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Preview: FC Anyang vs Jeju United

FC Anyang come into the weekend on a low after bowing out of the FA Cup in midweek, losing 2-0 at home to Daegu FC.  Things have not gone according to plan in the league this season, either, as they currently sit ninth on six points from their first eight matches.  Jeju, meanwhile, had a shocker of a match against Seoul E-Land, where they hardly looked like a team challenging for top of the league for most of their cup tie before notching two second half injury time goals before going on to win in extra time.  Will the islanders continue their run of form, or will the Violets spring a surprise?  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the match.

Match: FC Anyang vs Jeju United
Venue: Anyang Sports Complex
Kickoff: Sunday July 5th, 2020; 19:00 KST

Last Time Out

FC Anyang 0-2 Daegu FC (FA Cup 3rd Round)

FC Anyang gave a good account of themselves despite the loss, as Kim Gi-pyo stood out for them in particular.  The Violets gave the Daegu back line plenty of headaches in the first half, and a blunder by Gu Sung-yun could have had the hosts in the lead just after the twenty minute mark.

It was Kim Dae-won who would put the visitors ahead on the half hour mark with a low shot that took a deflection on the way in and that would be the only goal in the first forty-five minutes of play.

Anyang could have leveled the match in the early stages of the second half, as the ball looked to have crossed the goal line during one passage of play for the home side, but there was no VAR technology available to dispute the call.  Shortly thereafter, Kim Dae-won would notch his second goal of the night with a curler of a strike that would end up putting the match beyond reach for the K League 2 side.  

Jeju United 3-2 Seoul E-Land (FA Cup 3rd Round)

In a match riddled with cautions (five for each side) it was Seoul E-Land who looked in full control of proceedings as the match was drawing to a close.  Kim Jin-hwan headed the visitors in front from a corner in the 17th minute and second half substitute Won Ki-jong added a second inside the final twenty minutes, and it looked as if the Leopards were comfortably in the next round of the cup.

How things were to change.  When Lim Dong-hyuk pulled one back in the second minute of injury time, it looked as though one would be able to conclude that based on the night's performance, at least a loss would look better having found the net at least once on the night.

But, things were to take another impossible turn, as Jung Jo-gook lofted a ball into the area which was met with ferocity by Gong Min-hyun, who smashed his header into the back of the net.

Jeju would take the reigns of the match in extra time, and it would pay off, as Jeju's number nine found space in the box to fire home with just four minutes remaining in the second half.  The islanders would weather two more minutes of injury time and unimaginably pulled out what should be considered one of their most famous cup victories in quite some time.  

Previous Meetings

The two sides have met only once in the past, in the fourth round of the FA Cup in April,2015.  The islanders ran rampant that day, winning by a final score of 4-1.  Yoon Bit-garam put them in front on 25 minutes after taking a pass from Kim Hyun and slotting home with a right-footed shot.  Lee Dong-hyun would even the match just minutes later, but Jeju would be back in front on 39 minutes when Kim the provider for the first goal was supplied by Kim Ji-un and finished with a right-footed effort of his own.

Jeju could have had a third only two minutes later, but Yoon's penalty was saved by Choi Pil-su, leaving the islanders on a one goal advantage going into the break.  They would add a pair of goals in the second half, with Kim Hyun finding the net again for his brace to round out a man of the match performance, and Jung Yong-chong unleashed a belter from distance for Jeju's fourth, putting the match beyond doubt with twenty minutes left to play.

Team News

With the FA Cup now out of the picture, Anyang will now focus their full energy on the rest of the league campaign.  They have been busy in the transfer market recently with the addition on loan of veteran defender Park Yo-han from Suwon FC.

The team has also announced that forward Kwon Yong-hyun has joined the team on loan from Busan IPark for the rest of the season.  He has had some degree of success in his career, having a pivotal role in Suwon FC's promotion to the first division in 2015, Gyeongnam FC's promotion in 2017, and IPark's promotion in 2019.

He'll expectedly play on the wing, but could also be used as an attacking midfielder due to his speed and ability in possession.  He may be available as early as this weekend for the match against Jeju.

Anyang will most likely line up in their customary 3-4-3 formation as they have done for much of the season.  There are no suspensions in the side, so Kim Hyung-yeol will likely not make many changes to his usual matchday lineup.

Jeju have also made a few moves since the transfer window opened, notably sending Costa Rican international Elias Aguilar on loan to Incheon United, his first K League club, where he had an excellent year in 2018 with three goals and thirteen assists.  The loan will last until the end of the season and then he will return to the island.

The club also announced the signing of Kim Oh-gyu from Gangwon FC.  Kim, a native of Gangneung, spent his entire career with his hometown club before making what he called "a tough decision" to move to the island.

"It was time for a new challenge and a change.  My playing style is compatible with coach Nam Ki-il.  His philosophy is centered on good build-up play and speed, and he likes to control matches with all-out pressure.  I want to be a player who gives faith to the team and the fans in Jeju," he said in a press release from the club.

Lim Dong-hyuk could see his role at the club increased in the near future after playing a key role in the cup comeback in midweek.  Unknown to many is his hidden penchant as an attacker, which could see him feature heavily on set pieces when he is on the pitch.  At 190 centimeters tall, he is an ample target in the penalty area for his teammates to aim at, as was the case with his goal against Seoul E-Land.

"Lim Dong-hyuk is a central defender who has a sense for scoring.  I thought it would be a good idea to try it out as a new option ahead of the match [against E-Land] so we worked on it in training a bit.  Even when some of the other players were getting tired, he kept going until the end.  He made the breakthrough and it was a really positive aspect of the match," Nam said of his defender after the match for the press.

"I am happy to hear of myself referred to as a striker," the player commented.

"I was just fortunate that the ball went it.  Our attackers do a good job up the pitch, so it is an added plus if I can help support them when needed," he finished.

There is expected to be some rotation in the squad for the weekend as several regulars received match time in midweek, so it remains to be seen how the Jeju skipper will roll the dice.  There are no suspensions in the side, but Eder looked to have picked up a bit of a knock in the cup tie and may not be available against Anyang.  Most of the regulars are expected to return to the starting eleven.

The Adversary

Jung Jo-gook recently scored his 150th attack point in the K League and his winner against Seoul E-Land has them in the Round of 16 of the FA Cup.
With Jeju on the brink of elimination from the cup, Yoon Bo-sang stepped to the rescue to deny a late penalty which would have put the match away, and it turned the tide in what was an incredible, if not improbable comeback for Jeju.

"I didn't want to lose because it was a home match," Nam Ki-il said after the final whistle.

"We made mistakes and it made the match difficult, but in the end, the players were responsible for an unpredictable result.  They wanted to win."

Jeju will put their cup aspirations on hold for the time being as they get re-focused on the league beginning with the match against Anyang on Sunday evening, knowing it will be an important step in their preparation for their second match against Bucheon FC 1995 a week later.  With the race at the top of the league remaining tight, the impetus is on continuing to achieve results which will keep them in the fight for promotion come the end of the season.

One characteristic of the cup tie against Seoul E-Land is that they played from behind virtually the entire match before turning things in their favor late on, and that adds to the character this club has begun to develop since embarking on their current run.  If this is the blueprint for the team moving forward, things are certainly headed in the right direction.

What to Watch

Jeju find themselves in a position in which they have not been for several years now - a title race with everything on the line.  In Nam Ki-il, they have a manager who is already conditioned to play football under such pressure, and he has done a commendable job in keeping the team together and navigating them through adversity.

When things got off to a slow start at the beginning of the year, there already were critics who were prepared to write the team off, but the rebound has been nothing short of outstanding.  Not only have they shown their propensity to defend their own third, but have also found critical goals on the majority of occasions to continue to propel themselves forward.

Nam Ki-il has the Tangerines on their best run of form in almost two years.
The question now is whether they can sustain their momentum, as they will head on the road for back to back matches following the clash with Bucheon on the 12th, to Seoul E-Land on July 18th and Daejeon Hana Citizen on July 26th before returning home to face Jeonnam Dragons on August 1st.  The tough stretch ahead could determine where teams in the top half ultimately finish the season, so July will be critical to the team's title aspirations.

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Based on current form and results, it's fair to say that Jeju has an advantage on paper heading into the match.  Anyang will be at home, however, and will not simply lay down.  It should be a tightly contested match, but with a few goals on offer.  The Violets will be resolute, but the islanders should be able to take all three points in the end.

Predicted Score: FC Anyang 1-2 Jeju United

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