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Preview: Pohang Steelers vs Gangwon FC - Opposites set to attract at the Steelyard

Pohang Steelers are off to a hot start in their 2023 campaign, while Gangwon FC seem slow to get going. The two sides will meet at the Steelyard for a match between a team that has won twice and drawn once and a team that has lost twice and drawn once. Pohang Steelers columnist Zeno Jo previews the match, with help from Gangwon FC columnist Nathan Sartain

Recent Form

Pohang Steelers are coming off the heels of a hard-fought 0-0 draw against Daejeon Hana Citizen. Ha Chang-rae, sporting the captain's armband, was sent off in the 35th minute for a professional foul against the last man. Gangwon FC is also coming off of a draw, a 1-1 affair against Daegu FC. While the Bears were not able to get a shot on target, a 25th-minute own goal from Daegu's Marcos Serrato was all they needed for their first point of the season. 

The two sides have two common opponents from their three matches so far. Pohang beat Daegu FC 3-2 at home in their season opener in dramatic fashion and drew away at Daejeon Hana Citizen 0-0 last week. Gangwon's season started with a 2-0 defeat at Daejeon World Cup Stadium and had a 1-1 draw against Daegu FC at home last week. 

The two have played the same two teams at the same venues (home and away). These results alone show a tilt towards Pohang, but it is still far too early in the season to hold these results with much weight.

Kim Seung-dae, the sole goalscorer in Gangwon's last trip to the Steelyard in October, 2022

Storylines

Gangwon FC is a team that will forever be in the minds of Pohang Steelers fans, thanks to a June 2019 match at the Chuncheon Songam Sports Town. Despite a hat trick from a then 30-year-old Wanderson was not enough, as Steelers lost 5-4 after leading 4-0. Pohang have dominated the head-to-head rivalry since then and will look to continue their winning ways against Gangwon.

Gangwon FC's last win at the Steelyard was in 2017, and they have just one win in their last 11 against the Steelers. In 2022, Pohang Steelers won twice and drew once, both wins coming at the Steelyard. In the last 10 meetings, Pohang has seven wins, two draws, and just one loss. Interestingly, Gangwon FC has lost their last ten away matches to teams in the Gyeongsang Province.


Team News

Ha Chang-rae's straight red card against Daejeon means he will be out. The team's vice-captain has started all three of Pohang's matches this season, meaning a start could be on the books for captain Kim Seung-dae. At center back, Park Seung-wook is likely to fill in while Ha is suspended. Alex Grant has returned and played in training, and could return. Zeca was brought off late in the match against Daejeon, but should be good to start. 

Gangwon FC's Lee Jeong-hyeop is injured, and star winger Yang Hyun-jun has suffered a fractured nose, which may influence manager Choi Yong-soo's team selection. Lee Seung-won is also unavailable, having been called up to the U-20 National Team. 

Players to Watch

Nathan has picked out Gangwon's Brazilian winger Galego as the player to keep an eye on. He's played the last two matches off the bench and has looked dangerous, and he thinks he may get a shot in the first team now. Kim Jin-ho's 

Pohang's player to watch will be Zeca. He's shined in the first three matches of the season, showing an outstanding ability to keep and pass the ball, while also being a great attacker. He's got a great presence in the attacking third, and once he begins shooting more, the goals will come.


Expected Elevens

Pohang:
Hwang In-jae

Shin Kwang-hoon, Park Seung-wook, Park Chan-yong, Sim Sang-min

Oberdan, Kim Jong-woo

Jeong Jae-hee, Go Young-joon, Kim In-sung

Zeca

Gangwon:
Yu Sang-hun

Rim Chang-woo, Kim Young-bin, Kim Woo-seok

Yu In-soo, Han Kook-young, Seo Min-woo, Jung Seung-yong

Galego, Dino, Kim Dae-won


FNR

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