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Preview: Daegu FC vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

With three more rounds to play in FINAL A, Daegu FC and Jeonbuk Hyundai will go head to head at DGB Daegu Bank Park on Sunday evening. The metropolitan team are looking to keep their ACL hopes alive, while the North Jeolla outfit are hoping to keep chasing league leaders Ulsan Hyundai. K League United's Daegu FC columnist Muyeol Jung will have a look at this clash.

Last Time Out

Pohang Steelers 0-0 Daegu FC

ACL place contenders Daegu FC had to settle for a point after mediocre performances against a 10-man Pohang Steelers last weekend. It was a good chance to narrow down the gap between 3rd placed Seoul and themselves, but the citizen club were left with the four-point gap.

Pohang dominated the entire first half from the beginning through their wingbacks in high positions inside Daegu's half, creating a couple of good chances, but the Steelers failed to hit the target. Meanwhile, a Cesinha-less visitors looked unable to move forward through the build up, just heavily relying on long ball towards twin towers Edgar and Park Gidong's heads. The game entered the break as a stalemate right after Pohang right wingback Lee Sangki was shown a direct red card for reckless foul on the touchline.

Thanks to a man advantage, the game looked very favourable to the Sky Blues, but surprisingly, they didn't make the best use of it at all. Daegu brought in Hwang Soonmin and Kim Daewon to revitalise their attack, but the visitors' effort were not enough to open the scoring. In the end, the game finished in a goalless draw after the hosts wasted a few chances to score in stoppage time.


Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 1-1 FC Seoul

Title contender Jeonbuk Hyundai drew 1-1 against FC Seoul at home and sit in the 2nd three points adrift of league leaders Ulsan.

Nearly 20 minutes after kick off, the first goal came to the capital team from a corner kick when FC Seoul defender Hwang Hyunsoo put a loose ball into the roof of the net. After going 1-0 down, the Motors kept on driving for a goal, but they didn't find a way past through Yoo Sanghoon.

The second half started with K League legendary player Lee Donggook coming on for the hosts. Afterwards, Jeonbuk were desperately trying to find an equaliser with more changes, but Choi Yongsoo's lmen remained organised and resolute until the 85th minute. When the ball was put inside the box, the substitute Lee Donggook swept the ball into the back of net and gave the hosts a lifeline. After that, neither side added a second and had to share the points.


Previous Meetings

Head to head, Daegu FC have been always a pushover for Jeonbuk with only eight wins and ten draws from 40 meetings. Particularly, since 2017 season when the citizen club made it back to K League 1, they have managed to claim only one victory with three draws from nine meetings.

Despite the heavily lopsided balance, 2019 campaign saw a precisely well balanced record between the two with one win for each with one draw. Also, the latest meeting saw Daegu FC pull off the historic win over Jeonbuk on the road. their first in seven years after the citizen club were heavily embarrassed by ruthless Jeonbuk at DGB Daegu Bank Park this summer thanks to Moon Seonmin's hat-trick and Daegu shot stopper Choi Youngeun's dismissal.

Meanwhile, Daegu's recent two wins over the North Jeolla side were all recorded on the road in 2012 and 2019, the citizen's latest home win over the Motors dates back to 18th April 2007 when the Sky Blues beat Jeonbuk 1-0 through Brazilian striker Luis's winner.


Team News

Not only was it a disappointing result, it was also an unbelievable result for Daegu FC. In spite of a man advantage for the second half, the Sky Blues didn't capitalise on it and could have lost to a 10-man side.

It might be too harsh on a team who have already achieved phenomenal success, but there seemed to be a lack of hunger for the ACL place. Perhaps it was just because of the absence of Cesinha on the pitch, but considering what they have shown without the Brazilian before, the lacklustre performance were enough to be under fire. Additionally, the team selection Daegu manager Andre made remains questionable. Playing Edgar and Park Gidong upfront together certainly slowed down the team's speed on the build up and never worked well this season at all except only a few last minutes when a long ball play was needed. Moreover, the two didn't have any shots on target nor they were backed up behind.

Cesinha has been arguably the most influential figure in Andre's side with 13 goals and 9 assists in K League this term.

For the home fixture against Jeonbuk, Daegu's playmaker Cesinha will return to the starting list from his one-game ban, while his understudy Shin Changmoo will be out for one game suspension. Also, I expect Daegu's youngster Kim Daewon to be named in the starting lineup again in place of towering forward Park Gidong. Meanwhile, summer signing Brazilian winger Rildo remains out due to injury, according to a local news paper. The news reports that it will take him another month to get fully recovered at earliest.

The Adversary

A 1-1 draw to FC Seoul and Ulsan's 2-0 win mean that Jeonbuk are sitting the second in the table with three points adrift of leaders Ulsan. There's a still chance for Jeonbuk to clinch the title as there will be still one more meeting scheduled between the Motors and the Horangi in November, but the North Jeolla team need to maintain three points gap until then. As a result, Jeonbuk are in a desperate need for a win over Daegu this Sunday.

Last week, Portuguese manager José Morais set up his side in a 4-1-4-1 formation with Kim Seungdae as striker, supported by Lee Seunggi and Lim Sunyoung behind along with skillful wingers Lopes and Moon Seonmin. Despite attack-minded players in the starting lineup, they had a lot of difficulty in breaking down Seoul's thick and compact defence. Particularly, former Pohang attacker Kim Seungdae who hardly created any chances and so was brought off the pitch on 75 minutes.

For a trip the Daegu this Sunday, the Portuguese will want to field a full strength team but there's two areas in particular where he need to make the best decision. In previous game, left wingback Lee Juyong was forced to play on the right-hand side instead of the injured; Korea international Lee Yong (knee) and Choi Chulsoon (ligaments). In a post match interview, the gaffer says that Lee Yong has been on the recovery and they will assess him for Daegu game. Otherwise Jeonbuk youth product Lee Juyoung could step up again to take his place.

40 year-old striker Lee Donggook is still active with eight goals and two assists in K League this season.
Also, attacking wise, the gaffer needs to think over which player to start between Lee Donggook and Kim Seungdae along with Lopes and Moon Seonmin after their summer signing Samuel Rosa is out due to a calf injury till the mid November at least. Former Pohang attacker Kim Seungdae was expected to play a major role in Morais's short passing football, but hasn't earned much minutes with little contribution to the team. Alternatively, 'The Lion King' Lee Donggook, acting as regular substitute under the Portuguese, still remains effective. After he came off the bench last weekend, Seoul's defence became more vulnerable and he finally leveled the game with a clinical strike inside the box. As a result, Lee Donggook looks like a more preferred choice from the gaffer against Daegu. Also, the fact that the veteran striker completed the full 90 minutes in the Daegu away game and showed his ability right after towering forward Kim Shinwook left for Chinese League in summer will increase the possibility of him starting this Sunday.


Daegu FC's recent form isn't as sharp as it was and they seemed to look complacent last week after making it into the top six. However, it's home game and their ACL hopes are still mathematically possible even though their chances are becoming slimmer, therefore, they will have to do their best. Meanwhile, second placed Jeonbuk absolutely need to do everything they can moving forward to seal the title. Considering the quality of the squad and motivations, Jeonbuk will be the favourites to get the result.

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