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Preview: Gwangju FC vs Suwon Samsung Bluewings

K League 1 plays host to Gwangju's first game in their new stadium with Suwon Samsung Bluewings the visitors. The Yellows put an end to their four-game losing streak last time out, moving above Suwon who lost at home to Seongnam FC. 

Last Time Out

Busan IPark 0-0 Gwangju FC

Returning to the side from suspension, Willyan had a pot shot from distance comfortably saved before Lee Jeong-hyeop was denied with a more clear-cut chance at the other end. The Brazilian winger once again had Gwangju's most promising opening but was foiled once more on the half hour.

Hardly a classic encounter between the two promoted sides, Lim Min-hyeok replaced captain Yeo Reum early in the second half having impressed when given starts in the FA Cup lately. Lim squandered a chance to seal a vital away victory when teed up by Felipe but sliced his shot well wide of Choi Pil-soo's post from 20 yards. The closest either team came to breaking the deadlock was Kim Ju-gong striking the post on 87 minutes after a clever slide rule pass from Felipe saw the goal open up for the substitute.

Suwon Samsung Bluewings 0-1 Seongnam FC

With their last league victory coming against Seongnam earlier in the season, Suwon were looking to build a new dawn having seen Lee Lim-saeng depart his managerial post earlier in the week. Regaining match fitness, Na Sang-ho started for the visitors and caused problems as early as the 8th minute with his intricate skill on the byline. Striking the post later in the half, Na looks to be a terrific signing for the Magpies.

It would have been difficult for Suwon not to improve in the second half and talisman Adam Taggart struck a dipping volley just wide of Jeon Jong-hyeok's goal. Seongnam saw Iskanderov's goal chalked off with 20 minutes remaining as Suwon failed to show the kind of bounce and energy you expect with a new man in charge. Ten minutes later the visitors stole all three points as former Ulsan Hyundai defender Lee Chang-yong headed home from a corner.

Previous Meetings

Gwangju have already taken three points from Suwon this season, with victory up north kick starting the Yellows rejuvenation. Good work from Marcos Urena down the left allowed Felipe to head home in stoppage time. Prior to that, Suwon enjoyed much the better of previous meetings. Knocking Gwangju out of FA Cups in 2019 and 2017, the Bluewings have limited Gwangju to just three wins in 18 meetings.

Team News

Neither team have suspension worries with Gwangju and Suwon ninth and tenth in the table respectively. Yeo Bong-hoon and Lee Min-gi both return from suspension and are expected to take their places on the bench for this one. Lee Soon-min and winter signing Han Hee-hoon both made their first starts in the league this year with the defenders contributing to a first clean sheet in eight games, since the last time Gwangju met Suwon.

Interim Suwon boss Joo Seung-jin recalled Adam Taggart to the starting line up last time out after the Australian was dropped to the bench for the FA Cup trip to Jeju United in what was to be Lee Lim-saeng's final game in charge. He started up front with Kim Gun-hee whose minutes have been limited this season. Kim Jong-woo was preferred to Terry Antonis in midfield. 

What To Watch

How will Gwangju's new stadium be received?

Moving 200m from the World Cup Stadium to their new home across the car park, Gwangju FC have built a 10,000-seater stadium with stands on four sides. Still not fully completed with roofs to come on three stands, the Yellows new stadium is more size appropriate for their needs and also boasts a club house and renewable energy sources behind each goal. While location is not currently desirable being so far from the centre of town and convenient transport links, there are plans to extend Gwangju's subway line in the direction of the stadium in the near future. It's a great shame that fans will just miss out on seeing their team for this inaugural fixture, with supporters set to return in a limited capacity in the near future. The atmosphere should be greatly improved with spectators much closer to the action.

Gwangju legend Yeo Reum shields the ball from Doneil Henry in June's encounter.

Willyan has a point to prove

Willyan's performances on the pitch outweigh his stats this season. After a disciplinary panel extended his suspension, Willyan will be playing his first league fixture in Gwangju since June's defeat to Pohang Steelers four weeks ago. A tricky winger with a great touch and understanding with Gwangju's talisman Felipe, Willyan is key to how the Yellows attack. While not possessing blistering pace, Willyan is more than adept at whipping dangerous balls into the box and can consider himself unlucky to only have one goal to his name this season. Since moving from Panaitolikos last season, he has established himself as first choice winger in an area of the pitch where Gwangju are strongest. His more composed style complements Om Won-sang well on the opposite wing.


Prediction - Gwangju 2-1 Suwon Samsung Bluewings

Park Jin-seop will be keen to lay down a marker at his side's new home. To ensure survival this season, Gwangju need to boast solid home form against sides around them such as Suwon. Having already beaten Incheon United and Busan IPark in similar crunch games, I don't expect nerves to be a factor and Felipe should continue to cause problems for a Suwon defence that have conceded in their last five league games.

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