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Preview: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors vs Paris Saint-Germain



Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors take on European giants Paris Saint-Germain in the third game of the Coupang Play Series this Thursday, August 3rd, following the Team K League vs Atletico Madrid and subsequent Atleti vs Manchester City matches. 

The match caps off PSG's pre-season tour in Asia after spending the last week in Tokyo and Osaka. The French champions played out a 0-0 draw against Cristiano Ronaldo's Al-Nassr before being defeated by Cerezo Osaka. They suffered another defeat in their final game in Japan, a 2-1 loss to UCL finalists Inter.

Team News

Paris Saint-Germain:

The Parisians will be without global superstar Kylian Mbappé who was left out of their pre-season squad as speculation rises over his future at the club. The 2018 world cup winner looks likely to leave the French capital this summer with Real Madrid front-runners to sign whom many believe to be the best player in the world.

Korean international and new signing Lee Kang-in resumed training after being substituted off injured against Le Havre shortly before his team left for their pre-season tour of Japan. He was an unused substitute in PSG's 3-2 and 2-1 defeats to Cerezo Osaka and Inter respectively. He is expected to return soon. Lee Kang-in is the reason this fixture is taking place. Many will be looking forward to seeing him play against Jeonbuk in Busan. He is expected to feature Thursday. His fitness shouldn't be much of a concern.

PSG legend and Italian international Marco Verratti may be in doubt. He has reportedly accepted a three-year deal with Al Hilal. Renato Sanches may also be in doubt. He has been linked with a move to AS Roma. Negotiations are ongoing.

PSG pre-season squad: here


FNR


Jeonbuk:

For Jeonbuk, this fixture will presumably host the debuts of new signings Park Jae-yong and Ahn Hyeon-beom. Both signings will look to fill the gaps left in the squad after the sales of Cho Gue-sung and Kim Moon-hwan.

Cho's replacement Park Jae-yong joins from K League 2 side FC Anyang. The 23-year-old has netted six times this season in K League 2 and has massive boots to fill, and since he is not eligible for the U22 quota anymore, he will have to fight even harder for his place in the side while also adjusting to K League 1 midway through the season. If he does debut against PSG, a strong showing may earn him more valuable minutes in upcoming competitive fixtures this season.

Although Kim Moon-hwan departing is a significant loss for the team, Ahn Hyeon-beom is one of the best domestic replacements the club could have acquired. He recently debuted for the KNT due to absences in Klinsmann's squad. Even so, it shows his ability is recognised by the KNT manager and staff.

He was a vital player for Jeju United and is widely considered one of the best right-backs in the division. Ahn also adds versatility to this Jeonbuk side with his ability to play anywhere down the right flank.

Venue Controversy


The match will be hosted in Busan at the Asiad Stadium, not Jeonju World Cup Stadium. The decision was made to further the attraction of the city's bid to host the 2030 Expo ahead of Rome and Riyadh.

Jeonbuk will not play this match in their home stadium and has to travel to another city in another part of the country for it. An even worse consequence is that K League side Busan IPark who play in the Asiad Stadium will not be able to use their home ground for their next match against Cheonan City on August 5th.

The organisers' decision to hold the game in Busan at Asiad Stadium has been heavily criticised by Busan supporters.





Can Jeonbuk get a result against PSG?


Considering it is a pre-season game for the French team and looking at their form from their time in Japan, it looks entirely conceivable that the green warriors can get a result this Thursday. Jeonbuk may also take inspiration from Team K League's victory over Atletico Madrid.


The 17:00 kick-off time will make conditions difficult, and with a league game against Incheon United this weekend before a crucial FA Cup semi-final tie against the same club, Jeonbuk will have their priorities set on their competitive fixtures and not a meaningless friendly. Even if that friendly is against a world-renowned European club.

Even without Mbappé, PSG has plenty of quality to play around with, not least an ability to field exceptional footballers from the bench. Jeonbuk does not have the same luxury, especially with significant fixtures on the horizon.

Jeonbuk's defence has been criticised heavily all season. PSG's attacking quality definitely can really hurt Jeonbuk. However, the Korean vice champions also have attacking quality of their own. If we see clinical finishing from the Jeonju side, it may provide an entertaining affair.


Final Thoughts


The event presents Jeonbuk an opportunity to showcase their ability against a top side with eyes on them from fans that otherwise may not take much of an interest. Of course, Lee Kang-in will be the main talking point. However, if Jeonbuk can deliver a decent performance, it could bring positive attention to the club and give fans something to cheer for amidst an uncharacteristically disappointing league season this year.

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