back three and wingbacks, only 27 year-old Lee Ingyu has made over 100 career appearances, whilst 19 year-old Kim Taehyun, on loan from Ulsan, and 20 year-old Lee Jisol suspended, it is going to be a big test for whoever steps into replace. Daejeon's goal has not been breached once in their last four games, despite having 11 shots find the target. Lee, however, along with Kim Taehyun, who had been two of the three Coach Lee's 3-5-2, are getting their first meaningful minutes of their fledgling careers thus far.

How Daejeon's backline can handle Chisom in particular, who has scored two goals against Daejeon already this season, will be something to keep an eye on. Away from home, Park Sooil on the right and Park Mingyu on the left will be expected to drop back to make a five in order to prevent the likes of Chisom and Kim Byungoh from finding space in behind the wing-backs.

Prediction

Daejeon Citizen are unbeaten in four but have just one win during that time, a 1-0 win with help from VAR to award the Purples a penalty. The point against Busan will certainly feel well-earned given the league positions of the two teams and so Daejeon will head into Saturday's match feeling a touch more confident. That said, so will the hosts after an unlikely win over Anyang.

If Daejeon can defend in a similar manner to which they did against Busan, then a positive result on the road is not beyond them. However, Daejeon's lack of fire power is what is hindering them and so a draw may be the best they can hope for, especially given the goal scoring form of Chisom for Suwon.


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