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Preview: Daegu FC vs Sangju Sangmu

K League 1 Round 4 begins with Friday Night Football when Daegu FC play host to Sangju Sangmu at DGB Daegu Bank Park. The winless hosts are looking to bag their first three points of this season, while the military side are hoping to make it three victories in a row. K League United's Daegu FC correspondent Muyeol Jung previews this clash.

Last Time Out

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2-0 Daegu FC

Reigning Champions Jeonbuk continued their perfect start to the campaign with a 2-0 win over the Sky Blues at Jeonju World Cup Stadium. With Cesinha dropped out of the squad due to a thigh strain, a heavily changed Daegu FC came to face the Motors. Despite the hosts controlling most of the first half, they didn't make it count before the interval.

With only less than two minutes into the second half, Jeonbuk went ahead thanks to winter signing Murilo's aggressive solo effort. Afterwards, Jeonbuk doubled the lead when young Korean striker Cho Kyusung tapped in after Kunimoto's header was pushed away. After going 2-0 down, Daegu were trying hard to look for a goal, but had to finish the game, empty-handed with Kim Summin's dismissal.


Sangju Sangmu 1-0 Gwangju FC

Sangju Sangmu invited newly promoted Gwangju FC to North Gyeongsang-do Province for the first time in three years. With only five minutes into the first half, the hosts easily took the lead when Kang Sangwoo's shot went into the left bottom corner of goal after being deflected off a defender.

In the second half, Gwangju fiercely started to push for an equaliser with more aggressive substitutes Marcos Ureña, Kim Hyoki, and Kim Jukong coming on. Their best chance came at 70 minutes when captain Yeo Reum hit the woodwork from a 30-yard direct freekick. However, the visitors didn't find the back of the net at full time after their substitute Kim Hyoki was taken to hospital following a horrendous collision with Sangju's goalkeeper in search for a goal.


Previous Meetings

In terms of head to head, the Sky Blues are far ahead of the Soldiers with ten wins in 21 meetings compared to Sangju's three wins. However, the gaps between the two sides significantly narrowed last year when they met three times and each earned four points out of possible a nine.

Team News

With three rounds of K League played, Daegu FC are currently ranked ninth out of 12 teams on the table with two points. After a 2-0 loss to Jeonbuk, the team and manager came under a lot of criticism on social media for a lack of counterattacking on display. In fact, while it's not something completely unexpected though, throughout the three games Daegu still look out of form and there's no sign of improvement yet.

Daegu FC caretaker Lee Byeonggeun is having a rough time in his managerial career

In a despairing situation, the city-owned club are hoping to be able to turn the tide with the first victory in a winnable game against Sangju. For this game, manager Lee Byunggeon's selection will likely be similar to the first two games' line up with forced changes following Kim Sunmin's suspension and Cesinha, who might be dropped again due to the injury. In addition, One choice the manager would find it hard to make is selecting U22 player on starting list as none of two U22 starters was able to convince the gaffer so far; Hwang Taehyun was given a place in the first two games before young midfielder Ko Jaehyun was surprisingly named in a 0-2 loss to Jeonbuk.

The Adversary

Fourth-placed Sangju Sangmu keep soldiering on with back to back wins despite two substitutions only allowed following their failure of meeting U22 rule in their lineups.

Ahead of an away trip to Daegu, they have a long awaited good news. Two U22 players Jeon Sejin and Kim Bosub will return to the squad from the injury list, meaning that Sangju will be able to manage a game with usual three changes allowed.

For the last three games, manager Kim Taewan didn't make many changes to the line up in his "two tracks strategy" where he groups the newly recruited players from the existing players and names the new soldiers on the bench for better adaptation.

Sangju Sangmu Kang Sangwoo (Right) is relishing a great start to season

In a 4-1-4-1 formation, their line up will be similar with the addition of two U22 players. Among the Soldiers, left-winger Kang Sangwoo is who Daegu FC should be wary of. The winger usually played in a wingback position back at his parent club Pohang, but under Kim Taewan's guidance, he is showing off his attacking skills down the line. The former Pohang man has been named in the Round Best 11 twice with two goals from three games this season.

What To Watch

Can Kim Daewon revitalise Daegu's toothless attack?

Young Korean attacker Kim Daewon should play a bigger role in attacking this season

Unlike the high expectation on Daegu's attacking ability following the addition of Dejan Damjanović, their usual spearheads of attacking trio Edgar, Cesinha, and Kim Daewon are absolutely blunt and toothless so far. In the last game against Jeonbuk, Daegu struggled a lot without a pivotal role from Cesinha, and one of the trio, Kim Daewon, made little impact on the game. Subsequently, it resulted in Daegu having less options upfront, but predictably passing long balls to the head of an isolated Edgar.

In order to bring what is missing in Daegu's football this year, the young Korean attacker should play a bigger role in Daegu's game plan. He should be more aggressive and critical near the box, causing more problems to defenders with his pace and dribbling.

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The current form and atmosphere from Daegu side bode ill for the hosts, but this is a winnable game for Daegu. Despite Sangju's back to back wins, their performances are not entirely convincing enough to be able to beat Daegu easily. Considering the recent meetings where the two sides were always closely contested, I think it will end in a stalemate.

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