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FA Cup Preview: Jeju United vs Suwon Samsung Bluewings

Jeju United may well have a bit of a sour taste in their mouths come Wednesday night when they take to the pitch for their Round of 16 FA Cup match against Suwon Samsung Bluewings.  It was Suwon who ensured that the islanders would be relegated when they came to the island last season and beat them in their final home match.  Thus, it will be a chance for revenge and a spot in the quarterfinals of a tournament they have never won, their best showing ever being a runners-up finish all the way back in 2004.  What can be expected when the two sides meet on Wednesday night?  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the match.

Match: Jeju United vs Suwon Samsung Bluewings
Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Wednesday July 15th, 2020; 19:00 KST

Last Time Out

Jeju United vs Bucheon 1995 FC (postponed)

The match which was to take place on Sunday evening between Jeju United and Bucheon 1995 FC was postponed due to heavy fog on the island.  It would have been second versus third in the table and could have had ramifications for placing in the league.  There is no question it will when the match is played at a later time this season, but it also gives Jeju a home game in hand for the time being.  The league has yet to decide when the makeup date will be, but there is a good chance that it will be sometime early in the fall when conditions are likely to be less of a problem.

Pohang Steelers 1-1 Suwon Samsung Bluewings

Suwon snatched a point away at the Steelyard over the weekend as Adam Taggart added to his goal tally, putting his side ahead with less than ten minutes to go in the first half.  He converted a header from close range after Kim Min-woo headed across the face of goal and Kang Hyun-moo couldn't get his angle to the ball right.  It was one of the few consequential events in the first half and the visitors led at the break.

Pohang would find an equalizer through Song Min-kyu on the hour mark, as he headed home a Manuel Palacios cross.  It was Suwon who carried much of the play for the rest of the match, however, and they could have had a winner late on when Kim Min-woo volleyed home, but a VAR review would take it away as Adam Taggart was found to be in an offside position.


Previous Meetings

Last season was one to forget for Jeju in terms of the head to head against Suwon, as the Bluewings won all four matches, including the final one in Final B by a count of 4-2, featuring a spell of three goals in ten minutes in the second half.  Adam Taggart scored a brace, including a penalty, and Han Seok-hee also scored a pair, while Yun Il-lok and Ahn Hyun-beom scored in the first half for the islanders.

Overall, Suwon have won twenty-one matches against their opponents on Wednesday night, while Jeju have won twelve and five matches have ended in draws.

Team News

It is difficult to tell whether the postponement of Sunday evening's match with Bucheon will turn out to be a good thing or not.  Jeju are a team with momentum right now, but it should be noted that three of their four matches in July were played away from home.  The schedule has been very tight, so it has given Nam Ki-il the option of fielding a stronger lineup for the cup match in midweek.

Jeju will benefit in terms of squad depth with the returns of Jin Seong-wook, Ryu Seung-woo and Lee Chan-dong from Sangju Sangmu next month when they complete their military service on the 27th.

Despite the blip in the schedule, the Tangerines' manager is confident in his side and is assured they will be prepared well.

The Adversary

Adam Taggart will be counted on for goals on Wednesday evening when the Bluewings make the trip to the island.
Suwon have struggled mightily this season having only amassed ten points in their K League 1 campaign to this point.  They have won only twice all year, a 1-0 home win against Incheon in May and a 2-0 away win at Seongnam FC midway through last month.

Last year's Golden Boot winner Adam Taggart has only scored four goals so far this season, and with the departure of Hong Chul to Ulsan, it remains to be seen how the rest of the men in the middle of the park are going to respond.  There will also be a considerable amount of pressure for the likes of Doneil Henry and Min Sang-gi to step up defensively in order to try to slow down Jeju's potent attack.

They only have a negative three goal differential in 2020, but they have conceded three goals on three separate occasions thus far, so if they get down early, it will take some effort to get back into the match with so many questions with regards to personnel, Lee Lim-saeng's tactics and the overall focus of the squad.

What to Watch

One of the biggest questions coming into the match is how Jeju will respond after having not played over the weekend.  It did give the players a chance to get extra rest, but how will it impact their rhythm and style of play?

The good thing is that Nam Ki-il has several options when it comes to choosing his starting eleven - the squad has rotated well this season and minutes are being spread through the team.  But, given the step up in class of their opponent, it is expected that he will choose a strong eleven to take the pitch on Wednesday evening.

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Jeju is the better team on form at the moment, but Suwon have always been a tough nut to crack for them.  There is a great chance for revenge for the islanders, who lost all four against the Bluewings last season.  A win and progress in the cup would do a lot to right the wrongs of last season and continue what has become one of the most intriguing stories in Korean football this year.  It should be a tight one, but the home side may just be able to pull it out in the end.

Predicted Score: Jeju United 2-1 Suwon Samsung Bluewings


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