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FA Cup Final Preview: Daejeon Korail vs Suwon Samsung Bluewings

Following a 0-0 first leg midweek, it's all to play for in the second leg of the 2019 FA Cup Final. Korea Away Days' Scott Whitelock and Daejeon Korail FC blogger David Speirs return to preview the match and discuss who they think will lift the Cup Sunday afternoon. 

David Asks, Scott Answers

David Speirs: The Suwon support was great last night, both in noise and numbers, but after the final whistle they booed the team off the field, is there any chance they will turn on the team during the game on Sunday?

Scott Whitelock: The Suwon supporters are incredibly loyal and it's unlikely that they'll turn on the team during the game unless it is certain that Daejeon will win. However, if Daejeon were to pull off an incredible upset then you can almost certainly expect some sort of crowd trouble.

The discontent against manager Lee Limsaeng, and a selection of the playing squad, has been growing over the season and it almost hit boiling point after the 1-0 loss to Hwaseong FC in the semi-final, when angry supporters surrounded the Suwon bus and demanded an apology from the manager. If Suwon were to lose this final then that discontent would certainly hit new heights.

DS: I thought Lee Gwan-pyo was brilliant last night, both in helping the defense, and coming closest to scoring. You’d want him at Suwon next season, right?

SW: I have admittedly only seen him play three times this season but he does look like a player who can influence games from the centre of midfield, and that is the type of player that Suwon have been missing for a while now. It would be nice if he could take a step up to K2 or K1 next year but he might want to stay and face the challenge that the new K3 and K4 league system will pose next year.

DS: Adam Taggart missed Suwon’s two best chances last night, but he looked like the only player who could get in to these scoring positions. After being subbed off, how do you think he will be feeling before the second leg?

SW: He looked to be fuming when he was sitting on the bench and i'm sure he's chomping at the bit to make his mark on this final. It was an extremely odd decision to remove him at that point because he has been the only goal threat for Suwon all season. He had spurned a couple of good opportunities but the service to him had been poor from the first minute and Suwon looked less likely to score once he had left the pitch, leaving the Bluewings without a recognised striker on the field.

I thought that it was more so Lee Limsaeng's overly cautious tactics that cost the team rather than any fault from the forwards. Lee continues to field a back three despite facing opponents whose strategy is to defend and hit Suwon on the break, and he is unwilling to take risks in games. Not only did he field that back three but he also deployed two defensive midfielders, more known for their tackling rather than their passing, in the centre of the park. His decision to start Kim Minwoo, a left footed full-back, from the right hand side also meant that Suwon were seriously lacking in width on the night and Daejeon easily repelled most Suwon attacks.

Lee has proved time and time again that he has no plan B and there is no alternative to his preferred tactics. It was a poor performance from Suwon all around but the buck must stop with the manager.

DS: I claimed that Suwon were ‘flopping’ and ‘cheating to try and win a penalty’ last night. Obviously I’m biased, but what did you think from a Suwon point of view about the penalty claim and the rolling around the deck? 

SW: Let's be fair, it wasn't only Suwon doing that. Both teams were falling around and trying to gain advantages wherever they could and it made for an ugly game. That gamesmanship is part of the Korean game and almost every team throughout the leagues do it. It's something I don't like, but it is prevalent in the Korean game.

As for Suwon's role in it, I thought it was odd at the time. Suwon were the team with the most talent (on paper) in the game and should have been looking to keep possession and probe for openings. However, they seemed more than happy to just gain free kicks and look to lob hopeful balls down the channels and into the box.

As for Antonis' penalty claim, I don't think it was a penalty as the Daejeon defender didn't make any forward motion towards the Australian's face. But there was a high arm that clearly caught Antonis in the cheek and it would be extremely unfair to say that he dived to win a penalty.


We discuss what to expect from the Final and what it means to each club with Suwon and Socceroos striker Adam Taggart

Scott Asks, David Answers

Scott Whitelock: How would you assess Daejeon Korail’s performance in the 1st leg? 

David Speirs: Exactly what was needed, they defended in numbers, tackled aggressively, but didn’t let themselves get pushed back too much. My only worry was how much it took out of them, it was noticeable that pretty much every Korail player look exhausted at the final whistle, and I hope they can fully recover by Sunday.

SW: Do you think Daejeon will have seen any weaknesses in Suwon that they could exploit in the second leg? 

DS: Suwon’s weakness is that they are such heavy favourites, I thought they looked short of ideas by the second half, and were growing in frustration. If they don’t score early they might commit too much to attack in the second leg, and leave themselves open to counter attacks. Something Korail will definitely look to exploit.

SW: Daejeon could now win the cup with just a solitary away goal. Do you think that will alter their mindset in any way? 

DS: Not until late in the game, I hope it will be a similar game to the first leg. I think most people at Korail would be happy with another 0-0 and see who has more bottle when it comes to a penalty shoot out.

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