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Preview: Sangju Sangmu vs Daegu FC

Sangju Sangmu are set to host their final home game this Saturday in the name of Sangju City by welcoming Daegu FC. With fourth place at stake, can the Soldiers wrap up the 10-year Sangju Era in style? Or will the Sky Blues leapfrog them into fourth place? K League United's Daegu FC correspondent Muyeol Jung previews what will be the final K League game at Sangju Civic Stadium.

Last Time Out

Ulsan Hyundain 4-1 Sangju Sangmu

Ulsan took the advantage of Jeonbuk's dropped points and widened the gap to three with a victory over Sangju at home. The Horangi got off on the wrong foot when the Soldiers took an early lead through Jung Wonjin's strike within five minutes. Ulsan remained calm, knocking on the door and they put the game in their hands before the break thanks to a brace from defender Jung Seunghyun. Despite the lead, Ulsan still looked hungry in the second half and they did not stop attacking. Another brace from Bjørn Johnsen made it 4-1 for Ulsan and put the game to the bed before Jo Hyeonwoo denied Lee Keunho's penalty.


Gwangju FC 0-1 Daegu FC

Ryu Jaemoon's winner in the second half was enough for Daegu to secure their fifth-placed finish in K League by making the point gap with Gwangju 10 with three games to go. The first half between Felipe-less Gwangju and Dejan-less Daegu was quiet with only a golden opportunity created by Cesinha. The second half saw the visitors take control of the game, but they were not quite getting close to opening the scoring until 70 minutes. A great through ball and link up play let Ryu Jaemoon have open space where he ran through the defence and slotted it home. The visitors held onto their 1-0 lead and returned home with three points.


Previous Meetings

This season Sangju and Daegu have met twice in the league and the Soldiers remain undefeated with a win and a draw. The last meeting went ways of Sangju through the brilliant combinations of Oh Sehun and Kang Sangwoo after they drew 1-1 away to the Sky Blues in the first meeting of the season.

The pair have squared off 23 times with Sangju winning four times and Daegu winning ten times. However, they are neck and neck in their recent ten meetings with three wins each and four draws.

Team News

Sangju Sangmu

Goalkeeper Lee Changkeun, defender Kwon Kyungwon, and Sim Sangmin (replacement for Hong Chul) returned to the team on Tuesday from the international duties for Korea Senior National Team. Meanwhile, young Korean striker Oh Sehun, who also played for Korea U23 team during the period, has remained in Paju National Team Training Centre for U21 training camp that will end this Saturday. As a result, he won't be able to feature the game. Another youngster Oh Hyunkyu also will be unavailable because of Korea U19 Team training camp that will end on the match day.

Ahead of the last home game, Sangju have no players suspended, but they might have to play without Moon Seonmin, who has been out for last two games with an unspecified injury. In this case, Park Dongjin, Song Seungmin and Lee Keunho will be given a start.

Daegu FC

Goalkeeper Gu Sungyun and four young talents Jeong Taewook, Kim Jaewoo, Jeong Seungwon and Kim Daewon came back home after completing their international duties for Korea National Team and U23 Team. They won't have any issue for Sangju away as their playing times were quite limited. For a trip to North Gyeongsang Province, the Sky Blues have no concerns on suspension, but Lee Byunggeun's side have injury problems in the squad.

Apart from usual absentees Hong Jungwoon (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) and Hwang Soonmin (fatigue fracture), two foreign strikers Edgar da Silva (Achilles) and Dejan Damjanović (hamstring) remain doubtful.

What To Watch

Time to see off Sangju Civic Stadium in K League

It has been 10 years since the Soldiers relocated to Sangju City in 2011 and its relationship with the city will come to an end this season as the northern city of Gyeongsangdo Province finally withdrew their plan to establish the city council owned club. As a result, the Soldiers will relocate to Gimcheon City, 40 km south of Sangju and take part in K League 2 next season regardless of where they finish this season.

Sangju Sangmu has been playing an integral role in promoting and uniting the agricultural city through football

Sangju Sangmu made an impressive appearance in 2011 K League with  a 2-0 victory over Incheon United at home and it was the beginning of a 10-year history that has left indelible marks in Korean football. Then, the Soldiers became the first K League club to get relegated in 2012 before they became the first K League club to earn a promotion to the top flight later in 2013. They also have the most K League 2 titles in the league with 2013 and 2015 silverwares. Since their return to K League 1 in 2016, they have been relishing the top flight football against all the odds.

Sangju also received big international attention when then Sangju Sangmu players Lee Keunho (current Ulsan Hyundai) and Hong Chul (current Ulsan Hyundai) and Kim Minwoo (current Suwon Bluewings) played for Korea National Team in 2014 and 2018 World Cup as a Sangju player as well as a soldier.

Interestingly, Sangju Sangmu were the away side that saw Daegu's old home off in 2018 before the Sky Blues moved their home to current DGB Daegu Bank Park. By then, they managed to prevent Daegu from getting their way and drew 0-0 with the Sky Blues. This time, will Sangju be able to leave on a memorable high note? Or can the Sky Blues take revenge for it?

Can Daegu FC make their highest finish in K League? 

With three games to go, there's not much things left that can keep Lee Byunggeun's lads motivated, but finishing the season in the highest position would be what the Sky Blues are looking to do.

Can the Sky Blues finish the season in their highest position ever?

As it stands in the table, the fourth place would be the realistic target for the citizen club as Daegu are nine points clear off 3rd Pohang with eight goals scored less. A win over Sangju, sitting fourth, will take the Sky Blues to the fourth, which certainly will be a great achievement in the club's history as well as a reward for the fans who are looking forward to returning to the stands in the next home game.
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The results from two meetings this season don't have much meaning for Sangju in preparation for the third encounter as some of their squads have already left after the completion of military duties or are unavailable.

Nevertheless, it wouldn't favour much for Daegu either as Sangju manager Kim Taehwan continues to pull a rabbit out of his hat this season, overcoming their drawback. Although they now have three straight losses, but those were against top three Pohang, Jeonbuk and Ulsan.

Meanwhile, if neither Edgar nor Dejan is available, then it is going to be difficult for Daegu attacking wise as it was proven last time out when they played away to Gwangju.

I expect this game to end in a draw.

Sangju Sangmu 1-1 Daegu FC

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