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Preview: Jeonnam Dragons vs Bucheon FC 1995

Preview: Jeonnam Dragons vs Bucheon FC 1995
Sixth place Jeonnam Dragons prepare to take on fourth place Bucheon FC 1995 this Saturday in the K League 2. The Dragons were in action against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors during the week for the FA Cup, whereas Bucheon enjoyed a long rest, thanks to their Jeju United game being postponed because of adverse weather and their shock FA Cup exit by the hands of K4 team Ulsan Citizen in mid June meaning they didn't play in the week. 

Match: Jeonnam Dragons vs Bucheon FC 1995
Venue: Gwanyang Football Stadium
Kick-off: 18th July 2020, 18:00 KST
Form: Jeonnam: LDWWL   Bucheon: WLDLL

Last Time Out

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 3 - 2 Jeonnam Dragons AET

Jeonnam and Jeonbuk clashed in an FA Cup fixture on Wednesday night, the first "Honam derby" since the Dragon's relegation in 2018. And despite things on paper looking very one sided, the K League 2 side gave the K League 1 champions a fright by scoring a 89th minute equalizer to make the score 1-1, and take the game to extra time.

The Dragons did ride their luck at times, especially when Jeonbuk's Cho Kyu-sung missed a one-on-one opportunity to make the score 2-0 less than a minute before former Jeonbuk striker Lee Jong-ho headed in to make the score 1-1. But despite moments of fortune for the South Jeolla team, Jeonbuk might be feeling like they got away with winning this fixture.

Jeonnam slightly surprised by pressing further up the pitch than many expected, and that did contribute to Jeonbuk's first goal within the first 20 minutes, as there was just too much space allowed by the Dragon's defence, however after that goal they settled nicely and gave almost as good as they got. Although they lost the tie, their performace will surely have given the players the belief that they can compete with any team if they work hard enough.

Bucheon FC 1995 1 - 0 Daejeon Hana Citizen

Thanks to crashing out of the FA Cup in a 1-0 defeat against K4 team Ulsan Citizen, and  the game versus Jeju United being cancelled due to torrential weather battering Jeju-do island on the weekend, Bucheon haven't played a competitive game since the sixth of July.

The Daejeon game wasn't the most exciting game of the year, and the only goal came via a penalty kick in the 37th minute, converted by Jefferson Baiano. Bucheon did, however, manage to create a few more opportunities during the game than the travelling team, but overall the match was fairly equal.

Bucheon were average in this match, but the result would have been the only thing that manager Song Sun-ho cared about, as after a strong start to the league, winning four out of their first five games, they have waned in recent weeks, with the win against Daejeon their first in five games.


Previous Meetings

The Dragons came out victorious in the reverse fixture, just over a month ago, with the score finishing 1-0. The only goal coming early in the game via a Julian Kristoffersen header, prompting Jeonnam to retreat deeper into their own half and defend their slender lead for the rest of the game.

Like so many clubs in the K League 2, the history between the teams is fairly recent. Jeonnam and Bucheon have only faced each other a total of five times in all competitions, with the South Jeolla team coming out on top with three wins, one draw and one loss.

Bucheon will surely be looking to put things right against Jeonnam this Saturday, and will go into the game knowing that if they win, they will be level on points with first place Suwon FC, at least until Suwon play the next day.

Team News

Jeonnam may look to make a few changes to their starting eleven this Saturday as they must surely be feeling some fatigue after their 120 minute show down with Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. The players have only two full days to recover, which may be enough for some of the younger players, but it's possible that manager Jeon Kyung-jun will want to give more senior players a well deserved rest.

With no injuries or suspensions to worry about, and with a fairly lengthy break in between games,  Bucheon manager Song Sun-ho should be content in his sides preparation for this game. The postponement of the Jeju game, and no mid-week FA Cup tie, should benefit his side, giving a team that doesn't change too often a much needed rest. Bucheon hit the ground running when the season finally started, after over a two month delay due to COVID-19, so the Gyeonggi side will be hoping to rediscover that form that saw them sitting on the top of the table for a short time back in May.

What To Watch

Will the Dragons be up for the game?

We see it time and time again, all over the footballing world, team's performances dip after playing "big games". Wednesday night was perhaps Jeonnam's biggest game of the past two seasons, and their players and coaching staff would have been anticipating, and preparing for, this game ever since they beat Gyeongnam in the previous FA Cup round, knowing a place in the quarter finals was the prize for beating their northern neighbors. So after all the build up, adrenaline, and rush of emotions on Wednesday night, can the Dragons motivate themselves for a K League 2 game?

Bucheon's energy

The Gyeonggi team are fully aware of the Dragon's exploits on Wednesday, so of course they will be looking to take advantage of that. Bucheon are fresh and will most likely put a lot of pressure on the Dragon's players to make mistakes, especially in the latter stages of the game when tired legs become a factor and more passes go astray. Preparation will also play a big part, as mentioned, Jeonnam probably have been focusing on the FA Cup game, with little to no thought on this Saturday's K League 2 match. Bucheon will try to capitalize on that.



The Dragons will have the physiological edge over the away side, given their win over them earlier in the season, but the mid-week Honam derby would have fatigued them, and this K League 2 match might be coming a day or two too soon for the South Jeolla side, whereas Bucheon will be fresh and raring to go given their layoff.

Prediction: A narrow Bucheon FC 1995 win.

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