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Preview: Jeonnam Dragons vs Jeju United


 
Monday Night Football beckons for two of K League 2's contenders as it's fourth versus first in Gwangyang when Jeonnam Dragons host Jeju United in their final meeting of the season.  Two previous meetings have netted four out of a possible six points for the Dragons, but the islanders know they simply have to win to guarantee they can stay atop the table.  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the match.


Match: Jeonnam Dragons vs Jeju United
Venue: Gwangyang Football Stadium
Kickoff: Monday September 28th, 2020; 19:00 KST

Last Time Out

FC Anyang 1-2 Jeonnam Dragons

One glance at the overall numbers for the match may suggest that the hosts were in fact the better side, even if only by a fair margin, but the final score is what tallies the points in the end.  Hwang Mun-ki put the Violets into the lead just before the twenty minute mark in the first half, but that advantage was quickly negated by an own goal from Park Yo-han before the match was a half hour old.  

Things would go to the break all square, but it did not take long thereafter for Hernandes to leave his mark on the result, scoring what turned out to be the winner just five minutes into the second half.  The victory put them fourth for the moment but there is little room for error as the places in the upper half of the table are tight and with very little time remaining in the 2020 campaign, every result will be worth volumes.

Highlights

 

Bucheon FC 1995 0-2 Jeju United

Ahn Hyun-beom and Joo Min-kyu scored early goals as the islanders built a two goal advantage before even a quarter of an hour had been played.  Following the early outburst, however, neither team looked as if they were ready to assert themselves on the match further, and the league leaders stretched their league-high unbeaten run to nine.  Bucheon had a lion's share of possession but really couldn't do much with it.  Jeju could have had a third just before the end of regulation when a cross was headed home from a corner, but the marker was chalked off after a VAR review.  

The match featured the professional debut of Lee Young-chang who started in place of the suspended Choi Bong-jin.  He will make his second consecutive start this weekend as Choi is still out for the match against FC Anyang.

Highlights    


Previous Meetings

The two sides have met twice this season, with Jeonnam taking four out of a possible six points, with the last meeting ending in a 1-1 draw.  Park Chan-yong opened the scoring in the 14th minute with Lim Dong-hyuk netting the equalizer in the 51st minute.

In 32 total matches between the sides, Jeju have won 18 times to Jeonnam's six with the remaining eight matches ending in a draw.  However, in the fifteen matches played in Gwangyang, both teams have five wins apiece and five matches have ended all square at the final whistle.  Another tight affair is expected on offer on Monday night.

Team News

For the Dragons, Lim Chang-kyun will be one to watch.  He has four assists so far in 2020 and is a viable attacking threat.  The islanders will also have to pay close attention to Hernandes, who is a speed option on the left flank and who could wreak havoc if given too much space.

Park Jun-hyuk is the league leader in clean sheets and has only conceded once to Jeju this season.  The Dragons are also first in terms of total goals conceded with sixteen, so they will be tough to break down.

Manager Jeon Kyung-jun is aware of the threat of facing Jeju but is confident in a result.

"Jeju is a team with a good squad and they are the league leaders at the moment.  But this is a match we must win.  I will mobilize everything I have and go for victory," he said.

Joo Min-kyu is currently on a four match scoring streak for the Tangerines, putting him on eight goals for the season.  Gong Min-hyun also has eight goals for the islanders, who rank second overall in terms of goals scored among teams in the division with 36.  Kim Young-wook leads K League 2 with five assists, while Oh Seung-hoon ranks third in the league in clean sheets with six.

Ahn Hyun-beom, who has scored in consecutive matches, is optimistic about Jeju's recent success.

"I don't think we will lose to any team right now.  The pursuit of Suwon FC is a challenge, but the players are not shaken at all; we are only looking forward.  We want to win all of our remaining matches and get automatic promotion," he said.

Ahn Hyun-beom has scored in consecutive matches for the islanders.

It looks as though there will be a full squad for selection as there are no injuries or suspensions in the side.  It also likely means that there will be little rotation in the starting eleven owing to the fact that the team has had some extra rest with the fixture being at the beginning of the week.


The Adversary

Julain Kristoffersen has found the net four times for the Dragons in 2020.

Jeonnam are currently undefeated in their past six matches with two wins and four draws, so they are definitely not an opponent to be taken lightly.  Their position in the table with seven matches remaining is tenuous at best with the likes of Seoul E-Land (28 points) and Gyeongnam FC (27 points) hot on their heels.  They also know that there is a possibility they could jump into third place by the end of the round if Daejeon Hana Citizen slip up in their match away to Ansan Greeners.

Scoring for the team has improved of late, and there are several options for Jeju to consider when touting their defensive strategy.  Julian Kristoffersen has scored four times this season and is a threat in the air.  The aforementioned Hernandes has three, as does Kim Hyun-wook, while Lee Jong-ho and Hwang Ki-wook have two each.  The Dragons are in fine fettle at the moment and it would be a mistake to overlook them.


What to Watch

One of the reasons for Jeju's success this season is due to their overall impact as a team at both ends of the pitch.  They rank second in both goals scored and goals allowed, and several players account for this.  When it comes to the back line, Kim Oh-gyu has been a standout since joining the team from Gangwon FC.  

Another feature has been the wing-back play of Jung Woo-jae and Ahn Hyun-beom.  They have not been shy about going forward and it has resulted in a litany of scoring chances for the club over the past six matches, where they have found the back of the net on seventeen occasions.  

Jeju and Jeonnam met on the second matchday of the season, and it is fair to conclude that neither side was anywhere close to the kind of form they are showing now.  The second meeting began Jeju's current unbeaten run.  With the playoffs and a title on the line, there is a lot on the line for both clubs as the teams in contention below them are just waiting for them to put a foot wrong to gain an advantage as the season winds down.


Prediction

There have been only three goals scored in this fixture this year.  There is a good chance that may not change on Monday night.  The difference, however, is that Jeju are winning matches, as opposed to Jeonnam, who have drawn most of theirs recently.  Both teams are strong defensively, but the islanders are markedly better in the final third.  If they wish to extend their stay at the top of the division, that will be one of the most important keys to victory for them.  While the Dragons are a tough opponent, it is time for Jeju to enact a bit of revenge and get the three points they need to stay ahead in the title race.

Predicted Score: Jeonnam Dragons 1-2 Jeju United


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