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Preview: Suwon FC vs Gyeongnam FC

Suwon FC host a Gyeongnam FC outfit with a playoff berth well within their grasp with just two games remaining in K League 2.  Suwon will be hoping for a victory themselves of course also hoping that Jeju United come unstuck at home to Seoul E-Land to keep their faint title aspirations alive.  With so much on the line for both teams, which side can pick up three precious points this Saturday?  KLU's James Edrupt previews the all-important clash.

Last Time Out

It was first versus second on the Island last time out and in such a crucial fixture it was Jeju United who ran out victors.  Two goals in either half did the damage for the Islanders, and in turn, stretched their lead to six points with just two games remaining.

The opening goal of the game came from promising youngster Lee Dong-ryul after 31 minutes.  A hopeful looking cross from left wing-back Chung Woon wasn't dealt with by the Suwon backline and Lee rifled in a low drive past the despairing dive of Park Bae-jong from just inside the box to put Jeju in the ascendancy.  

The league leaders sealed the visitors' fate with just fifteen minutes remaining when Jin Seong-uk scored his fourth goal of the season.  It was a chance he couldn't miss as the ball was pulled back to him by left-winger Jeong Woo-jae.  The Suwon goalkeeper Park Bae-jong had rushed out of his goal to stop the initial cross by Jeong.  He was never going to get near the ball.  Jin had the simple task of placing the ball into an empty net ten yards out with the goalkeeper out of position.

Full time: Jeju United 2-0 Suwon FC

Bucheon FC 1995 and Gyeongnam FC played out an absolute thriller last Sunday afternoon.  The visitors were to come out on top courtesy of a last gasp Choi Jun winner deep into stoppage time.

With only pride to play for, for the hosts, it was Gyeongnam who were to take the lead through a Jung Hyuk header as early as the 15th minute.  The loanee from Jeonbuk was left all alone in the six-yard box to nod home from a Kyo Kyung-min cross.  To give Bucheon credit they didn't let the early goal dampen their spirits and they got back in the game through center forward Jo Geon-gyu.  He finished off a glorious sweeping move upfield getting on the end of an inch-perfect cross from wing back Kim Young-nam.  The home side were to edge in front right on the stroke of half time through the unlikely source of left-winger Guk Tae-jeong.  He was quickest to react after a shot was parried out by Son Jung-hyun right into Guk's path.  He simply couldn't miss.

Bucheon were to increase their lead just two minutes after the interval through a quite breathtaking strike from the aforementioned Jo Geon-gyu.  He picked up the ball and ran towards the edge of the box where he rifled home from fully twenty-five yards which crashed off the underside of the bar and over the line.  

The visitors were left shell shocked but were given a small ray of hope on 85 minutes when man in form Kyo Kyung-min drilled home from just inside the box to reduce the arrears.  Then the drama really started to unfold.  In the 90th minute, Kyo was flattened by the hosts' goalkeeper Choi Bong-jin in the box as he attempted to punch the ball clear.  He got the nowhere near the ball and in turn crashed into the midfielder meaning a spot-kick was awarded.  Baek Sung-dong made no mistake sending the keeper the wrong way.  The goal-scoring was not over yet and with the game deep into added on time, Negeuba swung in a hopeful looking cross into the area.  It landed at the feet of right wing-back Choi Jun who got the ball out of his feet quickly and stabbed the ball into the net.  A truly unreal ending to what was a magnificent game of football. 

Full time: Bucheon FC 1995 3-4 Gyeongnam FC

Previous Meetings

Suwon FC have proven to be a tough side to take points from for the Reds over the years.  The Gyeonggi-do based outfit are unbeaten against Gyeongnam in their last four matches.  In total they have faced each other just ten times, with Suwon winning five, Gyeongnam winning just twice and three ending in draws.

They have met twice this campaign with Suwon taking maximum points from both encounters.  The first game in game week 4 of the season ended in a 3-1 win with the strike duo of Ishida and An Byong-jun being the main focal points.  Ishida grabbed a brace and An the other.  They then traveled south to Changwon in late August and came away with a 3-2 win after an An Byong-jun last-minute header took home the three points.  

Team News

Manager Seol Ki-hyeon will be hoping key central defender Lee Kwang-seon can recover from a knock he picked up against Bucheon last time out.  The injury looked quite serious however which caused Lee to be taken off at half time.  Pacey right-winger Do Dong-hyun has been the flavor of the month for Seol in recent games.  He is a bit raw to the K League but he has bags of ability and pace and he links up very well with Choi Jun down the right-hand side of midfield.  Barring any setbacks during the week the Reds will have the luxury of selecting from a fully fit squad for the vital clash. 

The Adversary

Suwon FC have had a quite brilliant season and sits comfortably in second place in K League 2, ten points ahead of third-placed Seoul E-Land.  The Gyeonggi based outfit have had the luxury on the whole of keeping all their main players fit throughout the season.  Key players, An Byong-jun, Ishida, Marlone have played in a high majority of games and have been key in what Suwon does so well on the pitch.  Summer acquisition from Jeonbuk, Lars Veldwijk has been crucial in recent months scoring some important goals when it matters.  They might have just come up short by not winning automatic promotion but they can be proud of what they have achieved this campaign.  They do come into the clash after two straight defeats so they will be hoping to put it right sooner rather than later as the playoffs are looming.  They seem to enjoy scoring against Gyeongnam, already putting six past them in the two fixtures earlier this year.  

What To Watch

Suwon started Veldwijk, An Byong-jun, and Ishida against Jeju United last weekend.  That is a very attacking trio to be starting in such an important clash.  It'll be interesting to see what selection manager Kim Do-kyun goes with this Saturday.  He may well stick with the same trio up top as the Reds are leaky defensively letting in 35 goals (the second-worst in the division).  Only 10th placed Chungnam Asan with 39 have conceded more.  

If key center back Lee Kwang-seon can't start for Gyeongnam, Kim will surely be tempted to go for it and play his most attacking line up possible to kill the game early.  Gyeongnam's best form of defense could be to try and outscore Suwon and attack which could mean we may have a high scoring game on the cards this Saturday.

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Gyeongnam looked dead and buried last week away at Bucheon but their true hard work and character got them out of a hole.  They will need to be on their "A game' to get anything from this clash.  The stakes are high for the visitors with the playoff race being as close as it is.  Suwon will attack Gyeongnam at any opportunity as they have players to hurt any team in this league and with their playoff position secured they will play with some freedom.

Predicted score: Suwon FC 3-3 Gyeongnam FC

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