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scouting

Gyeongnam FC seeking home advantage against a stubborn Jeonnam outfit


Gyeongnam FC comes up against Jeonnam Dragons on Sunday knowing they will have to be at their very best to get anything from the clash.  The Dragons sit third in K League 2 and currently boast one of the best away records in the league.  They are yet to be beaten on their travels, so will come to Changwon in a confident mood.  The hosts are just picking up some favorable results of late as well and will be looking to get on the front foot from the first whistle.  K League United's Gyeongnam FC columnist James Edrupt previews this one.


Match: Gyeongnam FC vs Jeonnam Dragons
Venue: Changwon Football Center.  Changwon.
Kickoff: Sunday, May 9th, 2021; 16:00 (KST)


Recent Form

The Reds come into the clash on the back of a creditable point in the capital against Seoul ELand.  Gyeongnam opened the scoring just six minutes before the interval through attacking midfielder Ko Kyung-min.  Ko rifled the ball into the top corner from the edge of the box to bag his second goal of the season.  ELand brought on influential Brazilian midfielder Leandro at halftime.  He set up the equalizer for ex Gyeongnam striker Han Eui-gwon halfway through the second half.  Han guided the ball home from three yards to rescue a point for the hosts.  On reflection over the ninety minutes, a point for each side was a fair outcome.  


The Dragons came away from the Daejeon World Cup stadium the happier side after a battling point against a solid Daejeon outfit.  The hosts raced out of the blocks and opened the scoring through captain Park Jin-sub after twenty minutes.  Park won't score an easier goal all campaign, left all alone in the six-yard box he calmly slotted the ball home.  The visitors came roaring back after the interval and snatched a point with sixteen minutes remaining through the unlikely source of defender Jang Soon-hyeok.  The center back reacted to the flick-on from a corner quickest and planted a header firmly into the net.  A point for each team means they stay in second and third place respectively in the division.


[LISTEN:KLU Pod | Edinho Interview and Five Things from K1 and K2]


Team News

Gyeongnam

Manager Seol Ki-hyeon has the luxury of picking from virtually a fully fit squad with the exception of off-season signing midfielder general Lim Min-hyeok.  The Reds were boosted by Brazilian midfielder Willyan making a return to the squad for the game a week ago against Gimcheon.  He was rested for the Seoul ELand game as the two fixtures came in quick succession.  Seol is being cautious with the influential winger not to overplay him after just returning from an injury after three weeks out.  The Reds are starting to show some really good form and come into the clash full of confidence.  With strikers Lee Jeong-hyeop and Hernandes forming a good understanding of late, the midfield behind those two of Baek Sung-dong, Ko Kyung-min, and Hwang Il-soo will be looking to find the pair at every opportunity.  


Willyan made a welcome return from injury a week ago
Jeonnam Dragons

Dragons manager Jeon Kyeong-jun made be tempted to shuffle the pack after Jeonnam have failed to win their last two games.  Regular starter upfront Nnamani was dropped to the bench against Daejeon last time out.  His replacement Balotelli looked very leggy at the final whistle so he may drop to the bench for the contest.  Jeonnam are resolute in defense, only conceding seven goals all campaign.  However, they also don't score many, only finding the net on nine occasions in ten matches.  Experienced striker Lee Jung-ho will be looking to start the contest after being an unused substitute on Wednesday.  Lee can be lethal in around the box for the Dragons and does have a tendency to like playing against Gyeongnam.  

Lee Jung-ho can be a real "fox in the box" on his day


What To Watch

Gyeongnam are just hitting their stride

The signs in recent weeks for Seol Ki-hyeons men bolds well for the campaign ahead.  They have been slow out of the blocks to date with new recruits taking longer than expected to blend into the Seol way of playing.  Injuries have played a part with winger Willyan showing some early season promise only then to have a falling out with the manager and then pick up a niggling injury.  A lot was expected of striker Yun Jun-tae signed from K League 1 side FC Seoul.  He has rarely been seen, making just two brief substitute appearances.  He picked up a knock in pre-season and it's been plaguing him ever since. 

It's taken longer than expected, but this Gyeongnam squad are now beginning to play as a unit

Unbeaten in three and only one defeat in five matches the squad are beginning to come into form.  Relationships all over the park are being formed and the attacking talent in the squad is frightening for a K League 2 side.  Brazilian winger/attacker Hernandes looks like a Rolls Royce of a player and striker Lee Jeong-hyeop is just starting to find some form.  Key player from last campaign Ko Kyung-min has started this season in and out of the starting eleven but scored a beautiful goal last time out.  He will be thriving to get back to last season's blistering form.  The unsung hero of late has been defensive midfielder Jang Hyeok-jin who has been dictating play from deep but in recent games has been allowed to roam a touch further forward to influence the game more in the final third.  With just six points separating 2nd to 8th in the league, a few wins, and results to go the Reds way, the table could look a whole look rosier at the end of May for Seol KI-hyeon.




Prediction

Undoubtedly Jeonnam plays better away from home so this will be a close encounter.  Gyeongnam are coming into form and are looking to kick start their season looking up the table rather than down.  The game will be a tense one with not many chances being created all contest.  With the hosts just starting to click and with key players hitting form currently, Gyeongnam should get over the line and take home three points. 



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