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Preview: Jeju United vs Bucheon FC 1995

On Wednesday night, two of the fiercest rivals in the second division will go head to head for the second time this season when Jeju United play host to Bucheon FC 1995 in a match which was originally supposed to take place last month but was postponed due to thick fog on the island. Jeju are right in the thick of the title race following their convincing 3-1 defeat of Ansan Greeners on the weekend, while Bucheon fell at home by a single goal to an emerging Gyeongnam FC. The first meeting between these sides seems so long ago now. Can the islanders keep their momentum at home, or will their visitors have something else up their sleeve? KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the match.

Match: Jeju United vs Bucheon FC 1995
Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Wednesday August 26th, 2020; 19:30 KST

Last Time Out

Jeju United 3-1 Ansan Greeners

Jeju United put on one of their best performances of the season on Sunday night, besting the Green Wolves by a two goal margin.  Gong Min-hyun scored a pair of goals and Jung Woo-jae had a goal and two assists in the win.

The islanders looked skillful going forward and the output matched the effort for one of the few times this season.  It would have been a perfect showing had they not conceded a late goal in injury time, with Kim Ryun-do getting a consolation marker in the final minute of second half injury time.  The win moved Jeju up to second place in the standings, one behind leaders Suwon FC and two ahead of third placed Daejeon Hana Citizen.  The slumping Greeners occupy ninth spot after Sunday's result.


Bucheon FC 1995 0-1 Gyeongnam FC

Bucheon and Gyeongnam played out a spirited first half with both sides looking well moving forward, but neither team brought their shooting boots in the first forty-five as a plethora of chances went begging.  The best chance would fall to the hosts, but Lee Kwang-jae's effort in first half stoppage time cannoned back off the post.

It looked as though the second half would produce much of the same, but the Reds were able to secure all three points in the dying embers of the second period when Jung Hyuk netted the winner with just minutes left in regulation time following a melee in the box after Bucheon failed to clear their lines.  The win keeps the Reds in the top half on 25 points while Bucheon have slipped to seventh after a positive start.


Previous Meetings

The first ever meeting between the two sides was played out at the end of May, with Jeju stealing the match at the death when Joo Min-kyu stole into the six yard box to slot home in injury time.  It was a tightly contested affair, but Jeju were ultimately the better side on the night, as Bucheon failed to get a single shot on target for the duration of the match.  The islanders controlled the tempo for long stretches but left it late in the end to take all three points.

Team News

Jung Woo-jae has seen more playing time of late, and his contributions are being noticed on the pitch.  His performance against Ansan was perhaps his best of the season and there is a sense that Nam Ki-il is willing to put more faith into him.  Gong Min-hyun is now the club's established goal threat.  His brace against the Green Wolves put his goal total on the season at seven putting him level with Suwon FC's Masatoshi Ishida.  Baek Dong-gyu will not be available for the match due to suspension, but there is expected to be considerable rotation for the midweek fixture because of the short turnaround.  

Lee Dong-ryul occupied the U-22 spot in the starting eleven on Sunday, but that could well change for the match on Wednesday night, with the possibility of one of either Seo Jin-su or Kim Hyun-woo taking a spot in the midfield.  Lee Kyu-hyuk could also be an option at left back.  Yoon Bo-sang could get a start in goal, with his last time between the sticks being in the 3-2 loss to Daejeon Hana Citizen back in May.

"Bucheon is not an easy opponent.  This time, it is a definitive match but we have to take several variables into consideration.  However, we are not shaken.  We just have to stay focused on the things we should do.  It has been challenging, but to this point, we have managed to overcome.  Eventually, we will have to get even stronger," the islanders' manager said ahead of the match.

Jefferson Baiano has spent a considerable amount of time on the sidelines for Bucheon over the past while owing to a hamstring injury, but could be in line for a return against the islanders.  There are no suspensions in the side and the rest of the squad is fit for selection.

The Adversary

William Barbio leads the club with four goals this season.

Aside from the scoring chance at the end of the first half against Gyeongnam, Bucheon offered very little to convince their fans that three points would be part of the equation at the end of the ninety minutes.  The club have now fallen to seventh in the standings after starting brightly, but have only one win in their past six matches.  Over that stretch, they have scored just three goals and conceded eight, and three losses resulted in clean sheets for their opposition.

With three of their next four fixtures after Wednesday night against potential title contenders, points are needed to stay in the mix at least for a playoff spot.  In the near future, they travel away to Daejeon Hana Citizen on September 6th, then to Suwon FC the following week, and then they will host the islanders again on the 19th.  This is a critical juncture in the schedule for Song Sun-ho's men, and could determine the shape of the rest of their season.

What to Watch

This match is a make-up of the match which was originally scheduled to be played on July 12th, but was called off due to heavy fog on the island.  There is a possibility that Wednesday night's match could be pushed back once again, as Typhoon Bavi barrels its way towards the Korean Peninsula, with it expected to be in the area by Wednesday morning.

This has caused some obvious concern, and the club released a statement on Tuesday morning stating that the league will look into the matter and a decision will be reached on whether to go ahead with the match by mid-afternoon on Wednesday.


If the match does go ahead, it would be fair to say that Jeju have a distinct advantage based on recent form.  However, if Baiano does return for Bucheon, he could be a factor in the final result.  That said, there is too much on the line for the islanders to slip up in this one.  They won the first match in the rivalry and will have to do so again because a win would put them top of the league going into the weekend.  It's expected to be another tense affair, but the islanders have the quality to get the result they need.

Predicted Score: Jeju United 1-0 Bucheon FC 1995

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