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Preview: Jeju United vs FC Anyang



Jeju United delivered a statement performance with a 4-0 thrashing of Bucheon FC 1995 in their midweek fixture, a match which had previously been postponed in Round 10 due to thick fog.  Three second half goals cemented what was perhaps the islanders' most complete performance of the season to date.  FC Anyang, meanwhile, had to settle for a goalless draw at home to Daejeon Hana Citizen last time out. The islanders are unbeaten in the month of August and would like to close out the month with another three points.  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the match.

Match: Jeju United vs FC Anyang
Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Saturday August 29th, 2020; 19:00 KST


Last Time Out

Jeju United 4-0 Bucheon FC 1995

A tight encounter was expected between the two rival sides who met in May for the first time this season.  It was anything but.  There was speculation prior to the match that it may have to be postponed a second time owing to Typhoon Bavi moving through the area, but the decision was taken for the match to go ahead.  For Jeju, it turned out to be quite beneficial.

The islanders dominated possession in the first half but almost had nothing to show for it until Lee Dong-ryul was taken down in the penalty area.  He stepped up for the spot kick and converted with a measured strike which struck the post on the way in, his debut goal for the club.

Jeju came out for the second half displaying much the same tempo which had carried them in the first forty-five minutes and would go two up on 63 minutes when Gong Min-hyun pounced on a rebound after Ahn Hyun-beom's initial shot from just outside the area was kept out by Choi Bong-jin.

A third would come on 76 minutes when Kang Yoon-sung hit a first-time low drive into the bottom corner thanks in part to a great ball from Gong Min-hyun.  The islanders would round out the scoring four minutes later when Eder finished with a lovely chip over the Bucheon 'keeper making the most of an elegant through pass from Kang.  The win vaulted the islanders to the top of the league heading into the weekend with a two point cushion over Suwon FC.

Highlights



FC Anyang 0-0 Daejeon Hana Citizen

Both teams had their chances to score early in the match but could not get on the scoresheet.  Newly signed Brazilian Edinho had perhaps the best chance of the half on 25 minutes, but his strike from outside the box cannoned off the post.  The visitors were denied by the woodwork again, not once, but twice, with Jo Jae-cheol's bomb from distance hitting the post and then Jung Hee-woong's close range shot hit the crossbar.

Anyang looked the more attacking outfit after the interval and should have gone in front on the hour mark when an errant back pass fell into the path of Kim Gyeong-min, but he was thwarted by a fine save from Kim Jin-young.  That seemed to galvanize the Purples, and Edinho could have put them ahead in the 81st minute, but his shot on goal went the wrong side of the post.  There would be no change in proceedings until the final whistle, and Hwang Sun-hong's men squandered a chance to move up in the table with the draw.

Highlights


Previous Meetings

The sides met early last month and it finished 2-1 in favor of the islanders.  Kim Gyeong-min got the Violets out to an early lead after just two minutes, but Lee Chang-min would respond only five minutes later, and then Gong Min-hyun scored what would eventually turn out to be the winner just after the half hour mark.  Despite having more possession and a better passing rate overall, Anyang could not make it count and Jeju held them off until the end of the ninety.

Team News

The win against Bucheon means that Jeju are now top of the league with eleven rounds to go.  And, while there is still much work to be done, the islanders can point to a number of positives moving forward.  Gong Min-hyun's goal against Bucheon was his eighth of the season, good for third in the scorers' table.  He has caught fire of late, with four goals and one assist in his past three starts.  It should also be noted that he has scored six goals and added two assists against Anyang over the course of his career.  On the flip side, Joo Min-kyu's struggles continue, suggesting that Lim Dong-hyuk may be the man Nam Ki-il will turn to for this weekend's fixture.  

Jung Woo-jae has been garnering quite a bit of attention recently with some excellent performances, and, since missing the first two matches of the season, has played consistently and has been a presence on the left side of midfield.  His one goal, two assist performance against Ansan Greeners earned him MVP honors last round, but the most important thing is that he has been able to remain healthy following his return from ACL surgery last year.  The swap deal with Daegu FC which sent Jeong Tae-wook the other way is finally starting to bear fruit for both clubs.

Lee Dong-ryul scored his first goal for the islanders in the Typhoon Derby, and with back to back starts following three matches out of the squad, he could be a candidate for a more permanent role as the regular choice for the U-22 spot in the starting eleven.  His blistering speed is one of his greatest assets, and it was on display in helping to secure the opening goal against Bucheon.  The only other player who has shown real promise in the role this season is Kim Hyun-woo, so there is a good possibility the two of them will share duties until the end of the season.

Lee Dong-ryul scored his first goal for Jeju against Bucheon.

The clean sheet on Wednesday night was a vindication of sorts for goalkeeper Oh Seung-hoon, who, in fact did not have much to do at all.  But, after the Jeju back line conceded in injury time against Ansan, Oh looked noticeably unsatisfied leaving the pitch.  Much more settled following the midweek succes, he will be looking for his fifth clean sheet of the season at the weekend.

A pair of players will return from their military service at Sangju Sangmu in time for this weekend's match, as Jin Seong-wook and Lee Chan-dong rejoin the club, and could find themselves inserted into the squad right away.  Jin featured in the first five matches for Sangju in 2020, but has not played since.  Nonetheless, he will be yet another attack option for the islanders, who now have considerable depth up top for the stretch run.  Lee made eight appearances overall for the military club, including in five of the past six matches, and will be employed mainly as a defensive midfielder, but with a wealth of competition in the middle, his minutes may be limited at best.  Ryu Seung-woo will also be coming back, but is out due to injury.

Kang Yoon-sung will not be available through suspension, but Baek Dong-gyu returns from his and is available for selection.  The rest of the squad is fit, and there could be a few changes for the match Saturday with the quick turnaround, but Nam Ki-il has a number of options at his disposal in all areas on the pitch.

For Anyang, Yang Dong-won took a bit of a knock in the last match against Daejeon Hana Citizen but ended up playing the full ninety minutes.  It was his third consecutive start after three straight matches on the bench, so it may indicate that Kim Hyung-yeol may make him the first choice goalkeeper for the rest of the season.

Koo Bon-hyeok returned against Daejeon after being out of the squad against Ansan and Bucheon and will likely take his place in the starting eleven against Jeju.

There are no suspensions and no other injuries of note, and with the side currently on its best run of form in 2020, there should not be too much deviation in terms of the first team lineup for the weekend.

The Adversary

Kim Gyeong-min (number nine) will be key to the Violets' chances on Saturday night.
FC Anyang enters weekend play on a three match unbeaten streak, with wins against Ansan Greeners and Bucheon FC 1995 and a draw against Daejeon Hana Citizen last time out, but they do so knowing they lost the first meeting of the season to their hosts early last month. 

Bruno Acosty Maxwell continues to be the man to watch for this weekend's visitors as he leads the team in goals with five, while Kim Gyeong-min, who scored Anyang's only goal last time against Jeju will also be one to keep an eye on.  Maurides and Koo Bon-hyeok, who leads the team in assists are also potential threats for the islanders.

The match will be a homecoming of sorts for Heo Beom-san, who spent parts of five seasons with the islanders from 2014 to 2019, going out on loan to Gangwon FC in 2016 and then doing his military service with Asan Mugunghwa before moving to Seoul E-Land on a free transfer prior to the start of last season.  He is currently on loan from the Leopards until the end of the year.  He has made three brief appearances from the bench since joining the squad, and could do so again against Jeju.

What to Watch

There is a bit of a logjam when it comes to attacking options for the islanders with the return of Jin Seong-wook to the fold.  Gong Min-hyun is established and will keep his place so long as he stays healthy.  Lim Dong-hyuk has shown he can be a viable option up top, which makes him even more dangerous as a dual threat player owing to his defensive ability.  Joo Min-kyu has fallen well short of expectations after getting off to a blistering start, and Jung Jo-gook has proven to be serviceable when called upon this year.

Then there is the case of Eder, who played under Nam Ki-il with Seongnam last season but has only appeared three times for Jeju this season.  He has spent the majority of time out of the squad, but could his return to action be saying something?  His chip over Choi Bong-jin was pleasing to the eye and his reaction upon scoring his first goal in tangerine colors is sure to reverberate through the rest of the squad as they enter the stretch run.

There is a wealth of talent on offer, but will the ability or inability to spread playing time among the group hurt or hinder Jeju's chances of promotion and a possible title?  That is a question which will be answered in the weeks to come.

Prediction

With seven goals in their past two matches, Jeju have finally found the goal scoring form which was expected of them from the start of the campaign.  But, there is much more at stake.  They would like to finish the month of August unbeaten and extend their advantage at the top of the division if possible, but a win this weekend is essential whatever the case.  They shouldn't take Anyang lightly, though, as their opponents have been in fine form lately themselves.  However, on the balance of overall quality, Jeju should have the edge.  With much more to play for, it should be the motivation they need to get them over the line.

Predicted Score: Jeju United 2-1 FC Anyang

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