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Preview: Jeju United vs Daejeon Hana Citizen

One of the most pivotal matches left on the fixture list in K League 2 will take place this weekend on the island when Jeju United host Daejeon Hana Citizen, with the islanders still holding on to a slender two point edge at the top of the table.  Nam Ki-il's men have yet to beat the Purples this season.  Can they turn their luck and remain in first place?  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the match.

Match: Jeju United vs Daejeon Hana Citizen
Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Sunday September 13th, 2020; 16:00 KST

Last Time Out

Gyeongnam FC 3-3 Jeju United

Things in Changwon got off to a quick start as Joo Min-kyu put Jeju in front after just six minutes played after he was in on goal thanks to a back-heeled through ball from Lee Dong-ryul, finishing the chance with a neat little chip over Reds' 'keeper Hwang Sung-min.  Things would stay level until the 37th minute when Han Ji-ho leveled proceedings after a cutback from the left flank left the islanders' central defenders flat-footed and he fired low into the net.

Gyeongnam would take the lead just after the re-start when Luc Castaignos banged home his second attempt effort from a corner.  With the rain starting to fall harder, Jeju found a lifeline when Jin Seong-wook headed home from a corner with twenty minutes to play.  They would regain the lead nine minutes later when unlikely goal hero Kwon Han-jin's looping header also found the back of the net from a corner and it looked as though Jeju would be able to hold on for all three points.  

However, it was not to be as Gyeongnam found an equalizer in the fifth minute of injury time following a questionable penalty decision that went to VAR and was given.  Negueba, who had come on as a substitute only minutes earlier, stepped up for the spot kick, which was saved by Oh Seung-hoon, but the rebound was put home and Jeju had to settle for only a point at the final whistle.


Daejeon Hana Citizen 1-0 Bucheon FC 1995

It looked as though Daejeon Hana Citizen were going to have to settle for a draw against Bucheon FC 1995 until Bruno Baio found a winner for them in the second minute of injury time at the end of the match, keeping them in third spot in the table following the weekend's results.  It was a match which saw them with more possession than their opponents and they led virtually in every offensive category.

Bucheon had only one shot on target the entire match and were reduced to ten men after 61 minutes when Song Hong-min was sent off with a straight red card, meaning he will face a two match ban, ensuring that he misses the match against Jeju United next week.  Meanwhile, the win for Daejeon has them on thirty points at the moment, five points adrift of their hosts on the weekend, but knowing that a win would put them back in touching distance of a side they have already beaten on two occasions this season.


Previous Meetings

Daejeon have won both of the previous meetings between the sides this year, with the first win coming back in May.  Jeju were two goals to the good and then everything began to change.  First, Andre Luis scored from the spot to cut the deficit in half.  Then, Lee Chang-min was sent off with a straight red for a senseless challenge.  Daejeon found an equalizer with ten minutes remaining through Park Jin-seop and Yoon Seung-won would win it for them with only two minutes left in regulation.

The second time the teams met, the Purples snapped the islanders' unbeaten run back in July, after they had gone seven matches unbeaten in the league.  Goals from Park Yong-ji and Andre Luis were enough to get them the three points.  Gong Min-hyun scored the only goal of the match for Jeju.

Team News

Jeju United have employed a 3-4-3 formation in most of their matches this season, but of late, there has been consistency in terms of the team selection as Nam Ki-il has opted for the same starting lineup in three of the past four matches.  After a cold spell which had seen him off the scoresheet for three long months, Joo Min-kyu has scored in back to back matches, and could well find his name on the score sheet again this weekend if he can maintain his recent form.

Kim Young-wook had a pair of assists against Gyeongnam last weekend and has three in his past two matches.  He has begun to show his real playmaking ability of late, and that could be key for the club as they face a tough stretch of matches in the opening portion of the fall schedule as they go on the road to face Bucheon FC 1995 and Jeonnam Dragons to round out the month of September.  They will also face Gyeongnam away in mid-October and Suwon FC at home the following week.  Those matches are preceded by a pair of home matches against FC Anyang and Ansan Greeners as their first two matches next month.

Kim Young-wook (center) celebrates scoring the winner against Suwon FC back in June.

Chung Woon will be unavailable through suspension for the match, so there is a chance that one of either Valentinos Sielis or Park Won-jae could take his place in the starting eleven.  There are no major injuries, so all other players will likely be available for selection.

For Daejeon, there could be a vastly different look to their starting eleven when they face the islanders this weekend.  Connor Chapman will likely start this weekend.  He was rested against Bucheon last weekend as he is currently on four yellow cards; one more would put him on a suspension.  Meanwhile, center backs Lee Woong-hee and Lee Ji-sol could miss the match due to injuries.  Hwang Do-yeon is also doubtful as he looked to pick up a knock against Bucheon and if he doesn't play, then Chapman will start in the middle of the back line.

Goalkeepers Kim Dong-jun and Park Ju-won, who have both missed considerable time over the long term are both still out.  Yoon Seung-won also may not be fit to play, but the match will see the return of Park In-hyeok, who has served his ten match ban for driving under the influence, and with so many key players out, he could find a spot in the matchday lineup.  Luckily, there are no suspensions in the side, but choosing a starting eleven with so many players on the mend could prove challenging with so many holes to cover in the back.

The Adversary

Bruno Baio snatched a late winner against Bucheon last weekend and could feature once again against the islanders.

The weekend trip to the island will be a significant one as Daejeon announced the firing of manager Hwang Sun-hong this week.  It is a bit of a curious move, with the decision being made at a relatively late junction in the season as the contenders prepare for the stretch run with less than ten matches remaining before a champion is declared.

Many have been critical of Hwang's tactics on several occasions this year, and that was one of the major reasons for his dismissal.  Currently sitting third in the table obviously wasn't good enough for the Hana Group, which made a very rich investment into the club in the off-season.  A wealth of talent was brought in, but the results haven't been as expected.  In fact, the situation had become so tenuous that senior personnel in charge of the club felt that the only way that Daejeon could achieve the goal of promotion back to the first division for 2021 would be for Hwang to leave and for a new manager to be found.

Before their win last weekend, Daejeon had been winless in four matches after losing 3-2 to Gyeongnam FC on August 8th, followed by back to back goalless draws against Seoul E-Land and FC Anyang and a 1-1 draw against Jeonnam Dragons.

What to Watch

Jeju have been prone to allowing goals late on in matches and it cost them all three points in their first meeting with Daejeon this season.  They are also coming off a match last weekend where they had to settle for a draw for the exact same reason against Gyeongnam.  While the penalty given which led to the tying goal looked questionable in terms of the call, it was decided by the KFA that in fact the decision was correct.  Whatever the case may be, the islanders can ill afford to be dropping points late on in the season if they want to cement their status as one of the favorites to lift the title at the finish line.


This will be the final match between the two sides in 2020, and with Daejeon winning both of the previous encounters, now would be the perfect time for Jeju to enact a bit of revenge for those losses.  Considering how much is on the line for them, it would be a setback for them not to win this time around.  They must also show that they can beat the bigger clubs in the division in critical matches, and that has to start this weekend.  Daejeon will be shorthanded in the back, and with the islanders firing on all cylinders up front, it's time for the goal threats to take center stage and bring home a win.

Predicted Score: Jeju United 2-1 Daejeon Hana Citizen

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