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Preview: Jeju United vs Suwon FC

Jeju United face Suwon FC on Saturday afternoon in K League 2 in the most important match of the season.  A win for the islanders could effectively seal their automatic promotion back to the top flight for 2021, while a win for the visitors would bring things all square again with just two rounds to play.  Both teams have been dangerous in attack and solid in their own end, so it could be difficult to predict how this critical match plays out.  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the clash.

Match: Jeju United vs Suwon FC
Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Saturday October 24th, 2020; 16:00 KST

Last Time Out

Gyeongnam FC 0-1 Jeju United

Entering last weekend level on points with Suwon, Jeju knew that only a win would suffice against the Reds in their chase for a title.  Jung Woon once again came to the rescue as his 83rd minute header proved to be the difference on the day, putting Jeju in a good position with a three point cushion ahead of the match with their second-placed rivals.  

Chances were few and far between in the first half, but Gyeongnam could have been in front after just one minute played when Jung Hyuk's effort struck the woodwork.  That was the only real threat to any goal in the first half.  From the hour mark on, Jeju began taking control of proceedings as they pressed forward looking for a go-ahead goal.  It would come just seven minutes from time from the same man who earned them a point the week before with the final kick of the ball from the spot, Jung Woon playing the role of hero once more securing three valuable points in the race to the finish.


Suwon FC 3-4 Jeonnam Dragons

In what was one of the most entertaining matches in the division this season, Jeonnam Dragons erased an early deficit and kept their playoff hopes alive with a stunning away win against Suwon FC.  Park Chan-yong was charged with an own goal just one minute into the match when he touched in An Byoung-jun's low cross from the right off a counter attack.  Lee Ji-hun responded in kind on ten minutes by scoring an own goal himself on ten minutes.  Lee Yoo-hyun crossed in from the right and the ball glanced off his boot before finishing in the back of the net.

Hwang Ki-wook and Lee Hu-kwon would score within three minutes of each other midway through the second half to give Jeonnam a 3-1 lead, but it did not last as Lars Veldwijk scored just after the half hour mark and An Byoung-jun struck a penalty on 39 minutes to send the match to the interval at 3-3.

Jeonnam dominated for stretches in the second half, but Park Hyung-soon was equal to the task, making several saves to keep his side in the match.  Just when it looked as if the teams would share the points at the final whistle, the Dragons won a free kick on the right side of the penalty area.  Kim Hyun-wook swung his effort towards the far post and Park Chan-yong was there to atone for his earlier mistake, his header coaxing its way past the 'keeper for what proved to be the winner, moving Jeonnam up to third in the table in the process.


Previous Meetings

The teams have met twice this season, with Jeju taking four out of a possible six points thus far.  The first time they met in June, Suwon FC dominated the match in several aspects except for where it mattered most - on the scoresheet - as a 15th minute goal from Kim Young-wook was enough to give the islanders victory on the day.  The second match ended in a 1-1 draw.  An Byoung-jun scored eleven minutes into the match, but Kim Oh-gyu leveled the match just before the hour mark, and that is how it would finish.

Team News

The first bit of bad news for the islanders is that Gong Min-hyun will be unavailable due to suspension and there is still some doubt as to whether Joo Min-kyu will be able to play.  If not, there is a possibility that Lim Dong-hyuk may be inserted up top due to his size and presence in the box, as Nam Ki-il has done already on a few occasions this year.  

The Jeju boss is well aware of the importance of the match.

"It's an important match.  We want to make good results by pouring out everything we have.  I want to win with a good performance.  I have stressed that we have a unified group right from the beginning, and most players have followed well.  The club is empowering the players who have worked hard," he began.

"Suwon FC have a lot of good attacking players like An Byoung-jun and Lars [Veldwijk].  Cho Yoo-min is also good at set pieces.  All of their players can score.  But it is a home game, and we have to give our fans a victory," he concluded.

Aside from the injury concerns and the suspension to Gong, the rest of the squad should be ready for selection.

There are no suspensions for the visitors this weekend and Kim Do-kyun is expected to field his strongest eleven.

The Adversary

Jung Jae-yong scored the winner against Daejeon Hana Citizen two weekends ago.

Before their 4-3 loss last week, Suwon had kept clean sheets in five consecutive matches.  Their response to their performance last week is going to be critical and could, and likely will have a direct impact on the outcome of this weekend's match.  There is no question they have a wealth of firepower up front, but they will be going up against the league's best defense.  Considering they have only scored once in two matches against the islanders this season, goals may be hard to come by again, but they certainly and by no means should be counted out.

It is now a backs to the wall job for them if they want to secure automatic promotion for next season.  They had the benefit of an own goal to take the lead and then conceded one themselves but they should not expect any sort of charity from the league leaders.  If they are to get a result from the match, which is entirely possible, they are going to have to work for it.

Who to Watch

Kim Young-wook (Jeju United)

Kim Young-wook will be key to Jeju's chances of victory against Suwon once again.

The Jeju United midfielder scored his only goal of the season against Suwon FC in their first meeting, a 1-0 win for the islanders.  More so, he leads K League 2 with six assists this campaign.  His ability to distribute the ball around the pitch to his teammates has had a lot to do with their success going forward in attack.

He has also been astute at set pieces and particularly from corners.  It is a sure thing that will be a factor when the teams meet on Saturday afternoon.  He has been a difference maker for the team all year and is sure to be a factor again in this critical match.


As was the case in the first two matches, this is sure to be a tight one where nuances will decide the outcome.  However, Jeju will have to take advantage of their opportunities; they must not leave anything to chance.  The performance against Ansan a few weeks ago will have been a lesson for them as they showed last weekend against Gyeongnam.  That has to be the focus again this time around.  Suwon will put up a fight, but the islanders know what is at stake and know that victory is the only result which will be acceptable.

Predicted Score: Jeju United 2-1 Suwon FC

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