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Preview: Daegu FC vs Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

This Saturday sees two resurgent sides face off at DGB Daegu Bank Park where third-placed Daegu FC play host to title contenders Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. K League United's Daegu FC correspondent Muyeol Jung previews what will be the most entertaining game in Round 15.

Last Time Out

Suwon Samsung Bluewings 0-1 Daegu FC

Ten man Daegu FC pulled off a miracle against Suwon Bluewings at Suwon World Cup Stadium courtesy of Brazilian forward Edgar's late winner. From the beginning, both sides looked aggressive with a few good changes, and the game swiftly went the way of the Bluewings after the Sky Blues' midfielder Kim Sunmin received his marching orders on 35 minutes through VAR consultation.

As a result, the majority of the second half was played in Daegu's own half. A man advantaged Suwon constantly threatened to open the scoring, but their efforts were not enough to pass through Korean international goalkeeper Gu Sungyun. While Suwon were still struggling to find a way, the visitors were clinical on their chance. With less then five minutes to play, substitute Edgar chased the ball behind Canadian international Doneil Henry and curled into the top corner. Ten man Daegu held on to bag their first three points at Suwon's turf in 18 years.


Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2-1 Pohang Steelers

Jeonbuk beat third-placed Pohang Steelers by 2-1 at home and continue their race for the title. The game with fans back for the first time this season started in style from the beginning and both sides looked dangerous. With half an hour played, dominating Pohang unexpectedly went down to 10 men after Colombian winger Palacios received his marching orders for a studded tackle to a defender.

Despite one-man deficit, the Steelers took a surprising lead on 54 minutes after young Korean Song Minkyu fired the ball through Jeonbuk's shotstopper Song Beomkeun's legs. The goalkeeper could and should have done better. Jose Morais brought on former Reading FC winger Modou Barrow and pushed his lads harder to find an equaliser and it turned out to be a cracker for the Motors. The substitute floated the ball up inside the box where former Pohang man Son Junho waited and headed home with a well-timed header. Much revitalised Jeonbuk kept on fire and finally went ahead with a second of the evening when Kim Bokyung put it away with his left foot inside the box through a great flow of passing in the middle. For the remaining 20 minutes, neither side added any more and it ended in a 2-1 win to Jeonbuk.


Previous Meetings

Daegu FC and Jeonbuk Hyundai clashed in Round 3 this season when the Sky Blues got away with a hopeless 2-0 loss away from home after Murilo and Cho Gue-Sung both found the net for Jeonbuk.

Historically, the two sides have met 42 times in the league with Daegu winning eight times and Jeonbuk winning 24 times. In their recent ten meetings, the Sky Blues have claimed a solo win, while the seven times K League Champions have overwhelming results with six wins.

Team News

Daegu FC

With Hong Jungwoon (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) and Hwang Soonmin (fatigue fracture) out for a while, caretaker Lee Byunggeun might have to prepare for Jeonbuk's visit to Daegu without Daegu's talisman Cesinha. The Brazilian remains uncertain after being subbed off before the break in the previous game with what it looked like a calf injury. If he isn't fit enough, young attacking midfielder Lee Jinhyun is likely to take his place. There's also a chance that former Brazil U20 forward Edgar might start from the bench again after he just returned from the injury for the first time in a month.

In midfield, Japanese midfielder Nishi Tsubasa will be back and paired with Ryu Jaemoon in the place of Kim Sunmin who is suspended for two games following the sending off.

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

In Jeonbuk's recent few games, Takahiro Kunimoto (ankle) and Lee Donggook (knee) were out of the squad with injuries and they might make the squad by the weekend. Regardless of their availability, however, manager Jose Morais will have little to worry about naming his starting XI thanks to positive effects that were brought back by two summer signings Gustavo and Modou Barrow.

For their first visit to Daegu this season, Jose's selection will likely remain similar to the previous team that defeated Pohang without any suspensions. The two acquisitions are likely to start on the bench again.

What To Watch

Can having fans back boost Daegu at home?

This is going to be the first game open to fans this season and apparently fans are having high hopes for this game by virtue of all allocated 1200 tickets (10% of capacity) have been totally sold out within a few minutes after they went on sale.

Daegu's new home, DGB Daegu Bank Stadium opened last season with 12,000 capacity and is significantly hailed for opening a new era in Korean football by suggesting a small football-specific stadium model in the city centre. There's no doubt that the reason behind the citizen club's massive success was down to the stadium as well.

The scene won't be the same as last season, but having fans back will certainly generate better atmosphere in such a small stadium.

During the season, Daegu caretaker Lee Byunggeun occasionally spoke to the press that "it is a shame that we had to play behind closed doors in home games where home fans in our new home would have given massive support to us."

Despite the loss of advantage this season, Daegu's home form (4W-2D-1L) is almost same as the away form (3W-2D-2L). However, having fans back will generate better atmosphere and give the the Daegu lads superstitious power to be able to cope with the mighty Jeonbuk.

ACL Hope vs Title Race

This is a must-win game for both sides for different reasons. Third-placed hosts are hoping to find themselves in the AFC Champions League next season in contention with Pohang Steelers, while the visitors are looking to keep up with Ulsan Hyundai in a title race.

Han Kyowon has been the most influential in Jose's side this season.

With both sides having very strong motivation in their minds, two attacking minded sides are expected to fight fiercely for three points. For the hosts, Jeonbuk's right winger Han Kyowon is going to be a big threat on their left flank, which is their Achilles heel. For Jeonbuk, they will have to prepare well to deal with Daegu's flowing counter-attack.

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I don't think either side is going to defensively totally collapse as the result here could be decisive for the two sides. However, Jeonbuk's resurgent form is particularly worrying for Daegu's relatively weak defence, particularly the left hand side, which can be easily exploited.

Daegu FC 1-2 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors

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