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Preview: Gyeongnam FC vs Daejeon Hana Citizen

Gyeongnam FC host a Daejeon Haha Citizen outfit with both looking for all three points to guarantee them a playoff berth.  The visitors will be in high spirits gaining maximum points in their last two matches meaning they go into the clash in pole position in third place.  The hosts in comparison will know only a victory will be enough to finish in the top four.  With the stakes being so high, Saturday afternoon's clash has all the ingredients to be a fascinating battle.  KLU's James Edrupt previews the game.

Last Time Out

Gyeongnam made the long trip north to face second-placed Suwon FC and it turned out to be a wasted one after a narrow loss saw them come away empty-handed.

Suwon raced out of the traps and took the lead as early as the fifth minute through K League 2's leading goalscoring An Byong-jun who added his 20th goal of his impressive season with an absolute thunderbolt.  It came from a direct free-kick about thirty yards out slightly left of center.  It flew past Song Jung-hyun in the visitors' net.

An was to double the hosts' lead just seven minutes after the interval nipping in front of Song in the Reds goal and tapping home first time.   He timed his run to perfection to meet a teasing Han Jeong-won ball into the danger area.  Gyeongnam were to pull a late goal back through substitute Park Ki-dong in added time.  A thumping header from a Choi-jun cross made it a slightly nervous finish for Suwon but one they saw home with ease in the end.

Full time: Suwon FC 2-1 Gyeongnam FC

Daejeon Hana Citizen have moved a step closer to securing a playoff berth with a resounding victory over lowly FC Anyang at the Daejeon World Cup Stadium.

It was the second half show from the hosts with all three goals coming after the break.  The opener came from man in form Brazilian Edinho on 49 minutes.  The attacking midfielder had the simple task of tapping the ball into an empty net following a great run and cross from fellow winger Kim Seung-sub.  

Then the floodgates opened, Kim got in on the act and doubled the lead on 73 minutes with a classy finish after being put through by striker Bruno Baio.  Edinho got his brace just five minutes later after a lovely give and go with fellow countryman Baio, and he slotted the ball home inch perfectly into the bottom corner.  Daejeon continued to dominate but just failed to add to their impressive three-goal tally already.  

Full time: Daejeon Hana Citizen 3-0 FC Anyang

Previous Meetings

This fixture tends to have goals aplenty in them.  This season has been no different.  In the first clash between the two sides, it ended in a 2-2 draw in Changwon with Andre rescuing a point for Daejeon with a stoppage-time equalizer from the spot.  The second game was to be a classic in Daejeon.  The hosts raced into a two nil lead in the first half and the game looked dead and buried.  The Reds clawed their way back into the contest after the interval and managed to score a winner through winger Ko Kyung-min deep into stoppage time to win the game 3-2.

The two sides have clashed 32 times in total with Gyeongnam winning 13 of them, Daejeon have only won seven, with 12 ending in draws.  

Team News

Deric (center) will be hoping to make an impact on Saturday.

For the hosts, it has been a pleasant sight for the Gyeongnam fans to see striker Uroš Đerić back in full training this week.  The Serbian center forward has made a full recovery from a hernia operation he picked up in early summer.  He is fit and available for selection.  In fairness before his injury, he wasn't exactly setting the league alight.  He had only tallied one goal in six appearances, scored in an away win against FC Anyang in just the Reds third game of the campaign.  He will be a welcome addition to the squad however with a role from the bench being the likely option employed by Gyeongnam.

Towering center back and influential captain Lee Kwang-seon who missed the game against Suwon FC last time out hopes to have recovered from the injury that kept him out a fortnight ago.  The rest of the squad is fit and available for selection for manager Seol Ki-hyeon's disposal.

The Adversary

Daejeon Hana Citizen travels south knowing a point would be enough to secure a top-four finish on Saturday afternoon.  Manager Cho Min-gook has the luxury of selecting from a fully fit squad excluding long term absentees such as goalkeeper Kim Dong-jun, who is out for the season with a shoulder problem.

The recent upturn in fortunes has come down largely due to new signing Edinho and Bruno Baio finding form right when it matters most.  The former has bagged himself four goals in his last two league games against Jeonnam Dragons and FC Anyang respectively. Biao and Edinho's link-up play and chemistry looked to be working beautifully on Tuesday night.  They will hope to continue their impressive form on Saturday.  It was a solid display in the middle of the park from Australian midfielder Connor Chapman as well it must be noted.  He looked back to his usual self trying to dominate in the midfield areas.  Leading goalscorer Andre Luis is just one yellow card away from a suspension if The Purples were to make the playoffs.

What To Watch

The winger has bagged himself four goals in this last two games and is bang in form.

Can Gyeongnam's leaky defense stop Edinho?

Simply put, Edinho has just started to click into gear when it has come into the business end of the 2020 K League 2 season.  He grabbed a brace away against fellow play-off pushing Jeonnam Dragons two games ago.  He was a torn in FC Anyang's rearguard last time out again bagging himself two goals and being a menace all contest. 

Gyeongnam's back four of right-back Choi Jun, the center half pairing of Lee Kwang-seon and Bae Seung-jin alongside left-back Yoo Ji-hun have looked suspect all season when up against quick and pacey players who run at them.  

If the hosts find a way to keep Edinho quiet then they will have a great chance to dominate the contest.  The diminutive play-maker plays in the number 10 role just behind the strike pairing of Bruno Baio and Andre Luis.  If given time and space on the ball he can boss proceedings and he could win the game for the visitors on his own.  He has the ability to get in the final third with ease and find those pockets in and around the eighteen-yard box to really hurt teams. 

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A huge game this weekend with so much on the line for both sides.  The Purples only need a point to secure a playoff berth.  So it'll be interesting to see how this one pans out as the game goes on.  The hosts know only a win will do, so The Reds will be going for it from the first whistle.  It'll be a nerve-racking contest for both sets of fans nevertheless.

Prediction: Gyeongnam FC 3-2 Daejeon Hana Citizen

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