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Welcome to the Leopard's Den: Seoul E-Land vs. Jeonnam Dragons

 

The 2021 K League 2 has already produced some memorable and exciting moments for Seoul E-Land FC this year. The team continued their unbeaten run and will go into their third game full of confidence. The Leopards had only six days to enjoy their 3-0 win against Busan IPark before rocking the army, Gimcheon Sangmu by four goals. 

On paper, Seoul had one of the hardest opening months in the league and it continues on Sunday when they face off against Jeonnam Dragons in Leoul Park. With two wins in two and the only team in the division still with a 100% record, Seoul will look to continue to turn heads in the K League. Michael Redmond previews this one here.   

Continuing to Turn Heads...

It is fair to say that fans of the K League looked at Gimcheon Sangmu this year and already handed them promotion back into the K League 1 and with good reason. The army side have an unbelievable squad and they finished 4th the season prior in the K League 1. The side made the trip up to the capital last Saturday to play a Seoul E-Land side still on cloud nine. 

Gimcheon's manager, Kim Tae-hwan may have had other intentions for the match against Seoul before the game as he stated that the army could have a day off if they beat the Leopards in round two. In what was a very well organized game for the majority of the fixture, Seoul took their first chance in the 21st minute. Kim Jin-hwan, who played in defence in the game made a real striker's finish. Taking the ball down in the box, he shot and looped it over many a Gimcheon player's head. 

Benegas scored a brace in his first start for Seoul E-Land in the 2021 K League 2
Gimcheon began to knock on the door, but Seoul held firm. The second half was where most of the action was seen. The two teams looked as if they were playing chess with one another. Both cancelling out each other's attack and tactics. After the 70 minute mark, Seoul knocked it up a gear. Hwang Tae-hyeon looked exceptional on the ball and it was his cross that lead Benegas to double their lead. A striker's finish that left Gimcheon stunned. The Argentine was not finished there as it took him six minutes to get his name again on the board. Gimcheon keeper Lee Chang-geun failed to clear the ball, parrying it to the striker. He took the ball down and then curled it into the back of the net. Seoul had Leoul Park rocking. 

The last goal came three minutes later. Seoul fans couldn't believe what they saw and the team would not give them a minute's rest. Hwang Tae-hyeon again with a supercross was met by substitute Kim Jeong-hwan for his second goal in two games. Gimcheon were left shell shocked. Seoul continued to fire for more goals, but it was not to be. An exceptional day for Seoul E-Land. The biggest win in their history, with the second one being a 4-1 win against FC Anyang in the 2019 season. Seoul fans will only hope that this fairytale can continue for as long as possible.     

The Dragons Looking to Pounce

It was Seoul E-Land and Jeonnam Dragons who were left out of the playoff party last year, due to their eventful 1-1 draw on the last day of the 2020 season. With Gyeongnam beating Daejeon Citizen, both Seoul and Jeonnam were painfully close to the last dance. Jeonnam will spend their third season straight in the second flight of Korean football and many may have thought by now that they should have been back competing in the K League 1. 

Jeonnam Dragons will look to continue winning ways when they take the trip to play Seoul E-Land in round two of the 2021 K League 2. 

For the Dragons, 2021 has already had some mixed results. An opening day stalemate against Chugnam Asan may have been frowned up. Round two did bring more success however as they beaten fellow playoff contenders Gyeongnam FC. It was an 11th minute shot from Zoteev which was the difference maker. It must be added that the shot took quite a big deflection on Gyeongnam defender Chae Kwang-hoon. Now with four points out of six, Jeonnam will look to hopefully get a good run started. As many have said, the K League 2 this year looks a lot more difficult to get out of than last year.  

Attack, Attack, Attack

Gimcheon on paper are the team to beat this year in the 2021 K League 2. With that being the case, some would be cautious to play such a forward attacking team. A more structured defense and maybe relying on a lone striker upfront. This was not Chung Jung-yong's vision however, as he started the game in a 3-5-2 formation. The back three of Lee Sang-min, Lee In-jae and Kim Jin-hwan held the defence, with support from Park Seong-woo and Hwang Tae-hyeon on the wings. It is almost the same team we saw in Busan the week prior. 

Five Seoul E-Land Players made it into the 2021 K League 2 Best Team: Benegas (MVP), Jang Yun-ho, Kim Seon-min, Lee In-jae, and Hwang Tae-hyeon.

There was no captain Kim Min-kyun due to his injury in round one. Barbio made his debut for the Leopards and Benegas was also in the starting line up. Benegas showed a strikers instinct when he played on Saturday. He was ready to jump on any mistakes from Gimcheon and connected with passes well. He was picking his moments to take the ball and make something out of it. Huge props have to be given once again for Kim Seon-min who danced around the middle of the park and attacked everyball his could. Hwang Tae-hyeon became the assist king last weekend, and could pinpoint a pass to his teammates. It must also be said the Kim Jeong-hwan now has two goals in two games. The Korean has a keen eye for goal and the gaffer is more than happy to bring him on against tired legs. 

One for the Road

Jeonnam and Seoul will battle once more in the Seoul Olympic Stadium (Leoul park) this weekend. If Seoul can get a win, it will put them on nine points and three wins out of three. They will also have another testing task the week after as they will make the journey back down the country to face Gyeongnam in Changwon. Seoul have had one of the harder starts, looking at the teams on paper. So far, they are passing every test put in front of them. 

FNR

After that, it will be another three games in a row back in the capital (including FA Cup). It might look a little home heavy for the Leopards at the moment, but it must be reiterated that their final four games of the season will all be played away. This is due to Seoul Olympic Stadium getting some much needed refurbishments. 


Sunday Showdown

Both Seoul and Jeonnam were neck and neck last season, chasing down a playoff spot. The two sides will want to rectify their heartbreaking end to the 2020 Season. With teams such as Busan IPark, Daejeon Hana Citizen, Gimcheon Sangmu and Gyeongnam all expected to also be there and around the top, this could be a big result for either team come the end of the season. 

We all know that Seoul have been flying high at the moment now, but Jeonnam have started to come into their own now. Jeonnam fans will pray that Seoul will not be able to keep up the same momentum they did in the prior two rounds. It is important for Seoul not to get ahead of themselves and start to think that games will be easier than they actually are. Seoul fans will hope that this fairytale doesn't end. However, it is still a very long season ahead and the Leopards will have to take it one game at a time. 




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