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FA Cup Preview: Jeonnam Dragons vs Gyeongnam FC

FA Cup Preview: Jeonnam Dragons vs Gyeongnam FC
K League 2 teams Jeonnam Dragons, and Gyeongnam FC, face off in this FA Cup tie with the prize for the winner being a chance to test themselves against K League 1 champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in the next round. KLU's Joshua Higgins previews the upcoming game.

Match: Jeonnam Dragons vs Gyeongnam FC
Venue: Gwangyang Football Stadium
Kick-off: Wednesday 1st July 2020, 19:00 KST
Form: Jeonnam: LLWWD Gyeongnam: DDWWD

Last Time Out

Jeonnam Dragons 1 - 2 Suwon FC

The Dragons first loss of the season against Daejeon Hana Citizen, the previous game, was supposed to be a blip, but a few minutes of madness at the Gwangyang Football Stadium, which saw three goals in five minutes, means that Jeonnam sit in seventh place in the table, five points behind first place, and with a goal difference of minus one.

The game was actually fairly even in terms of chances created and shots taken, but Jeonnam once again, for the second league game running, saw more of the ball than the opposition, a staggering 61% possession. Considering the Dragons have mostly set up to be a deep, defensive, and direct team you get the feeling they might be going through an identity crisis of late, as the running theme seems to be, if you want to beat the Dragons; let them have the ball and make their own mistakes.

The two goals from Suwon came from a lack of concentration, and giving away needless fouls, the first from new signing Uzbek Oleg Zoteev. Despite that slip up, the new man gave a decent account of himself and could've had a goal in the second half when his double effort hit the post. Fellow new signing from Jeju United, Im Chan-wool, also looked dangerous, providing width on the left and supplying decent crosses.

Highlights

Jeju United 1 - 1 Gyeongnam FC

Gyeongnam are unbeaten in five games, and have experienced a mixed start to life in K League 2, after expecting to be one of the teams fighting for that automatic promotion spot. They started slowly against Jeju after going behind in the ninth minute from some good link up play, and intense pressing, from the islanders, but grew into the game later on.

They were fortunate for their goal though, after what should have been an easy clearance for Jeju defender Gwon Han-jin, but instead the ball skidded off his head, rebounded against Park Gi-dong's face and in to the home side's goal, leaving the keeper no chance.

Gyeongnam were lucky not to go into the break 2-1 down when Joo Min-kyu smashed his penalty straight at the goalkeeper just before half-time. This one was definitely Jeju's to lose as despite Gyeongnam growing into the game, lapses in concentration allowed the home side to get themselves into positions in which they should've done better. Another day the scoreline could've seen Jeju score two or three more.

Highlights


Previous Meetings

Jeonnam and Gyeongnam have already played each other this season, the first game of the campaign, which played out in a tame 0-0 draw. Prior to that we have to go back to 2018 in which the two teams had differing experiences in fortune. That year saw Jeonnam finish bottom on K League 1 and automatic relegation, whereas Gyeongnam finished second and qualification for the Asian Champions League despite only being promoted from K League 2 (then K League Challenge) the year before.


In total there have been only four meetings between the two clubs in their history, resulting in two wins for Gyeongnam and two draws. But the squads for the 2018 season, and fates of either team, has changed dramatically, which should see this upcoming FA Cup game a more even affair.

Team News

Both teams may field strong starting elevens with the prize being a game against giants Jeonbuk Hyundai in the next round. The last FA Cup tie saw Jeonnam playing mostly a reserve team with a sprinkling of experience, which allowed them canter to a win against K4 team Chungju Citizen. Whereas Gyeongnam began the game with more or less their strongest line up, but struggled against K3 Mokpo City FC, needing penalties to take them through.


If stronger teams are selected, then Jeonnam may look to a similar line up that started against Suwon, but with Im Chan-wool impressing, he may find himself on the pitch from the start. His crossing ability should serve nicely with Kristoffersen's aerial ability and may see them paired up together in a familiar 4-3-3 formation.

New loan signing Jeong Hyuk brought quality with him after making a season long switch from Jeonbuk to Gyeongnam. Negueba came off the bench and looked impressive and will give manager Seol Ki-hyun plenty to think about for this Wednesday's game.

The Adversary

Gyeongnam have failed to impress so far this season, picking up only 11 points from a possible 24, despite only losing one game. They have draw five out of their eight league games, both failing to see games away in which they should've won, and hanging on to games they perhaps should've lost. Although the season is still young, Gyeongnam have to start showing the reason why they were deemed one of the favorites before long.

Their record of 12 goals is third best in the league, but their goals conceded stands at third worst in the league, also 12. Manager Seol has a big task ahead of him, but if he can shore up at the back a little and start getting clean sheets (something they haven't done since the first game of the season) then players like Jeong Hyuk and Negueba should bring enough talent and quality to see them rise up the table.


Who To Watch

Jeong Hyuk, the veteran could quite possibly be a step above K League 2 quality and will surely pull the strings against a Jeonnam team who tends to be quite lethargic in their press when defenders and holding midfielders have the ball. With plenty of space to operate in Jeong may be the difference this Wednesday.

Prediction

Most likely a close affair, but I see Gyeongnam coming out on top, as long as they are capable of keeping their concentration over the full 90 minutes.

Full-time Prediction: Jeonnam Dragons 0 - 1 Gyeongnam FC


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