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FA Cup Preview: Gyeongnam FC vs Mokpo City FC

FA Cup preview: Gyeongnam FC vs Mokpo City FC
Gyeongnam FC start their FA Cup campaign against K3 League opposition in the shape of Mokpo City FC.  The lower league side will travel south knowing that they are more than capable of springing a surprise in Changwon.  With the home side likely to shuffle the pack, can we see an upset on the cards or will it go with form with the Reds' going through to the third round?  KLU's James Edrupt previews the game.

Match- Gyeongnam FC vs Mokpo City FC
Venue- Changwon Football Center.  Changwon.
Kick off- Saturday, June 6th 2020.  19:00 (KST)

Last Time Out

Gyeongnam FC 2-2 Daejeon Hana Citizen

The home side picked up a well-earned point against high-flying Daejeon in a game that was packed full of controversy and incidences.  As early as the 5th minute Gyeongnam was dealt a massive blow, as captain Ha Sung-min was shown a red card after a check with VAR due to a high kick to the face of Purples' midfielder Yun Seung-won.  A touch harsh perhaps on Han who clearly went for the ball but he just got there a little too late.  The away side piled on the pressure with the man advantage but didn't test Son Jung-hyun too much, only firing shots at him from outside the penalty area.

Something must have been said as the Purples came out of the blocks well and on 47 minutes took the league in great fashion through central midfielder Park Jin-seop who broke free of a few challenges in the center of the park, he advanced forward and on his favored left foot placed a lovely strike curling away from Son, who was motionless in the home teams goal.  The Reds to their credit didn't lie down and roll over for the away side.  Manager Seol Ki-hyeon had made two changes at half-time bringing on Park Chang-jun for the ineffective Uros Deric and replacing youngster Kim Kyu-pyo with play-maker Baek Sung-dong.  The changes had an instant effect on the morale of the side and they were to draw level courtesy of a calamitous error between Daejeon's keeper Kim Dong-jun and defender Yun Kyung-bo.  Kim came to claim a lofted ball into the area and Yoon for some reason decided to head the ball out of his grasp into the path of the onrushing Park Chang-jun who from two yards out couldn't miss.  It was to turn from bad to worse for the away side when from a mazy dribble Ko Kyun-min his cross come shot was turned over the line by the aforementioned Yun for an own goal.  But the drama in this game was not finished yet and it needed a 6th minute stoppage-time spot-kick by Andre after consultation with VAR to rescue a point for Daejeon.

Mokpo City FC 1-2 Gyeongju HNP

The home side was to suffer heartache in this clash as Gyeongju snatched all three points with a last-minute winner.  Mokpo fell behind just before half-time when a vicious in-swinging free-kick out on the left-hand touchline landed perfectly onto the head of striker Cho Woo-jin whose header flashed passed the goalkeeper.  The perfect way to end the first half.  The game was littered with missed opportunities throughout, with both goalkeepers in fantastic form.  Mokpo was to draw level on 79 minutes through a spot-kick by leading goal-scorer and former Gyeongnam FC striker Kim Yeong-wook after the Gyeongju goal-keeper tripped the striker going around him.   But the home side was to finish empty-handed when they let the experienced forward Seo Dong-hyeon striker through on goal in the 90th minute and he finished well past the on-rushing home sides keeper.  It was heartache for Mokpo and ecstasy for the unbeaten Gyeongju, with a win that propels them into third place in the standings on seven points.  A defeat for Mokpo leaves them mid-table in eighth with four points after just three games played.


Previous Meetings

This will be the first time the two teams have met in their history in a competitive fixture.  They did meet each other however in preseason back on the 18th of February. The game was played at Gyeongnam FC's training camp in Namhae.  Gyeongnam ran out narrow 4-3 winners that afternoon.

In last season's FA Cup, Gyeongnam did lose to lower opposition in Hwaseong at home in the 4th round, 2-1.  The K3 League side went on to eventually lose to Suwon Bluewings 4-2 over two legs in the semi-final in what was a remarkable effort from the Gyeonggi-do based outfit.  In 2018 Mokpo made it to the quarter-finals of the cup eventually losing to Daegu FC 2-1 with Kim Dae-won bagging the winner for the sky blues with just eighteen minutes remaining.  Daegu was to go on to lift the trophy that season beating Ulsan Hyundai over two legs 5-1 on aggregate.

Team News

Gyeongnam manager Seol KI-hyeon is likely to rotate the squad this Saturday

Gyeongnam may ring the changes with manager Seol Ki-hyeon likely to give Australian center-half Nick Ansell his first start and Dutch striker Luc Castaignos may be put into the starting XI.  After making an instant impact off the bench on Saturday Park Chang-jun may partner the Dutchman upfront.  Park has been somewhat of an unsung hero for The Reds this campaign, popping up with two goals this season and he always seems to have the knack of being in the right place at the right time.  He signed for Gyeongnam in the off-season as part of the deal that saw first-choice goalkeeper Lee Bum-soo move north and sign for Gangwon FC.

Diminutive attacking midfielder Baek Sung-dong also a half-time substitute last time out will be keen to start after impressing when coming on against Daejeon last weekend.  The squad begins a four-game home stretch with Mokpo being the second game of the four.  Captain Ha Sung-min will be suspended for the next three games after his straight red card last time out against Daejeon Hana Citizen. With a near full-strength squad at his disposal, gaffer Seol Ki-hyeon will be hoping for a safe passage through to round three of the FA Cup.

The Adversary

Mokpo City FC comes into the tie in good enough form, winning two games this season in league and cup competitions, drawing one and losing for the first time last week against Gyeongju HNP.  They got to the second round by overcoming K4 league Yangpyeong 3-2 away from home back in early May.  Leading marksman in their team Kim Yeong-wook will be coming back to familiar surroundings having started his professional career with Gyeongnam FC playing in the 2015 and 2016 campaign making 25 appearances scoring two goals.   Mokpo has numerous former K League 1 and 2 players dotted within their squad.  Forward Jin Dae-su played most of his career for Jeju United, striker Kim Yoo-sung played predominantly for Daegu FC.  They will travel south in a confident mood trying to get one over on their higher-ranked opposition.

What To Watch

Utility man Park Chang-jun will be chomping at the bit to start on Saturday. (Photo credit Gyeongnam FC official facebook page)

Park Chang-jun is a popular figure within the club.  He came to The Reds in the offseason from Gangwon FC and he can play in a variety of positions all over the pitch.  He arrived at the club on the premise that he would be a squad player and he may make the odd appearance now and again but through his determination in training and his hard work he has propelled himself into the managers' first-team plans every week.  In the Seoul E-Land game three weeks ago he scored one and assisted brilliantly with another.  More recently he came off the bench against Daejeon and scored the equalizer.   He is a nuisance for defenders to mark as he is a very fit footballer who won't stop running.  If he starts on Saturday he will have a major role in the final third for Gyeongnam.



This has all the makings of an upset.  Gyeongnam without a doubt have the players in their squad to beat Mokpo easily, it'll all be about what attitude they take onto the field with them.  If the home side plays anything as they can do then it'll be a routine victory.  But Mokpo will travel down and give it a good go as they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  The winner of the tie plays the winner between Jeonnam Dragons and Chungju Citizen FC.

Gyeongnam FC 2-0 Mokpo City FC

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