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Playoff Preview: Gyeongnam FC vs Daejeon Hana Citizen

Daejeon Hana Citizen travel to Changwon on Wednesday night to take on Gyeongnam FC for what is a repeat fixture of Saturday's K League 2 Round 27 match. However, Cho Min-gook's Purples make the trip south looking to avoid a repeat of Saturday's result. Citizen suffered a 1-0 defeat but made it into the playoffs by the skin of their teeth. Gyeongnam need just a draw to advance to Sunday's final away to Suwon FC but Daejeon need to do something that they haven't done in nearly 13 years - win in South Gyeongsang. 


via Soccerway

Last Time Out

Gyeongnam FC 1-0 Daejeon Hana Citizen

Jumping up from sixth place into third, leapfrogging Daejeon in the process, Gyeongnam FC secured themselves a playoff place and the all-important home advantage for Wednesday's semi. A Do Dong-hyeon strike from the edge of the box in the second minute proved decisive. Despite the defeat, Daejeon also secured a playoff place on account of Seoul E-Land and Jeonnam Dragons drawing 1-1 in Jamsil.


Previous Meetings

Aside from Saturday's 1-0 Gyeongnam win, the two sides have meet two times previously in 2020. The first ended in a 2-2 draw back in May despite Daejeon holding a one-nil lead heading into the closing exchanges. Park Jin-seop gave the Purples a 47th minute lead but goals from Park Chang-jun on 85 minutes and a Yun Kyung-bo own goal in time added on, turned the game on its head in favour of the hosts. Andre Luis was able restore parity deep into stoppage time from the penalty spot to secure a point.

There was late drama in the return fixture at Purple Arena in August, too. Daejeon were two-goals-to-the-good thanks to a Luc Castaignos own goal and an Andre Luis strike in the 33rd minute. However, on 66 minutes, Baek Sung-dong pulled one back to help the tide flow in favour of the Seol Ki-hyeon's Gyeongnam. Hwang Il-su, who looked set to join Daejeon in the winter before signing for Gyeongnam, made it 2-2 on 81 minutes before Ko Kyung-min made it 3-2 in the 94th.

Overall, there have been 33 meetings between Gyeongnam FC and Daejeon Hana Citizen. Gyeongnam have 14 wins to Daejeon's seven and 12 draws. In South Gyeongsang Province there have been 18 previous encounters, of which the Reds have lost just twice, winning nine and drawing seven. Daejeon's only away wins over Gyeongnam came in 2006 and 2007.

Team News

Both Uroš Đerić and Lee Kwang-seon returned to the Gyeongnam squad for the 1-0 win over Daejeon on Saturday. Striker Đerić started on the bench and was an unused substitute whereas centre back Lee played the full 90 minutes. On-loan Busan IPark forward Han Ji-ho missed the win over the Purples on Saturday and is a minor doubt for Wednesday. As is Hwang Il-su who went off with a calf problem. Should the former Ulsan winger miss out, Negueba is likely to come into the side in his place. 

Gyeongnam starting XI vs Daejeon, K League 2 R27.

For Daejeon, caretaker manager Cho Min-gook had gone with the same starting lineup for each of the Purples' last two matches but will be forced into one or two changes - Andre Luis is suspended having picked up a fifth booking of the season. Park Yong-ji is likely to replace the Brazilian with Edinho slotting into the centre. Alternatively, Cho Jae-cheol could be instilled into the starting lineup in the number 10 role. 

Daejeon starting XI vs Gyeongnam, K League 2 R27.

The Adversary

The 1-0 win over Daejeon meant that Gyeongnam finished the regular season in third place, a more than respectable return from fledgling gaffer Seol Ki-hyeon. The Reds ended the 2020 campaign as third-top goal scorers with 40 and in fourth for shots (Daejeon third) and second for passes made to the final third. Gyeongnam are a probing side and, even though they only need a draw, will more than fancy themselves for a win. 

In the attacking third of the pitch, Hwang Il-su is joint-second in K League 2 for assists with five - should the 33-year-old miss Wednesday's match through injury his absence is sure to be felt. However, Baek Sung-dong is likely to play and is the club's top scorer with nine having made the fourth highest number of shots in K League 2 (Daejeon's Andre Luis, 13 goals is second). At the opposite end of the pitch, towering centre back Lee Kwang-seon ranks third in K League 2 for interceptions.

Gyeongnam's social media channels may have indicated that Seol Ki-hyeon had set his side up in a 4-4-2 at the weekend with Hwang Il-su up top along side Ko Kyung-min but the Reds were in more of a 4-1-4-1 with Jung Hyuk has a false nine of sorts. Needing only a draw, Seol could go for something similar. But, the 4-4-2 is the former Premier League midfielders most utilised lineup at 37% followed by 4-1-4-1 at 12%. One thing that has remained a constant more or less is a back four featuring Lee Kwang-seon and Bae Seung-jin who have over 20 appearances to their name's this term at the heart of the defence. Jang Hyuk-jin and top scorer Baek Sung-dong have been integral in midfield.

Eulji Lewis  

What To Watch

Needing just a draw vs Needing the win

An interesting dynamic of the K League 2 playoffs is that the home team only needs a draw to advance. Gyeongnam, then, might be tempted to sit back and try to frustrate Daejeon. The Purples, though, have no choice but to come out and attack. Without Andre Luis through suspension, caretaker manager Cho Min-gook will have to turn to Park Yong-ji. Park was Daejeon's opening day hero, finding the winner away to Suwon FC deep into stoppage time but has only scored two goals since then. The former Incheon United forward has featured 25 times this season but has started just 13 times. This is the time for the likes of Bruno Baio and Park Yong-ji to step up and help the Purples take the game to the Reds come Wednesday night.


Daejeon will have to react to Saturday's disappointment and are very lucky to be involved in the playoffs considering what happened at Jamsil between Seoul E-Land and Jeonnam with the Dragons having a goal chalked off in the 97th minute. But, the Purples haven't won away to Gyeongnam in 14 years and so a draw might be the best they can hope for. 

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