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Preview: Daegu FC vs Pohang Steelers

Daegu FC are set to play their penultimate game of the season with fans in attendance by welcoming third placed-Pohang Steelers to DGB Daegu Bank Park this Sunday. Can the Sky Blues gift the winning feeling to thirsty fans? Or will the Steelers continue their emphatic unbeaten run? K League United's Daegu FC correspondent Muyeol Jung has a look at what can be expected from this clash.

Last Time Out

Sangju Sangmu 2-1 Daegu FC 

Sangju Sangmu wrapped up their final home game at Sangju Civic Stadium with a 2-1 victory over Daegu FC. The hosts looked very motivated and dangerous from the start. After a few attempts in vain, Ahn Taehyun turned what looked like a shot into the back of the net and put the hosts in front. The situation went from bad to worse as Daegu defender Kim Jaewoo scored at the wrong end right before they lost Tsubasa to injury.

In the second half, the Sky Blues looked slightly better, but still unable to find a way in open play and the defence was too open. Into the last ten minutes of the game, Daegu's talisman Cesinha curled the ball to pull one back for the visitors, but that was all from the visitors who succumbed to defeat.


Pohang Steelers 4-0 Ulsan Hyundai 

Pohang came out on top of the East Coast Derby with an emphatic 4-0 win and put the brakes on Ulsan's run for the league title. Within five minutes of the first half, the hosts went ahead with Stanislav Iljutcenko's header. With their dominance ongoing, Ulsan's Kim Insung had two golden opportunities before the break saved by Kang Hyunmoo.

At the interval, Junior Negrão was brought on to turn things around for the Horangi, but two sendings off at 1-0 down saw their plan go in the wrong direction. Dave Bulthuis and Bjørn Johnsen were shown direct red cards within five minutes of each other on 55 minutes. Afterwards, it was all downhill for the away side. Stanislav Iljutcenko added his second before substitute Aleksandar Paločević netted a brace to make it 4-0 before the final whistle.


Previous Meetings

This season Daegu FC and Pohang Steelers have clashed twice in the league. The last meeting was an incredible comeback win for the Steelers as sensational youngster Song Minkyu's header proved to be the winner in a 3-2 win at home. Meanwhile, in the first meeting of the season, the two sides shared the points at DGB Daegu Bank Park after Edgar Bruno da Silva cancelled out Aleksandar Paločević's goal with his signature header in the second half.

Head to head, they have met 44 times with the Sky Blues winning 11 times and the Steelers winning 20 times, however, the gap narrowed down in their recent ten meetings with Daegu's three wins and Pohang's four wins.


Team News

Daegu FC

Without any suspension in the squad, caretaker Lee Byunggeun has less options to hands due to another injury. Diligent midfielder Nishi Tsubasa picked up a right elbow injury last time out and isn't likely to feature. Edgar da Silva (Achilles), has been sidelined for the last few weeks and remains a doubt. 

Meanwhile, Dejan Damjanović will likely return to a starting berth after earning playing time as a sub last time out. Either Lee Jinhyun or Oh Huseong are likely to feature in place of Tsubasa.

Pohang Steelers

Pohang mangaer Kim Gidong will be able to make the best selection without any concerns of suspension or injury. Last time out, Song Minkyu and Aleksandar Paločević started from the bench, but it was nothing other than a tactical decision and a rest after the international duties.

What To Watch

Can Daegu FC pull off a home win in front of fans at their third attempt?

Because of the pandemic ongoing, this tie is going to be the third and final home game this season that Daegu FC will have hosted with fans in attendance. Like the previous two games, this tie will be another full house after 3000 tickets (25% capacity) have completely sold out.

Can the Sky Blues please home fans with a victory at their penultimate game?

However, in their last two home games with the fans, things went utterly wrong. The first game's result could be excused as it was against the mighty Jeonbuk, but the loss to Incheon at home left many fans in the stands baffled, speechless, and in shock.

After the Sky Blues secured their top five finish with a 1-0 win over Gwangju, maintaining the motivation in the squad has been a concern for the caretaker boss and his lads.

In what will be a full house this Sunday, they should take this opportunity to motivate themselves again and fight strong to live up to the long-awaited winning feeling that the thirsty fans have been longing for.

Can Pohang Steelers surpass Ulsan's most goals scored?

Kim Gidong led-Pohang have been the most in-form side now with seven wins and a draw in their past eight league games since the end of August and On that run, they ruthlessly beat two title contenders Jeonbuk and Ulsan in turn and added fuel to the fire for the title race between the two Hyundai sides.

For this success, most plaudits are sent to the partnerships among Stanislav Iljutcenko (17 league goals), Aleksandar Paločević (13 league goals), Manuel Palacios (five league goals) and Song Minkyu (10 league goals) that scored 22 goals from their eight games.

Stanislav Iljutcenko has scored 17 goals this season with Pohang, but none of them were against Daegu. Can he roar at DGB Daegu Bank Park?

The Steelers, sitting third, have got little to achieve now with their ACL place secured, but manager Kim Gidong quickly navigated his side to the next goal. He said to the press: "We want to finish the season as the team who have scored the most goals". Currently, they are level with league leaders Ulsan Hyundai on 51 goals scored and the remaining fixtures are also in their favour as they will meet Daegu and Sangju, whilst Ulsan are ahead of the most important game against Jeonbuk before Gwangju at home.

The Steelers' lads are also in sync with the manager for it. The German striker looked very hungry for more goals even when they were 3-0 up with a two-man advantage last time out. Despite his brilliant performances throughout the season, unfortunately, the striker has perhaps not received as much attention as he deserves. He sits second in the scoring charts as well as the second most successful foreign striker in Pohang's history following Rade Bogdanović in the 1990s.
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Last time out in Sangju, Daegu were far away from vibrant and dangerous, knowing that they have already achieved their goal. Meanwhile, Pohang look very sharp and switched on. Fans in attendance will drive the Sky Blues to bravely go forward, but Pohang's flowing football is certainly formidable.

Daegu FC 1-3 Pohang Steelers

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