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Preview: Gyeongnam Play Host To An Out Of Sorts Seoul E-Land


Gyeongnam FC welcomes a Seoul E-Land outfit to the Changwon Football Center on Sunday evening.  The hosts have improved significantly in recent months, with the performance levels being impressive.  Despite a narrow defeat to promotion-chasing Daejeon Hana Citizen last time out manager Seol KI-hyeon has turned things around for the Reds.  Seoul E-Land are in a crisis.  Only picking up one victory in seventeen league and cup games.  It is quite the drop-off for Chung Jung-yong's squad.  In the initial part of the campaign, the Leopards were looking like promotion candidates and were playing an exciting, fluid brand of football.  Seoul E-Land need a spark from somewhere to get their season back on track.  Will that spark be lit over the weekend?  K League United Gyeongnam FC columnist James Edrupt previews the clash.


Match Overview

Gyeongnam FC (5th) vs Seoul E-Land (9th)
Venue: Changwon Football Center. Changwon.
Time and Date: Sunday 29th August, 19:00 (KST)


Recent Form

Gyeongnam won't be too disheartened in defeat to an impressive Daejeon Hana Citizen outfit

A late Bruno Baio goal succumbed Gyeongnam to only their first defeat in four games last time out.  It was an even contest with the Brazilians late header proving the difference between the two sides in the Daejeon Hanbat Stadium.

It was a very cagey opening ten minutes with both teams feeling each other out.  The hosts grew into the contest with left wing-back Seo Young-jae proving a real menace down the left-hand side.  His overlapping runs were causing the Reds backline all sorts of problems.  Gyeongnam more than Daejeon were happy to hear the whistle for half-time.

A similar pattern occurred after the interval with both teams playing nice, crisp football and creating several half chances.  However, it was the hosts who got their noses in front with six minutes remaining through substitute Bruno Baio for his first goal of the season.  The six-foot-plus striker has had a tricky campaign to date and hasn't been able to find any consistent form.  Baio arrived late into the six-yard box and met an inch-perfect Seo Young-jae cross to power a header past Son Jung-hyun to bring home the three points for the hosts.  

Final Score:  Daejeon Hana Citizen 1-0 Gyeongnam FC



The Leopards looked much improved and look to be growing in confidence

Seoul E-Land and Jeonnam Dragons fought out an entertaining draw on Sunday night in the capital.  All the drama came in the final ten minutes with the visitors getting their noses in front through Brazilian winger Alex.  E-Land fought back and deservedly leveled matters on ninety minutes through Argentinian striker Benegas.

The aforementioned Benegas was in the thick of the action in the first forty-five minutes looking impressive trying to break the deadlock.  The Dragons as is often the case were relying heavily on strike partners Balloetti and Nnamani to ruffle up the Seoul defense.  In a half of not many chances created, both sides were happy to go into the break on level terms.

Alex replaced the ineffective Nnamani at the interval and it reaped its reward.  The Dragons looked a lot more assertive in the final third and their pressure was to eventually pay off with just ten minutes remaining.  A hopefully-looking cross was swung into the box by attacking midfielder Kim Hyeon-ug.  Seoul E-Land's keeper Kim Kyung-min came out to collect the cross but quickly realized he was going to get nowhere near claiming the ball.  As a result, he was left in no man's land and Alex rose highest and planted a header into the unguarded net.  The hosts were to have the final laugh when the persistence of Argentine striker Benegas paid off when the target man was given too much space on the edge of the sixteen-yard box.  With his trusted right foot, he fired the ball past the wrong-footed Park Jung-hyuk to level matters as ninety minutes was shown on the clock.  A much-improved performance by the hosts over their promotion-chasing opposition.  

Final score:  Seoul E-Land 1-1 Jeonnam Dragons



Team News

Manager Seol Ki-hyeon will be able to call upon the services of key attacker Hernandes. The tricky winger is back in Korea after returning home to Brazil following a family bereavement.  Seol will be hoping the Brazilian can hit the ground running, he will more than likely start from the bench this weekend.  The gaffer had to shuffle the pack against Daejeon last time out and play two players out of position as center backs as all recognized center halves were injured.  Missing were Lee Kwang-seon, Bae Seung-jin, Kim Young-chan and Kim Myoung-jun.  Left-back Kim Dong-jin and defensive midfielder Lee Woo-hyeok filled in admirably in their absence.  Both players may need to play as a center-back pairing yet again this Sunday as noise from the club is that all four are set to miss out again.  Key experienced midfielder Ko Kyung-min has looked sharp coming off the bench since returning from a month out over the past two matches.  Ko will be pushing for a starting berth sooner rather than later.  

Seol has been hit with the injury bug in the center-back position.


Seoul E-Land come into the clash after putting in a much-improved display against promotion candidates Jeonnam Dragons last weekend.  Benegas was the savior for Seoul on the weekend with a last-minute effort.  Brazilian Leandro took a knock and was subbed off in the game.  It is unclear if he will be available for selection.  Kim Jung-hwan came on and made a welcome return as a substitute.  Japanese player Yuki Kobayashi is yet to shine for Seoul.  The combative midfielder has struggled to adapt to the K League as of yet.  Defender Lee Sang-min is still having a tough time after his return from the Olympics.  The youngster has been caught cold when the opposition attack. on several occasions.  As a whole, the team is still low on confidence.  The pace throughout the side which was evident in the early months of the season has gone and they now look sluggish all over the park. . Benegas has been better which is really the only positive this team has at the moment   After an improved showing last time out manager Chung Jung-yong will want to see more of the same against the Reds.

Man in form, Benegas will be key to how Seoul E-Land operate on Sunday

Who to Watch

Gyeongnam FC- Lim Min-hyeok


Signed in the off-season from K League 1 outfit Gwangju FC diminutive midfielder Lim Min-hyeok made an auspicious start to his Gyeongnam career.  He had a promising pre-season and was set to start in the opening game against FC Anyang.  He picked up a niggling injury in training prior to the clash and was out for a fortnight.  On his full debut in the FA Cup against Mokpo City FC he picked up a serious knee injury and missed the next 10 weeks.  He is now fully recovered and since breaking into the starting eleven has been key in Gyeongnam's recent upturn in results.  He is not shy of a tackle and he is always barking orders to players on the pitch.  He built up a good rapport with fellow ex Gwangju FC player Willyan and they combine very well when playing together.  Look for  Lim to be in the thick of the action from the first whistle on Sunday.  


Prediction

This game has the potential to have some goals in it.  Both teams have exciting players in the final third to hurt both defenses.  Seoul E-Land will be looking at Gyeongnam's makeshift back four thinking they can get something from the game.  However, the hosts have an array of talent throughout the squad and are in the midst of a good run of form.  

Gyeongnam FC 3-1 Seoul E-Land


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