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Super Match Preview: Suwon Samsung Bluewings vs FC Seoul

Super Match Preview: Suwon Samsung Bluewings vs FC Seoul K League 1 Round 33
The third and final Super Match of 2019 will see Suwon Samsung Bluewings take on FC Seoul this Sunday at Big Bird in K League 1 Round 33. FA Cup Finalists Suwon will welcome their bitter rivals from the capital on the back of an extra time win over fourth tier Hwaseong FC in the FA Cup semifinal, a game which gave manager Lee Limsaeng a stay of execution. Extra time and with just a few days to prepare, fatigue may be an issue for Suwon. For Seoul, though, a third Super Match win of the season will be most welcome to the travelling faithful who have seen just four wins since the last time these two teams met in June.


via Soccerway

Last Time Out

Suwon Samsung Bluewings 3-0 Hwaseong FC (FA Cup)

In league play, a rotated Suwon Bluewings side lost to title favourites Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in Jeonju on Sunday thanks to goals from Lee Seunggi and Moon Seonmin. The reason for such rotation which saw the likes of Adam Taggart, Yeom Kihun and Suwon's other big hitters rested, was to ensure of a fully fit squad ready for the visit of Hwaseong on Wednesday.

Trailing by a goal to nil heading into the second leg of the 2019 Korean FA Cup semifinal thanks to Moon Junho's 24th minute strike in the first leg, Suwon Bluewings had it all to do in Hwaseong to salvage their season. Furthermore, for manager Lee Limsaeng, who after the first leg defeat said that he would step down should Suwon fail to win the cup, it was a match which the former Home United manager's career was hinging on. However, a Yeom Kihun hat-trick in extra time ensured that the Bluewings will go on to face Daejeon Korail in the 2019 Korean FA Cup Final.


FC Seoul 1-2 Sangju Sangmu

FC Seoul's poor run of form continued on Sunday when army team Sangju Sangmu, who also had an FA Cup semifinal second leg to worry about just a few days later, ran away as 2-1 winners at Seoul World Cup Stadium.

The visitors went ahead through Ryu Seungwoo, who managed to find space in between the full back and centre back, to bear down on goal before rounding Yang Hanbin and slotting the ball home. A catalogue of errors from FC Seoul, but a cool finish from the former Bayer Leverkusen man. Seoul managed to get themselves back on level terms immediately after the restart, Osmar putting the ball on Pešić's head for the Serbian to nod in his first goal since the last Super Match in June and tenth of the campaign.

Seoul went in search for a winner and, with five minutes left, Choi Yongsoo had put Osmar up front as a makeshift striker in an attempt to hold the ball up in the final third. However, after Go Yohan's hopeful ball into a crowded area blinded by sunlight, the Spaniard was unable to connect and instead Sangju broke away. With Osmar up top, Seoul's two centre backs Hyang Hyunsoo and Jung Hyeoncheol were too far across to the right-hand side, and with Go Yohan failing to get back into position after cheaply giving the ball away, Song Siwoo had acres of space to run into before firing past Yang Hanbin with just a few minutes left. "Siwoo" time lives on, Seoul's fight for ACL qualification is in need of resuscitation.


Previous Meetings

Overall, since 2004 and the FC Seoul era of this rivalry (post LG Cheetahs), Seoul have 23 wins to Suwon's have 20 wins and 14 draws. However, in the last five seasons, since Suwon last beat Seoul in the league, the Bluewings have just one win, a 5-1 demolition in April 2015. However, the two sides did meet in the 2016 FA Cup Final which, after a 2-1 Suwon win at home, and a 2-1 Seoul win in the capital, the Bluewings triumphed following a dramatic penalty shootout which went down to the goalkeepers, to then go on and lift the cup. But, in the bread and butter of the league, Seoul have nine wins and seven draws, and remain unbeaten against Suwon since the aforementioned 5-1 loss.

Later that season the two sides went on to play out the highest scoring Super Match in history when Seoul ran out 4-3 winners; Yun Jutae scored all four for Seoul, initially putting Seoul 3-0 up with goals on 28, 45, and 55 minutes before Santos pulled one back for Suwon just a minute after Yun had completed his hat-trick. Yun added his and Seoul's fourth just after the hour mark before goals from Kwon Changwoon two minutes later and Shin Segye in the 90th ensured of a nervy ending for Choi Yongsoo's side.

The most recent meeting also saw Seoul net four thanks to a brace from both Osmar and Pešić. Han Euikwon had levelled for Suwon after Osmar had rifled in a rocket of a free-kick with just 11 minutes on the clock but goals from Pešić on 61, Osmar's second on 79, and Pešić again on 82 put the capital club in total control before an 90th minute Adam Taggart strike halved the deficit.

The last time these two bitter rivals met in Suwon, a Park Chuyoung penalty deep into injury time salvaged a point for FC Seoul after Dejan, formerly of FC Seoul, had given Suwon the lead. Park's spot kick was actually his second of the afternoon having saw his initial spot kick a saved a few minutes earlier by Bluewings custodian Noh Donggeon.

Team News

Suwon Bluewings

After resting the likes of Yang Sangmin, Adam Taggart, Hong Chul, Terry Antonis, Noh Donggeon, and Choi Sunggeun for the trip to Jeonju, all five started in the FA Cup semifinal second leg fixture at home to Hwaseong FC and will be expected to be in the match day 18 again on Sunday. One man who won't be in the squad come Sunday, however, is Brazilian forward Waguininho who is suspended following his straight red card away to Jeonju on Sunday; the former Bucheon man will serve a one-match ban. Suwon will not have any other players ruled out through suspension but right-back Shin Segye, centre back Ko Myeongseok, defensive midfielder Park Hyungjin, central midfielder Kim Jongwoo, as well as forwards Dejan, Adam Taggart, and Oh Hyungyu are all just one yellow away from missing Suwon's next match. Jo Sungjin is expected to miss the game through injury.

Striker Dejan Damjanović, a man who is as synonymous with the Super Match as any having played and scored in these games for both teams, has been frozen out by Lee Limsaeng of late. The former Montenegrin international was offered a rate start in the first leg of the FA Cup semifinal but was then hauled off at half time and was left out of the squad entirely for the second leg. Furthermore, the K League legend was the subject of much media attention, and indeed criticism from his own captain Yeom Kihun, after attending Seoul E-Land's home fixture with Asan Mugunghwa on Tuesday, 24 hours prior to the Hwaseong second leg. The 38 year-old's last start was actually in the last Super Match in mid-June and, judging from Lee Limsaeng's last five team selections, is unlikely to feature come Sunday.

Suwon Samsung Bluewings lineup versus Hwaseong FC, FA Cup Semifinal second leg.

FC Seoul 

Seoul manager Choi Yongsoo may not have any suspensions which to concern himself with but may well be having a long hard thing about how to rectify his side's defensive problems. Seoul's lack of depth in the full-back areas is a real concern, Ko Kwangmin was taken off in the 84th minute with a slight injury during the 2-1 defeat to Sangju at the weekend, appearing to have pulled a muscle when sliding in to thwart Song Siwoo who had found space on the edge of the six-yard box. The inexperienced Shin Jaewon was brought on and, with Go Yohan shifting to left wing-back, Shin slotted in on the right. A lack of organisation for Sangju's second goal, with Go Yohan in particular culpable for allowing Song Siwoo the time and space to bear down on goalkeeper Yang Hanbin to fire in the winner, will be a real concern for Coach Choi.

Should Ko be deemed not fit enough to start the Super Match then Choi's options are Kim Hangil, as per the 1-1 draw with Gyeongnam, or either Yoon Jonggyu or Shin Jaewon with Go Yohan shifting to the left. Elsewhere, centre back Kim Wonkyun is out for the season and midfielders Ha Daesung and Song Jinhyung have seemingly played their last games in an FC Seoul shirt. Former club captain Ha hasn't been seen since picking up a calf injury against Sangju in late March, amassing just eight minutes this term. Song, meanwhile, hasn't featured for Seoul's first team since the 2-0 loss to Daegu last season.

FC Seoul starting lineup versus Sangju Sangmu, K League 1 R32.

Eulji Lewis

The Adversary

Suwon manager Lee Limsaeng said that he will resign if the Bluewings fail to win the FA Cup this season.
The 2-0 defeat to Jeonbuk last Sunday, coupled with Sangju's win over Seoul, as well as Pohang's 1-0 away win over Gyeongnam, meant that Suwon will definitely be in the lower half of the split for the remainder of the season. The Bluewings slipped to eighth in the table and, given the fact that Seongnam are just two points behind, could slip even further to compound what has been a disastrous league campaign for the fallen giants. Looking back to this stage last season Suwon were sat in fourth place and with 13 wins under their belts, seven of which came at home. But after the league split into the Championship Round and Relegation Round, no further wins came. Suwon lost four and drew one of their last five matches and also crashed out of the AFC Champions League in the semifinals, despite having a two goal lead in both legs. Suwon's poor league form in 2019 stems back to last year and under Lee Limsaeng, who took over during the winter, finding an identity and a way of playing has become an issue.

Even with 32 matches of the season played, Lee doesn't appear to know what his best eleven or even best formation is, or how to get the best out of the club's most experienced player, Dejan Damjanović. A tepid 2019 is merely a hangover from 2018 and, despite having the league's most potent goalscorer in Adam Taggart, will have seventh place at best to aim for. Suwon, of course, do have an FA Cup Final to look forward to after the 3-0 second leg win over Hwaseong FC on Wednesday at home. In all competitions Suwon have won just eight games all season, four of which came in the FA Cup and, in the cases of Gwangju FC, Gyeongju KHNP, and Hwaseong, have come against lower league opposition. After 32 leagues matches Suwon have 10 wins, 10 draws and 12 defeats and of those 10 wins, only four have been at home.Two have come against Jeju United, who currently prop up the K League 1 table, one to Incheon, who are also embroiled in a relegation dog fight, and one against a Pohang side who then went on a six match win-less run with four straight losses thereafter.

Formation wise, a 3-4-1-3/3-4-3 is what Coach Lee is most likely to opt for with a first eleven not too dissimilar to that which beat Hwaseong on Wednesday expected. Youngster Jeon Sejin started on the bench against Hwaseong but game on and made a real impact, winning the penalty for Suwon's third of the night, and generally caused a nuisance to a tired Hwaseong defence. The direct nature of Jeon Sejin may be enough for Lee Limsaeng give him a start in place of Han Euikwon, who came off at half time for Oh Hyungyu.

What To Watch

Heading into the midweek FA Cup clash with Hwaseong, Suwon had failed to win their last five with three defeats. During that time the Bluewings managed to score just once, Kim Minwoo's 37th minute strike from close range against Sangju in the league three rounds ago being the Bluewings' solitary strike. Suwon, even with Taggart, have struggled for goals and for form of late. However, a hat-trick from Yeom Kihun, and a place in the FA Cup Final will have given the downtrodden Bluewings a much-needed boost in morale. That said, after going 120 minutes in difficult conditions, fatigue is bound to be a factor come Sunday.

Meanwhile, whilst FC Seoul have had a whole week to rest and prepare, they head into the Super Match on a three-match win-less run and haven't kept a cleansheet since the 0-0 draw at home to Gangwon in Round 25 back on 11th August. Seoul's defensive problems have been all too apparent and so it will be interesting to see how Seoul's back line responds to the Sangju defeat, particularly the manner in which both goals were conceded. The first half will be very important to both teams and so how both Suwon and Seoul approach things will be intriguing. Seoul cannot afford to concede goals like the did against Sangju, whilst Suwon will be buoyant from reaching the FA Cup Final, fatigue is sure to play a part given the Bluewings' limited options from the bench.


Predicting what will happen in a Super Match is never easy. Seoul have enjoyed this unbeaten run against Suwon but it will have to come to an end at some stage. But, with Suwon's lacklustre home form, and some very tired legs, it may be a game which starts brightly but peters out in the second half. Seoul need to be more cautious and much more organised when in transition. If Seoul have worked on this during the week then Seoul might just get a positive result.

[READ: K League 1 Round 33 Preview.]

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