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scouting

FA Cup Preview: Pohang Steelers Vs. Gyeongju Citizen


Pohang Steelers host Gyeongju Citizen at the Pohang Steel Yard on Wednesday, July 1 in the KEB Hana Bank FA Cup. After finally winning back-to-back games, can Pohang continue their momentum into the cup? Guest writer Shibajee Das previews this encounter.



Last Time Out

Gwangju 0-2 Pohang Steelers

Kim Gi-dong’s men had produced a clinical performance in their previous encounter against Gwangju in the K League. Goalkeeper Kang Hyun-moo made a couple of crucial saves before his counterpart Yoon Pyung-guk failed to clear a simple cross, diverting the ball into the path of Colombian winger Manuel Palacios, who gave Pohang the lead in the 34th minute. Song Min-kyu’s cracking finish sealed the win in the 88th minute, to give Pohang their fifth win of the K League campaign.



Cheonan City 2-0 Gyeongju Citizen

Two first half goals from the hosts, were enough to condemn Gyeongju to their third consecutive defeat in the league. Dutch forward Jerry van Ewijk gave Cheonan an early lead in the 3rd minute, after the ball had ricocheted off the post, and fell onto his path. Cha Won-ko finished off a scintillating move in the 39th minute, to heap further misery on the visitors.
The second goal was a perfect example of Gyeongju’s defensive frailties. Since their previous round cup victory, Gyeongju have conceded eight goals and scored none, in their last three matches. A wretched run of form has seen the Bees placed 13th in the table, having picked up just a solitary victory from their opening six league matches of the campaign.



Team News

The manager could experiment with his squad, given that Gyeongju haven’t displayed any sort of resistance in the last couple of matches in the K3 League. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Brandon O’Neill and Manuel Palacios dropping to the bench, which in reality could mean a much more even contest at the start of the match. Serbian midfield maestro Aleksandar Palosevic is already out with an injury, and is expected to be on the sidelines till late July.
The visitors will look to field a strong side against the mighty Pohang. Goalkeeper Jung Dae-hwan and striker Lee Haeng-su are two of the most experienced players in the Gyeongju squad, and a lot will be expected from them. 2019 K3 League Best Midfielder winner Kim Jin-yeong, will also be one to keep an eye out for.

The Adversary

Gyeongju Citizen, nicknamed “The Bees” after their yellow and black coloured shirts, were founded only 12 years ago, in 2008. The club has spent the entirety of their existence playing in the lower tiers of the South Korean football system. The club is co-coached by Kim Dae-keon and Son Hyun-joon.
When it comes to performances in the FA Cup, Gyeongju had managed to reach the Round of 16 in 2016, which remains their best result in the tournament till date. This season, in their previous round, they overcame fellow K3 League outfit Pyeongtaek Citizen 1-0, after the match had rolled over into extra time.

What to Watch

Will Pohang fire on all cylinders?

Pohang have managed to score nine goals in their last four league matches, averaging more than two goals per game. However, leaking goals at regular intervals has been their Achilles heel. The trend seems to have been stopped in their last couple of encounters, managing clean sheets in each of their last two league matches.

It will be interesting to see whether Pohang decide to keep things water tight at the back, or go firing on all cylinders against a much weaker opponent.

Prediction

It shouldn’t be much of a problem for Pohang to brush aside Gyeongju. The Steelers are expected to comfortably reach the Round of 16, while in the process, carry on their good momentum, especially with important league matches throughout the month of July.

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