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Preview: Gwangju FC vs Daegu FC

 

Looking to give themselves an outside chance of AFC Champions League qualification with victory over Daegu FC, Gwangju FC will hope to repeat their heroics of four weeks ago when they came out on the right side of a 10-goal thriller in K League 1. 

Last Time Out

Pohang Steelers 5-3 Gwangju FC

Pohang's second consecutive game with over six goals, the Steelyard witnessed an evening of attacking prowess last Sunday. Stanislav Iljutcenko gave Kim Gi-dong's side the lead at the break with a near-post header before an incredible seven goal haul in the second half. After going 2-0 down, each of the Yellows front three of Felipe, Willyan and Eom Won-sang helped themselves to a goal each to put Gwangju 3-2 up. Unfortunately for Park Jin-seop's side that joy was short-lived as Iljutcenko's hat-trick and Aleksandar Paločević's brace from the spot helped confirm Pohang's place in the Champions League next season.


Daegu FC 2-2 Ulsan Hyundai

Daegu claimed a second point against league leaders Ulsan in September by virtue of Park Han-bin's stoppage time equaliser. The Citizen club's talisman Cesinha had put his side in front on 22 minutes, assisted by Park, before Junior levelled proceedings bagging his 25th of the season before the break. Kim Tae-hwan looked to have claimed all three points with a fine solo effort after the interval but Lee Byung-geun's side failed to give up the ghost and Park sparked jubilant scenes before the final whistle. 



Previous Meetings

There have been an astonishing 16 goals in the last two meetings between the sides with both sides claiming a victory each. Prior to August's 6-4 victory for Gwangju, the Yellows had struggled to get the better of Daegu in K League 1 failing to beat them on four occasions since 2017. The 6-4 victory last time out was notable for Felipe's dominance of Daegu's three central defenders before Lim Min-hyuk and Kim Ju-gong put gloss on the score line having been afforded far too much space in the closing stages. 

Cesinha celebrating one of two goals against Gwangju back in August

Team News

Gwangju boss Park Jin-seop has a selection headache to contend with with three key figures suspended for Daegu's visit. Two of the Yellows impressive front three in Felipe and Willyan are unavailable while central defender Hong Joon-ho is also suspended having seen red in Pohang. Lee Eu-ddeum has made a return to the starting line-up in the last couple of weeks at left back.

Daegu have no suspension worries but do have plenty of players in the treatment room. Edgar da Silva and Kim Sun-min remain doubts while Hong Jung-woon and Hwang Soon-min remain long-term absentees.

What To Watch

Will Doo Hyeon-seok's influence continue to grow?

The 24-year-old was a first team regular as Gwangju strolled to the K League 2 title last season yet found starting opportunities limited in the first half of this season. Scoring his first goal of the season in the Yellows 2-0 victory at Seongnam two weeks ago, Doo has certainly justified his inclusion which initially came about in central midfield due to Yeo Reum's absence. Playing centrally against Daegu seemed to suit Doo well, although Gwangju did look vulnerable defensively. This weekend however, it seems likely that an increasingly versatile Doo will revert to winger on the left, with Eom Won-sang on the right and Kim Ju-gong up top.

Doo Hyeon-seok in action against Sangju in September

Can Daegu comfortably qualify for the Champions League?

After competing in the 2019 AFC Champions League thanks to their 2018 KFA Cup victory over Ulsan, it seems as though Daegu will make a return to the competition next year. Finishing one point behind second-placed Guangzhou Evergrande in the group stage last time out, Daegu by no means disgraced themselves as Cesinha and Kim Dae-won in particular shone. Permutations due to Sangju Sangmu's circumstances and this year's FA Cup final between the league's top two mean that remaining in fifth place in K League 1 will suffice for Lee Byung-geun's side. In fact, victory in Jeollanamdo this weekend will mathematically secure their involvement with three games to spare.


FNR


Prediction - Gwangju FC 1-3 Daegu FC

Gwangju's suspensions will likely have a large influence on the outcome of this one with Park set to name Kim Ju-gong up front in Felipe's absence. While the Yellows still possess considerable threat in their replacements, Daegu's good form of late combined with the creative talent of Cesinha should be enough to seal Champions League qualification for Daegu and force Gwangju to play for nothing but pride in their remaining fixtures.

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