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FA Cup Preview: Jeju United vs Songwol FC

Jeju United have begun to find their stride in K League 2 with back to back wins heading into their second round FA Cup tie against K5 League side Songwol FC.  On paper, it should be a relatively easy fixture for the islanders, but they should still approach the match with a sense of urgency as they will face a more difficult opponent in the third round should they progress.  Their opponents secured a convincing 4-0 victory in the first round over Garam FC and will feel they have nothing to lose when the two sides meet on Saturday afternoon.  KLU's Branko Belan previews the fixture.

Match: Jeju United vs Songwol FC
Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Saturday June 6th, 2020; 15:00 KST

Last Time Out

Ansan Greeners 1-2 Jeju United

Jeju went in front in the first half just before the half hour mark courtesy of a Joo Min-kyu header, his fourth goal of the season.  Ansan would equalize in the second half through Bruno, but the islanders still have a trick or two up their sleeve as Kang Yun-sung scored with just two minutes of regular time remaining in the match to make it three wins in a row for Nam Ki-il's men.

Despite having more possession over the course of the match, it was the Green Wolves who had more attempts on target with ten to Jeju's seven.  But, it was Jeju who showed the resilience in the end to go and win the match, and that should do wonders for their confidence going forward.  Nam Ki-il is establishing himself as a players' manager early on with the group, and it has had some very positive results over the past several week.  Jeju is now starting to look like a team worth their billing as one of the favorites to go up to the first division if they continue to ride the momentum which has pushed them up to fourth in the table currently after a slow start out of the gate.


Garam FC 0-4 Songwol FC (FA Cup)

Songwol FC's first round match in the FA Cup turned out not even to be a contest as the visitors put four goals past their hosts on the strength of a double from Im Jin-wook, who was also one of the club's top arrivals over the winter.  Kim Dong-wook and Cho Dong-gyu contributed a goal each in the rout as all four goals were scored in the second half following Garam being reduced to ten men just before the break.  They will be facing noticeably stronger competition on Saturday, but the FA Cup has seen its share of shock upsets in the past several years.  While a long shot at best, they know they have nothing to lose.

They also recently played their first league match against Ganseok FC which ended in a 3-3 draw.  Kim Jin-woo, Hong Soon-gwan and Kim Ji-ho were the goalscorers.  Offensively, they like to use the flanks to attack, but can be stretched in the same areas when defending, so those are things that the islanders should take into consideration.

Team News

There is a good chance that Nam Ki-il may opt for a younger lineup this weekend, but he should be cautious as many of Songwol's players are in their late 20's to mid thirties, which could make for a physical match.  The islanders have some injury concerns, however, as Valentinos Sielis will likely be out as he continues to nurse an injury.  Elias Aguilar was injured in the loss to Daejeon Hana Citizen a few weeks ago and also may be kept out of the lineup.  Eder Lima has only played once this season, so his status could also be up in the air.

There is a good chance it will be an opportunity for the likes of Seo Jin-su, Lee Dong-ryul, and perhaps highly touted prospect Baek Seung-woo to see some match action to keep some of the more experienced players fresh for the next league match against Suwon FC the following weekend, but playing a middle strength lineup is not entirely out of the question.

Songwol FC lined up in a 3-5-2 formation in their first round cup tie.  If they stick to those tactics, there is a good chance Jeju will be able to exploit them on the flanks if they play with speed from box to box.  Im Jin-wook will be key to any success they have up front, as he will want to keep up his goal scoring form.  Goalkeeper Kim Jung-in was another one of the team's key recruits in the off-season, and will likely get the start between the sticks on Saturday once again, but could have his hands full if Jeju begin to press early.

The Adversary

The Incheon-based club was established in 1996.  This will undoubtedly be the biggest match in the club's history, and to have to face such a challenge on the road cannot be seen as an easy task.  Manager Jin Kyung-soo will certainly have his hands full in all aspects leading up to the match, both in terms of selection and tactics, but there is a very good chance that he will opt for a more defensive approach to try and stymie the islanders' efforts of trying to put the match to bed early.

Depending on how much they plan to go for it, they may even try to hit on the counter if the chance presents itself.  They have to feel good about their first round result, but repeating that feat against an upper caliber club may prove a bit too daunting for them to pull off.

What to Watch

Tactics will likely play a role in this encounter as it remains to be seen how Nam Ki-il will approach his lineup selection.  Will he opt for more experience to counter the older players on the opposing team, or will he choose youth in an attempt to build depth in the squad for the league season in the coming weeks?  Park Won-jae and Kim Jae-bong were a bit banged up in the match against Bucheon recently, so with a few injuries already lingering, squad rotation could be in the cards to keep everyone fresh.

Jeju cannot be complacent regarding their opponent.  They are now starting to find their stride after a slow start and need to maintain momentum with several important matches to be played in June and July.  It would be smart not to try to play things too safely - a strong start out of the blocks and an early goal or two could be just the formula needed to cement another result.  The less they expend themselves on Saturday afternoon, the better it will mean in the long run.



On paper, this looks like a mismatch of titanic proportions.  Jeju should have no problem getting past their opponents on Saturday, and the sooner they secure the result, the better.  They need to continue to build on recent results and assert their dominance on the pitch.  If the finishing is up to scratch, this one could be settled by halftime.

Predicted Score: Jeju United 3-0 Songwol FC

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