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Preview: Daegu FC vs Gangwon FC

After May's winless streak, high-flying Daegu FC are hoping to wrap up June's unbeaten run with a win against Gangwon FC, who have suffered two defeats on the bounce, this Saturday evening. Meanwhile, Gangwon FC are looking to get back to winning ways on the road. With two points separating the sides, K League United's Daegu FC correspondent Muyeol Jung previews this match up in Round 9.

Last Time Out

Daegu FC 3-1 Suwon Samsung Bluewings

Daegu FC came back from 1-0 behind to beat Suwon Bluewings 3-1 at home thanks to a brace from Cesinha and a third of the night from substitute Dejan Damjanović. From the beginning of the first half, both sides looked aggressive by firing shots, but the visitors looked better with most of their attempts on target. After a few chances, they took the lead owing to a screamer from Ko Seungbeom on a direct free kick before the break.

Daegu FC came back to the second half with the introduction of Kim Daewon before bringing on former Suwon striker Dejan later. Halfway into the second half, Cesinha's left footed effort made it level before the Brazilian found his second of the evening with a right footed strike in a similar position to the previous goal. Then, Daegu finished the game 3-1 with a grand finale after the Montenegrin ripped through the net with a missile.


Pohang Steelers 2-0 Gangwon FC

Gangwon FC made a long trip to the South along the East Coast to take on Pohang after a loss to the other coastal team Ulsan at home. However, the Bears disappointingly tasted a second straight defeat at the Steelyard. Gangwon opened up the first half with an early free kick taken by Lee youngjae, then they didn't make any meaningful chances until Cho Jaewan's curling effort went wide by inches on 35 minutes.

The deadlock was broken early in the second half when Stanislav Iljutcenko converted the penalty after the visitor's defender Shin Kwanghoon's handball was pointed out through the help of VAR. On 81 minutes, Kwon Wangyu increased Pohang's lead with a lovely little chipped ball in at the tightest of angles after the defender intercepted a back-pass to Gangwon's goalkeeper. Afterwards, Gangwon looked fierce in their desire for a consolation, but couldn't find one.


Previous Meetings

The two sides have clashed 38 times with Daegu winning 18 times and Gangwon winning ten times. The records turn even more imbalanced in recent years. Since 2017 when the Sky Blues and the Bears came back to the top flight together, the Sky Blues have been superb with eight wins compared to the Bears' dual wins in 11 meetings. The citizen club have been unbeaten since back to back defeats in their first two meetings in K League 1.

Team News

Daegu FC

With long-term injured Hong Jungwoon out, the Sky Blues will come to the home fixture recharged and fresh without any injuries or suspensions. There is a FA Cup away game scheduled to play next Wednesday against K League 2 FC Anyang, however, this wouldn't be a factor for the squad rotation for this weekend's home fixture.

Therefore, the citizen club caretaker Lee Byunggeun will field his side with the best players as usual with one possible change in goal. Summer signing South Korean international goalkeeper Gu Sungyun is expected to start between the sticks instead of Choi Youngeun.

[READ: News: Gu Sungyun Signs for Daegu FC]

Gangwon FC

Currently, Gangwon FC have four players out with injuries; Takahiro Nakazato with a fracture, Ko Mooyeol (neck), Kim Seungdae (Achilles), followed by the addition of defender Kim Youngbin with a knee injury last time out.

Among those, the absence of two former Pohang Steelers attackers Ko Mooyeol and Kim Seungdae was strongly felt by Gangwon last time out. It is reported that their injuries are minor and they might come back for this round.

Meanwhile, Kim Byungsoo's side announced the signing of wing back Kim Soobeom from Australian side Perth Glory to bolster their flanks, but the defender isn't expected to feature.

The Adversary

What happened to 'Byungsoo Ball'?

Gangwon's possession based football, Byungsoo Ball turned blunt with the sudden dropout of Ko Mooyeol and Kim Seungdae to the line up. During the last two games where the duo didn't feature, Gangwon failed to open the scoring in their clear dominance of possession. It was a massive blow for them as the former Pohang Steelers duo account for five out of nine goals the Bears scored this season.

Gangwon FC are in trouble after two defeats on the bounce

Instead, manager Kim Byungsoo tries to find a way with different combinations of Kim Jihyun, Jung Seokhwa and Kim Kyungjoong, but they all appear to have lost match rhythm with stamina issues at the moment.

In defence, despite having diligent defensive midfielder Han Kookyoung, Gangwon constantly reveal their defensive setbacks when they face high press. Last time out, both full backs Shin Kwanghoon and Chae Kwanghoon caused a lot of problems to their own side when they were strongly pressured by Pohang's attackers. This is something Daegu FC have to exploit. In fact, the Sky Blues successfully exploited the weakness and eased past them 3-1 at home last season with all three goals in similar situations.

[READ: 2019 K League Match Recap: Daegu FC 3-1 Gangwon FC]

What To Watch

Can Cesinha win "Player of the Month" again?

Cesinha has unarguably been one of the greatest players in K League
Daegu FC's talisman Cesinha has been back on fire with five goals and three assists including the sensational flick goal with heel kick since his absence with a minor injury in Round 3.

The Brazilian has recorded 46 goals and 39 assists from 130 K League appearances since he first joined then belittled Daegu in 2016. The living Daegu legend is now only one assist away from hounourably becoming the twentieth player in K League who achieves 40 goals and 40 assists.

At this rate, it seems that it's only a matter of time before he will win Player of the Month for June. In fact, he became the inaugural winner of Player of the Month 2019 in March with two goals and two assists from four appearances after the award was officially launched and there has been no player to have won the award twice yet.

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Daegu FC have been steadily growing in their form and team building, while Gangwon FC have little option to make any changes at the moment with limited assets. Gangwon look unlikely to stop Daegu's formidable run.

Daegu FC 2-0 Gangwon FC

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