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Preview: Pohang Steelers vs FC Seoul

Preview: Pohang Steelers vs FC Seoul K League 1 Round 3
Looking to build on Sunday's win, FC Seoul travel to the Steelyard this Friday night to take on an unbeaten Pohang Steelers in Round 3 of the 2020 Hana 1Q K League 1 season. Seoul will be buoyed by their first league win of the campaign, and with the cleansheet that came with it, at home to Gwangju last time out, but the Steelers haven't lost at home since last August and boast of just one defeat against Seoul in their last seven meetings at the Steelyard.


Overview

via Soccerway

Last Time Out

Daegu FC 1-1 Pohang Steelers

Pohang Steelers had to make do with a point away to North Gyeongsang neighbours Daegu FC on Saturday, despite taking a first-half lead. Serbian attacking midfielder Aleksandar Paločević put the Steelers in front, finding the bottom corner from the edge of the box with just two minutes of the half remaining. However, mid-way through the second period, Edgar Bruno nodded in a Daegu equaliser to see the spoils shared.

Highlights



FC Seoul 1-0 Gwangju FC

FC Seoul picked up their first league win of the season with a narrow 1-0 victory over newly promoted Gwangju FC. Brazilian striker Adriano was given his first start since sealing a sensational return to the club that he left at the end of 2016, but was unable to get off the mark. Instead, versatile midfielder Han Chan-hee scored the game's only goal on his full Seoul debut from the edge of the box.

Recap: here

Highlights



Previous Meetings

The most recent between these two teams was at Sangam in November where Pohang ran out comfortable 3-0 winners thanks to goals from Paločević (2) and Wanderson. It was the Steelers' second win over Seoul in 2019, the first came two months earlier at the Steelyard - Paločević and Wanderson on target for Pohang, Park Chu-young for Seoul. The capital club's most recent win over Pohang came on the opening day of the 2019 campaign, a 2-0 victory with centre back Hwang Hyun-soo bagging a brace.

During the last 10 meetings between Pohang Steelers and FC Seoul, each team has four wins with the remaining two matches ending as draws. Goals-scored is fairly even too; Pohang have scored 11, Seoul 12.

Overall, there have been 160 matches played between the two teams, Pohang have 60 wins to Seoul's 51 and 49 draws. However, as 'FC Seoul', there have been 54 encounters; during which Pohang have 19 wins to Seoul's 24 and 11 draws. At the Steelyard, there have been 24 meetings, Seoul have just seven wins to Pohang's 13.

Team News

Pohang Steelers will have full backs Sim Sang-min and Kim Yong-hwan, as well as attacking midfielder Heo Yong-jun available for the last time before the trio join Sangju Sangmu as part of their mandatory military service. Meanwhile, Australian central midfielder Brandon O'Neill will be hoping his display against Daegu was enough to keep his place in the starting XI. The former Sydney FC man had a hand in Paločević's opener at DGB Daegu Bank Park at the weekend.

Pohang Steelers starting lineup vs Daegu FC, K League 1 R2.
FC Seoul will have Park Dong-jin available for the last time before the defender-turned-striker starts his military service and joins Sangju. Former Pohang attacking midfielder Jung Won-jin is also Sangju bound but was omitted from the match day squads for the trip to Gangwon and for the visit of Gwangju. Choi spoke about striker Aleksandar Pešić post-Gwangju and revealed that the Serbian is not injured, rather that Adriano and Cho Young-wook are ahead of him in the pecking order at present.

FC Seoul starting lineup vs Gwangju FC, K League 1 R2.


Eulji Lewis

The Adversary


With one win and a draw from the opening two rounds, Pohang Steelers are performing as expected. The North Gyeongsang side are tipped to knock on the door of AFC Champions League qualification this term and have already shown what kind of attacking threat than can pose. After two matches played Pohang have had the second-most number of shots with 25, and lead the division for the number of crosses made with 32 and with the best accuracy with 56.3% of all crosses finding their intended target.

Pohang like to get balls into the box to take advantage of Stanislav Iljutcenko's physical presence. No team has had more headed attempts on goal than Pohang so far this season and, likewise, no team have had more touches inside the box. Pohang tend to attack down the right-hand side with 17 of their 32 crosses having come from the right flank. Kim Ki-dong has set his side up in a 4-2-3-1 with Iljutcenko as the loan striker, backed up by an attacking three of Song Min-gyu, Paločević and either Sim Dong-woon or Palacios.

Who To Watch


Aleksandar Paločević joined Pohang mid-way through the 2019 season and, along with Stanislav Iljutcenko, revitalised the Steelers' attack. The attacking midfielder joined from Portuguese Primeira Liga outfit Nacional on an 18-month loan and went on to score five goals and record four assists in just seven starts last season, 16 appearances overall. Three of his five goals came against FC Seoul, two at Sangam in November, and one at the Steelyard in September. The 26-year-old has two goals to his name already in 2020 and boasts of the best xG in K League 1 after two rounds, better than Junior of Ulsan and Edgar of Daegu. In 2019, Paločević boasted of the best expected assists per game ratio of 1.14 and will be one for FC Seoul to keep an eye on come Friday.

Prediction

FC Seoul may have picked up their first league win of the season last time out but manager Choi Yong-soo was not satisfied with the performance. Choi will be expecting his team to make improvements in that regard but will be up against it on Friday night. Seoul take on a Pohang side who have picked up where they left off in 2019 and will be the favourites. If Seoul can contain Paločević and Iljutcenko in particular, then they have it in them to get a result but the Steelers will not be phased by the visit of Seoul.

Where to Watch

South Korea, 19:30pm KST - Sky Sports, Naver, Daum
Germany, Austria, Switzerland, 12:25pm CEST - Sport Digital
Australia, 8:30pm AEST - Optus Sport
Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Slovenia, Boznia & Herzegovina, Macedonia, 12:30 CEST - Arena Sports

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