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Jeju Look For Third Win Against FC Seoul

Jeju United will look to rebound following their loss to Suwon FC last time out when they take on a struggling FC Seoul side on Sunday night.  The islanders have won both matches against the team from the capital this season and will be looking for the regular season clean sweep this weekend.  It's a battle with relegation implications, so Nam Ki-il will be well aware of what is at stake.  KLU's Branko Belan looks ahead to the fixture.

Match: Jeju United vs FC Seoul
Venue: Jeju World Cup Stadium
Kickoff: Sunday August 29th, 2021; 19:00 KST

Recent Form

Islanders Looking To Get Back To Winning Ways

Their last time out against Suwon FC did not go according to plan, as the islanders were kept off the scoresheet, conceding the only goal of the match from the penalty spot following a questionable call from the referee.  It was by no means a convincing performance from Jeju, who have struggled this season to find form and consistency in their play.  Joo Min-kyu had their best chance of the first half on eighteen minutes but his shot at goal whistled just past the post.  Park Won-jae also hit the crossbar with what looked like a cross just after the half hour mark, but the ball stayed out.

Suwon looked stronger on the ball in the early stages of the second half and they would get a bit of luck in the process when Park Won-jae was adjudged to have brought down Yang Dong-hyen in the box.  Lars Veldwijk stepped up for the spot kick and dispatched the ball into the net to give the home team the lead.  It was a lead they would not relinquish until the final whistle and last year's K League 2 playoff winners now find themselves in the top half of the table with an outside chance to qualify for Asia next season.

FC Seoul Continue to Struggle

FC Seoul fell to defeat in midweek against league leaders Ulsan Hyundai by a final score of 2-1.  Valeri Qazaishvili scored a pair of goals in the first half and Cho Young-wook was able to pull one back for the capital side but in the end it just wasn't enough to get the result they needed to take them off the bottom of the division.  

It looked as though it was going to be a long night as Ulsan could have gone in front after just three minutes when Lee Chung-yong crossed into the area for Yoon Bit-garam whose header was on target but palmed away by Yang Han-bin.  Ulsan would go into the lead on 28 minutes after a turnover just outside the area.  Qazaishvili found the ball in his feet and created enough space for a shot on goal, which he smashed home into the bottom corner past the Seoul 'keeper who was frozen in his six yard box.  The same man would double the lead just six minutes later, volleying home Kim Tae-hwan's cross from close range.

Both teams had their chances in the second half and Seoul finally managed to get on the board in the 73rd minute when Cho Young-wook was on hand to slam home a rebound after Go Yo-han's initial attempt bounded off the post.  The goal seemed to galvanize the home side as they pushed forward in waves looking for an equalizer but they spurned chance after chance until time finally ran out on them and Ulsan would claim all three points with the last blast of the whistle.

Team News

Jeju United

Jeju's match on Tuesday night had to be postponed due to a positive coronavirus confirmation in the Gangwon FC squad, thus they will be better rested and will have had extra time to train ahead of the match on Sunday night.  The club announced earlier in the week that the match will be played behind closed doors as Jeju is now up to level four in terms of social distancing protocol thanks to a sharp rise in the number of cases on the island.

Nam Ki-il was regretful following the loss to Suwon FC, as he felt his group had put in a good effort but that there wasn't a result to show for their work in the end.  With only a three point gap between the sides, a precarious situation presents itself.  Jeju have struggled to achieve results in 2021, even though the K League 2 champions from one year ago were predicted to finish at least mid-table by many observers at the beginning of the season.

Nam Ki-il's charges need three points at home this weekend to give them some breathing space.
Kim Bong-soo's status for the match is still up in the air but if fit, he may get a chance to at least play minutes from the bench.  Deemed the "Seoul killer" this season, he scored both winning goals in the previous two matches.  If he cannot play, the expectation is that Kim Myung-soon could take his spot in the starting eleven.  Park Won-jae will also likely get the start despite conceding the penalty which led to their loss last time out.  Lee Dong-su is also a candidate for minutes, most likely from the substitutes' bench.

FC Seoul

It seems it is only a matter of time now that Park Jin-seop will be presented with his marching orders.  On paper, it is a very capable side, but the manager has failed since his appointment to get the best out of the group, prompting many to question why he was given the post in the first place.  Another loss to Jeju could result in his departure.  With the club at the bottom of the division, there is little room for error between now and the end of the season.

Park Jin-seop has taken responsibility for the team's struggles this season.
Scoring has been a major concern this season, with the team finding the net on only twenty-four occasions in twenty-five matches.  Cho Young-wook's goal against Ulsan was just his first of the season.  Although he struggled earlier in the year with a shoulder injury, he has not been able to find his form and his confidence has suffered as a result.  

New signing Gabriel Barbosa was brought to the club to re-kindle the squad's scoring form but he missed several chances in the match against Ulsan, his first two efforts in the first half sorely missing the target, although he did force a save out of Jo Hyun-woo with his third attempt.  Granted, he just joined the club on loan from Palmeiras at the beginning of July, so he may still need some time to acclimate himself to the style of play in the K League.

Recently signed Ji Dong-won sustained a muscle injury against Pohang Steelers on August 22nd and missed the match against Ulsan Hyundai.  He is likely out at least for the time being and there is currently no timetable for his return.

What to Watch

Will it be a case of first goal wins?

Both teams are currently struggling for form, so a single goal could be just enough for either side to secure three points this weekend.  Joo Min-kyu has cooled off since his two goal performance against Ulsan Hyundai a few weeks ago.  The hosts would like to see him find his form once more and this weekend would be a good place to start.  Other than him, Jeju haven't really had a credible goal threat in their lineup this year.

Na Sang-ho has scored seven times this year, and with two goals in his last four matches, he could be more than capable of giving the Jeju defence a problem or two on the left side of attack.  Whether he can find the motivation to be a presence in swinging the result in his side's favor is another matter, although he was instrumental in Seoul's goal against Ulsan, so there is no questioning that he does possess that special touch and has the ability to turn a match in an instant when he is on form.

Who to Watch

Gerso Fernandes - Jeju United

Gerso in action against FC Seoul earlier this season.
His offensive numbers have not been exactly spectacular this season with three goals and one assist up until now but all of that production has come in the second half of the season.  He is due for a breakout performance with his new club and he has looked a problem for opposing defenders to deal with out on the wings.  If Jeju are to have a better chance at securing a badly needed three points, he will not only have to start but will have to be one of the best players on the pitch.

There were expectations placed on him upon his arrival and it is time for those expectations to be fulfilled.  There is no question he is a talented player; he needs to be utilized better to have more success.  If he can unleash a bit of magic on Sunday night, it could be he who decides the outcome.


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