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The Dragons and the Reds set to lock horns in Gwangyang


Jeonnam vs Gyeongnam
Jeonnam Dragons will host a wounded Gyeongnam FC outfit who will be hurting by their opening day defeat to FC Anyang.  The Dragons played out a goalless draw in their curtain-raiser against Chungnam Asan in Gwangyang.  If history is to go by in recent seasons there is not much between these two sides.  All three league fixtures last campaign ended in draws.  Will this clash have the same outcome or will someone finally break their duck?  KLU's Gyeongnam FC columnist James Edrupt previews this one.

Match:- Jeonnam Dragons vs Gyeongnam FC.
Venue:- Gwangyang Stadium.
Kick off:- Sunday, March 7th; 2021; 16:00 (KST)

Recent Form

Jeonnam played out a lackluster encounter with Chungnam Asan at home.  Both sides looked very composed in possession but just lacked that killer edge in front of goal.  A bright spark for the Dragons was that of 25-year-old Nigerian striker Nnamani who was a willing runner and kept the visitors' back line occupied all game.  He had a few speculative efforts from outside the area during the contest but both flew wide of the mark.  For Asan, they can take a positive that it's a point on the road and that they looked good in spells. 

In Changwon, there was a huge upset as FC Anyang put two goals past Seol Ki-hyeons men and in truth it could and should have been more.  A missed spot-kick, expertly saved by Son Jung-hyun through Shim Dong-woon would have made the last twenty minutes a lot more comfortable for the Violets.  Over the ninety minutes of play, Kim Hyung-yeol's men were far better all over the pitch and fully deserved the 2-1 victory.  Stand-out performers were both goal-scorers, Shim Dong-woon and exciting 23-year-old Mang sung-ung in the middle of the park who looked extremely composed on the ball for one so young.  

Both these sides met four times last campaign.  Three times in the league and they clashed in the fourth round of the FA Cup.  The Dragons comprehensively beat the Reds in the cup 4-0, however all three league encounters ended in draws.

Team News

Jeonnam Dragons

The Dragons will be hoping that Gyeongnam are still feeling sorry for themselves after their disappointing opening day defeat.  There were glimpses from the home side on the opening day that they will be a threat to the Reds backline this Sunday afternoon.  The partnership of the aforementioned Nnamani and Lee Jong-ho showed signs that it could be a fruitful one with more work on the training ground.  

25-year-old debut boy Nnamani showed promise on his debut last time out
Uzbekistan left-wing back Zoteev looked back to his usual self overlapping at every opportunity. He, unfortunately, missed most of last season with a nasty injury picked up against Gyeongnam last year.  He has been training with the Dragons throughout pre-season and looked like he had hit the ground running.  Manager Jeon Kyeong-jun will be hoping for more cohesion in the final third as they do have the tools to hurt the Reds.

Gyeongnam FC

Seol Ki-hyeon will know that his team were well below par on opening day and he will want a reaction from his squad.  Gyeongnam looked like a team of individuals at times thrown into a team and told to perform.  He may ring the changes on Sunday and shuffle the pack.  Pacey winger and club captain Hwang Il-su came on as a second-half substitution with twenty-five minutes remaining and he instantly made a difference running at the Anyang rearguard at every opportunity.  The former Ulsan Hyundai man must be knocking on the door for a start this weekend.  Off-season major signing Willyan looked a lost man on the wing and hardly got a touch of the ball.  The squad will have to find a way to get him on the ball more as he can make things happen in the final third.

Striker Lee Jeong-hyeop had a debut to forget in Changwon

All of the starting eleven that started against FC Anyang will be looking over their shoulders and trying to continue to impress in training.  Manager Seol Ki-hyeon holds no punches, the former Korean international wouldn't be afraid to drop several players from the poor showing on show last Saturday.  A rare bright spark for the Reds was that of experienced winger Baek Sung-dong who looked a real threat on the ball and was always looking to make things happen he also capped off his fine display with a goal to boot.  Former Jeonnam Dragons player, Brazilian winger Hernades had to wait until this weekend to make his debut in the Gyeongnam colors.  There was a delay in his documentation that has now been resolved.  He is available for selection.  Several of the squad that missed out on opening day will be hoping to force their way into the squad over the coming weeks.  

What To Watch

Will we see a reaction from Gyeongnam?

The defeat last Saturday was a wake-up call for everyone involved at Gyeongnam.  Seol Ki-hyeon did some excellent business in the off-season.  He improved the squad no end and improved on his backroom staff by adding to it with more experienced coaches in all positions.  He even managed to keep the spine of the team intact which bodes well for the season ahead.  After the terrible performance it may be back to the drawing board for the gaffer.  

Seol Ki-hyeon would have been furious with his players after a dire display on Saturday
It must be noted that the Changwon-based team didn't start last season on the front foot either. They only picked up maximum points in two of their first six matches and scraped through in the FA Cup by beating K3 outfit Mokpo City FC after extra time after being dominated in large parts of the match.  

They are generally quite slow starters and Seol Ki-hyeon's training methods for the new players, in particular, would be alien to them.  This team has all the talent in the world and one of the strongest in the division.  It's just, how long do Gyeongnam supporters have to wait to see it come to fruition?  The bounce-back ability or lack off, for this team will be for all to witness this Sunday afternoon.  

Where to Watch

Fans in the 34 countries with overseas broadcasting rights will be able to follow the match live on television. Full details and the list of providers can be found here.

Alternatively, there is the K League's newly launched OTT platform, K League TV where live coverage will be available free of charge. Simply log in and enjoy!

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